Indigo's Roadside Conservation Management Plan has recently been updated to give effect to changes in legislation. This plan was originally developed for the Yackandandah district in June 1994 and adopted as guidelines for the former Yackandandah Shire. An Interim Roadside Management Policy for the Indigo Shire was adopted by Council in October in 1997. A Roadside Management Plan was first completed for the Indigo Shire in 1999, covering all used rural roadsides within the municipality and was reviewed in late 2002.
Indigo Shire covers 1800km of used roads, with the majority of these managed by the Shire. There are many uses of roadsides such as access to properties, to provide services such as electricity and telephone, recreational and scenic values, and they play an important role in the management of fires.
More recently roadsides have been recognised for their indigenous vegetation, and the associated flora and fauna values being an important component of biodiversity conservation. Roadsides provide pockets of remnant vegetation, a source of indigenous seed stock and corridors between isolated stands of indigenous vegetation. Such corridors link remnant vegetation on used roads, strategic farm plantings and riparian corridors through both public and private land, with larger blocks of remnant vegetation, both on private and public land.
The majority of local roads within Indigo Shire have been assessed for their conservation values in recognition of the importance of such areas for flora and fauna. Each road is rated as high, medium or low according to the following factors:
- width of the road reserve
- provision of habitat (trees with hollows, presence of native trees or shrubs, presence of native grasses, leaf litter cover, presence of logs, rocks or crevices as well as low lying areas)
- amount of natural regeneration
- how vegetated the area is and if it acts as a wildlife corridor
- percentage coverage of weeds
- amount of site disturbance
- presence of rare or threatened species.
These conservation values correlate to the level of activity allowed on the roadside. For example, firewood collection is only permitted on roadsides classified as low, however, permission can be given on a case-by-case basis depending on the amount of timber present on the road.
It is important to recognise that roadside assessment is not an end in itself, rather that the conservation status of any roadside many change over time depending on how it is managed. For example, a roadside rated as low could go to medium conservation status or vice versa. The assessment provides only a snapshot of the roadside at a particular time.
Last updated: 05 December 2011