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Habitat expansion the key to saving the Leadbeater’s Possum from extinction

Habitat expansion the key to saving the Leadbeater’s Possum from extinction

A federally funded, Melbourne Water-managed program to establish new habitat is helping to prevent the extinction of the critically endangered Leadbeater’s Possum.

With only a small number of lowland sub-species of the Leadbeater’s Possum remaining in the wild, the Securing a future for lowland Leadbeater’s Possum initiative aims to re-establish habitat in the Yarra Valley, at the Yarra Valley Water-run Upper Yarra Treatment Plant, secure local and climate adjusted seed, and increase plant propagation capacity to ensure future restoration needs can be met. 

Melbourne Water is committed to the future of the vulnerable Leadbeater's Possum

With funding from the Australian Government’s Environmental Restoration Fund, Melbourne Water and its project partners have taken steps to secure a future for the lowland Leadbeater’s Possum. 

“The key to saving this possum from extinction is to establish new populations,” Kacie Melfi, Melbourne Water Partnership Coordinator, Waterways and Catchment Operations, said. 

“If the lowland Leadbeater’s Possum population is to recover and expand habitat restoration projects are needed so, we’ve secured 3.68 hectares of future habitat by establishing approximately 900 metres of deer exclusion fencing. This will protect existing vegetation, and by planting 3,500 indigenous plants we’ve helped create new habitat.” 

Climate change is a risk to the success of revegetation, so climate adjusted seed modelling has been used to provide a bank of suitable seed for future restoration projects.  

The Friends of the Helmeted Honeyeater volunteer nursery is part of the project and has specialised knowledge of propagating habitat species for the Leadbeater’s Possum.

Melbourne Water, as a catchment management authority (CMA), is responsible for delivering land, water and biodiversity programs that enhance and protect the environment and support thriving communities in the Port Phillip and Westernport catchments. The Securing a future for lowland Leadbeater’s Possum project falls under this CMA plan. 

This project was supported with funding from the Australian Government in partnership with Melbourne Water, the Friends of the Helmeted Honeyeater volunteer nursery, Yarra Valley Water, Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation, Greening Australia and Zoos Victoria. 

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