Past recovery programs

2009 bushfires (including 'Black Saturday'):

2009 Bushfire Recovery Program public land 2012 update (PDF, 4.9 MB)
2009 Bushfire Recovery Program public land 2012 update (accessible) (RTF, 311.8 KB)

Natural values

Generally fire is a natural event in most of the wildlife habitats of south-eastern Australia, and most, but not all, species and ecosystems are adapted to survive fire.

In February 2009, however, fourteen major fires burnt 430,000 hectares of Victoria. The fires were intense and came at the end of a decade-long drought and there was public concern about the effects on biodiversity.

Some 27 nationally-listed and 19 state-listed species were encompassed in the fire area. The area included core habitat of iconic species such as Leadbeater's Possum and the nationally endangered Barred Galaxias fish.

It was feared that fire sensitive and nationally significant ecological communities, such as rainforest, alpine wetlands and tall wet forests, had been burnt and may not recover.

Urgent recovery activities

Soon after the fire, recovery activities included:

  • temporary relocation of native fish species (Barred Galaxias, Macquarie Perch) to safe refuges
  • controlling of predators at key sites (e.g. foxes and cats at Wilsons Promontory, foxes at Kinglake)
  • assessing threatened species to determine their specific needs (e.g. Endangered Leadbeater's Possum at Lake Mountain and the endangered plant Shiny Nematolepis in the O'Shannassy Catchment)
  • replacing protective fencing around threatened plants to exclude browsing and grazing animals such as rabbits, deer, goats and kangaroos
  • replacing nest boxes where they are part of a monitoring or research program (e.g. Leadbeater's Possum at Lake Mountain, Brush-tailed Phascogale at Kinglake)
  • supporting the welfare of fire-affected wildlife.

Projects

In October 2009, the Victorian and Commonwealth governments announced funding for natural values recovery projects as part of the 'Rebuilding Together' – Statewide Recovery Plan.  Some 31 projects were funded. 

Projects were delivered from 2009–2011. The results are summarised in Under fire – nature's response to the Black Saturday bushfires, February 2009 and in individual project reports.