Barrer Hill restoration project
A restoration project has been taking place at Barrer Hill in the Molonglo Valley since 2014. The 50 hectare area, on the northern bank of the Molonglo River, across from the new suburb of Coombs, has a long history of human impacts. It was formerly planted with non-native pines as well as used for livestock grazing.
Barrer Hill still retains high conservation value with rocky grasslands home to threatened species like the pink-tailed worm-lizard.
The area also forms parts of the soon-to-be declared Molonglo River Reserve which will be a key recreational area for the developing suburbs of Molonglo.
The restoration work to date has included removing the pines and progressively replacing them with native shrubs and trees, including the clustered everlasting daisy, red leaf wattle and yellow box. Extensive weed removal has also taken place.
A key part of the project has involved returning habitat structures to the area such as rocks, salvaged logs, and dead trees which provide shelter for wildlife.
Life Support habitat structure
’Life Support’ is an innovative artwork that serves as functional habitat for a wide variety of species including invertebrates, bats, birds and reptiles. Construction of the sculpture was completed in 2019 as part of extensive box-gum grassy woodland restoration at Barrer Hill in the Molonglo River Reserve.
The ACT Parks and Conservation Service is working with the Australian National University on a research project at Barrer Hill to inform how modified areas in the ACT and further afield can be restored with vertical habitat structures, including translocated trees and man-made utility poles.
The trees, or ‘snags’, are those which need to be removed from urban landscapes for safety reasons.
All snags and poles have been enriched with carved hollows with varying entrance size dimensions targeting different animal species from marsupials to bats and artificial bark that will hopefully attract a host of creatures from spiders to geckos.
The task of securing the snags in an upright position requires structural engineers and skilled arborists, as well as large machinery to lift them into position. Each snag was placed into a hole that has a steel layer and concrete footing so it can remain standing safely for many decades.
The research project compares how effective translocated trees and utility poles are at attracting local wildlife. Specialised cameras recording real-time wildlife visits have been installed. Stay tuned for updates and images posted to this website.
See the project’s progress from its early removal stage through to installation and the habitat it has attracted.
Magpie and crimson rosella|
The early stages of the Barrer Hill restoration project was explored on ABC's Science Show.
The ACT Parks and Conservation Service, the Suburban Land Agency and Greening Australia run community planting days in the Barrer Hill area. It is estimated the community has helped plant 550 native trees and shrubs so far. More information on future planting days will be displayed here.