Patho Plains, VIC
Over ten years ago, Drew Gailey bought his beef farm in Kotto, near Echuca on Yorta Yorta country (North-Western Victoria). This land houses some of the last native grasslands in Victoria, which Drew chose to protect by placing a conservation covenant on his land.
With the covenant on the land, Drew is still able to graze his cattle and use the land but it means the area is protected for nature, even if the land is sold.
Drew runs cattle on the protected land and grazing has always played a part in managing these grasslands – kangaroos and wallabies before European settlement and then with cattle between May and August since the 1980s.
“The good grassland remnants are here because of their history of grazing from kangaroos to cows and sheep. They still benefit from managed grazing at certain times of the year, so we’re achieving a nice balance here between conservation and productivity”.
For Drew, protecting what’s left of these once abundant grasslands has never been more important.
“We have less than 1 per cent of native grasslands left in Victoria. These grasslands are our version of the rainforest in terms of the huge diversity of plants and animals they support.”
To help support the existing wildlife and restore biodiversity within the grasslands, Drew is collecting seeds and planting endangered species like the Spiny Rice-Flower.
Spiny Rice Flowers play a critical role in the grassland ecosystem – they can live for up to 100 years and they flower over the winter, providing much-needed sustenance for pollinators like bees, butterflies and moths over the colder months.
Drew’s efforts are creating a balance between farming and helping to strengthen the biodiversity on his land. His legacy is a stronger future for the Spiny Rice Flower and all the species that rely on it.
Protecting the Golden Sun Moth
The Golden Sun Moth survives on specific type of wallaby grass found in the native grasslands and grassy woodlands that were once common in Victoria – today many of these ecosystems are fragmented and isolated meaning the grasslands are critically endangered.
The Golden Sun Moth plays a crucial role in pollinating many plant species and are food for many native birds and animals – losing this tiny moth means upsetting the entire ecosystem of the grasslands.
To ensure the Golden Sun Moth and these rare grasslands are strengthened into the future, we need more protectors like Drew to keep them safe.