Grampians Greater Gariwerd NP

The Grampians National Park is a dramatic landform with sweeping western slopes, craggy eastern peaks and massive sandstone cliffs that contrast with surrounding plains; extensive forests interrupted by water bodies; and rock outcrops, deeply fissured cliffs and weather-sculpted sandstone. The powerful and unusual landscape represents the most important area for floristic richness and endemism in eastern inland Australia, and is important for species richness of freshwater and terrestrial invertebrates. There is an outstanding display of geological features at the Grampians, and archaeological evidence telling the story of indigenous occupation over the last 20,000 years. The park also contains the densest concentration of rock art paintings in Victoria and has the single largest assemblage of Aboriginal art motifs in Victoria. The Grampians is important as a defining image in Australia, that has inspired Australian artists in a range of media including painting (Arthur Streeton and Arthur Boyd), poetry, literature, photography and film.

Government evidence of impact of climate change:

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  • Parks Victoria, Greater Gariwerd Landscape Management Plan November 2021

    Successive major fires and floods have demonstrated how extreme events and climate change impacts are increasing and can generate significant physical change in parks and disrupt visitation and community use.

    Accelerated climate change represents a very real threat to Country; including climate vulnerable species and the health and wellbeing of all communities.

    The effects of climate change are already being experienced within the landscape through bushfires; more intense seasonal floods; longer dry spells and higher average temperatures.

    Climate change is a particular threat to small mammals that live in the heathlands of Gariwerd due to predicted lower rainfall and increased fire frequency.

    Immediate Support research into the impacts of climate change and mitigation measures that could be applied in the landscape.

    Landscape scale planning provides a robust approach to managing multiple values and threats (e.g. climate change; invasive species); as well as providing a framework for providing sustainable and compatible recreation and tourism opportunities.

    The strategy is supported by and reflects government legislation; policies and key priorities; and will respond to challenges such as climate change and increased visitation.

    A primary objective of the Conservation Action Plan is to increase the resilience of natural assets in the face of climate change and other stressors.

    Refer to CLIMATE CHANGE Many felt that the plan was not strong enough in its response to climate change despite noting it as a major threat.

    These habitats will also provide critical refugia for the resilience of these species and others against the impacts of climate change; drought and fire.

    Continuing to conserve biodiversity and restore the health of Country under the increasing challenges of climate change will provide an important legacy for all Australia and future generations.

    The changing climate poses a major threat to Healthy Country.

    The area had a dry climate and from 18;000 to 10;500 years ago there was a gradual increase in temperature and rainfall.

    Increasing dryness and bushfire severity associated with human induced climate change.

    The environment around Gariwerd has changed dramatically as a result of more than 180 years of land use impacts associated with colonisation and the modification of the landscape including . . . . introduction of domestic stock and associated grazing practices halting of traditional burning regimes land clearing; ringbarking; forestry draining of wetlands; floodplain modification; water harvesting and regulation; de snagging of waterways unregulated hunting and poisoning of native species impacting agriculture; including native grazing fauna and top order predators such as Wedge tailed Eagles and Dingoes introduction of weeds; pests and pathogens intensification of agricultural systems; including broad scale monocultures establishment of settlements and civil infrastructure; including roads; mining and quarrying climate change.

    As the landscape faces new and emerging pressures from climate change; restoration is increasingly important.

    For example

    Climate change impacts on vegetation; species distribution and abundance and water availability.

    Establish and continue research partnerships to fill knowledge gaps and mitigate weed threats identified by climate change predictions (see Section 6.4 Research and monitoring).

    Climate change; including increasing temperatures; is contributing to these changes (see Section 4.4).

    A significant proportion of the landscape is a designated water supply catchment; but population growth and climate change are increasing the demand for water and reducing water availability (see Section 4.4.

    All of these qualities that we value in our natural environment are under threat from climate change.’ The network of Victorian land based parks is a major carbon sink; storing more than 270 million tonnes of carbon; equivalent to nine years’ worth of Victoria’s greenhouse emissions (Parks Victoria 2015).

    Understanding continues to develop on the benefit parks provide in mitigating climate change; and how their role in carbon sequestration ultimately contributes to the Victorian economy and community.

    Multiple lines of evidence indicate the global climate has changed predominantly due to human activity and changes are projected to continue.

    Projections of future climate change expected in the Central Highlands region (which includes the Greater Gariwerd Landscape) have been developed by the CSIRO’s Victorian Climate Projections (2019) Maximum and minimum daily temperatures will continue to increase over this century.

    With one third of Victoria’s flora; approximately 17 per cent of Victoria’s wildlife and significant Traditional Owner cultural heritage values; the Greater Gariwerd Landscape is an important study area for the long term effects of climate change on the environment.

    The effects of climate change are already being experienced within the landscape; with more severe bushfires; more intense seasonal flooding events; longer dry spells and higher average temperatures impacting the health of ecosystems.

    Tre som Water and moisture in the landscape makes a difference to the resilience of habitats to the impacts of fire; drought and climate change.

    The frequency and intensity of these events are exacerbated by climate change; resulting in excessive erosion; increased sediment transport and high nutrient loads.

    Precious refuges for wildlife Extreme climatic events and large wildfires are predicted to increase as the world’s climate warms.

    Climate variability and long term climate change creates a challenge for some species that are reliant on suitable conditions created within an elevation range.

    Healthy parks are recognised as an integral part of the response to climate change.

    Interpret and communicate the impacts of climate change (including the frequency of fire and severe weather events and resultant impacts on park values and the visitor experience) with the community and park users (see Section 5.1 Information; interpretation and education).

    Medium Medium Recognise the benefits that a healthy park landscape provides in and of itself; as part of the response to climate change by providing evidence of the local benefits (e.g. as habitat and refuge); as well as to the broader environment (e.g. for survival of populations of species; ecological processes and carbon cycling).

    Medium Work with Traditional Owners and research partners to undertake long term monitoring to inform the implementation of climate change mitigation and adaptation actions (see Section 6.4 Research and monitoring).

    Medium Work with the broader community to understand the role Gariwerd plays as a climate change refuge (for people and animals) and the educational value this landscape has to climate change response and behavioural change.

    Tough leaved shrubs such as heaths and peas dominate the ground layer; often growing with herbaceous plants and grasses; except where frequent fire has reduced the understorey to a dense cover of bracken.

    Predation also compounds the impacts of drought and bushfire on native animal populations as loss of small mammals results in less moisture penetration into soils.

    There has also been an increase in the length of the fire season.

    Residual risk fell sharply following the 2006 bushfire and continued to gradually decline due to planned burning and more recent bushfires.

    It has begun to increase in recent years as fuel accumulates in fire affected areas.

    The Grampians Bushfire Risk Region’s residual bushfire risk was 67 per cent in autumn (DELWP Safer Together Website). a Fire; including pre fire protection; fire suppression and post fire recovery works; can be a threat to Traditional Owner cultural places; particularly scarred trees and rock art.

    Fire also seriously impacts human lives; livelihoods and communities.

    Moyston ational Park Grampians NP (Mirrana Lot 188) Gatum Cavendish w Brady Swamp W.R Giethompson Durhald Wennon WICE N Strathea 0 5 Kilometres miton Figure 4.2 Greater Gariwerd Landscape; areas last burnt prior to July Healthy Country Bushfires and flood Fire records indicate that much of the Greater Gariwerd Landscape has been subjected to both increasing bushfire and planned burning regimes (see Figure 4.2).

    The Moora Moora Reservoir and the Glenelg River diversion also both intercept surface flows; draining moisture from upstream heath in the Victoria Valley; which is changing the vegetation species composition and potentially increasing the bushfire risk in the Victoria Valley.

    Fire in these water supply catchments is an additional risk.

    5.6 Visitor risks and safety Gariwerd’s rugged topography; changeable weather and opportunities for remote recreation present inherent risks to visitors.

    Platypuses have declined significantly throughout the landscape due to a combination of severe drought and human impacts (e.g. water diversion; clearing of vegetation along waterways and habitat fragmentation).