15084: Restoration and Rehabilitation of the Breakaways

    The Breakaways is a unique rock formation located within the Great Western Woodlands, an area that straddles a major ecological transition between the wetter south west and the semi-arid interior, resulting in an area of diverse plant and animal species, many found nowhere else on earth. To reinforce the importance of protecting the Great Western Woodlands, the Department of Environment and Conservation released the Great Western Woodlands Strategy (2010). Building on the recommendations within this Strategy, a more specific Conservation Action Plan was prepared in 2013 focusing on the areas of the Great Western Woodlands within the Shires of Kondinin and Dundas and engaging key stakeholders including the local Shires, the Ngadju Aboriginal community, local mining companies, local farmers, the CSIRO and consultants, Gondwana Link Ltd. This Conservation Action Plan (2013) chose the Breakaways as a key Conservation Target because of its specific ecological habitat that encompassed the biodiversity of the project area. The Action Plan (2013) also highlighted the importance of this ecosystem retaining its full complement of species and communities. 

    Supported by the findings of the Great Western Woodlands Conservation Action Plan (2013), continued uncontrolled recreational use and associated proliferation of tracks by recreational activities has been identified as one of the major threats and long term risks on the ecological and aesthetic environment surrounding the Breakaways. More specifically, these risks have been manifested by uncontrolled vehicle tracks, erosion,soil compaction, the spread of weeds, a marked reduction in native vegetation, informal camping areas immediately adjacent to the Breakaways rock formation, chainsawing of native trees for fire wood and the dispersion of litter throughout area. 

    To prevent the further degradation of this unique area, this project will undertake the following activities; earthworks that rip up the majority of the existing vehicle access routes to enable these areas to be re-vegetated; create a dedicated camping and picnic area approximately 100 metres from the Breakaways rock formation that is fenced off by bollards to contain and control vehicle access; re-locate existing fire place and some of the seating infrastructure to within the dedicated camping and picnic area; install a long drop toilet unit within the dedicated camping and picnic area to assist in containing sanitation and reducing litter throughout the site; engage a professional seed collector to identify and map appropriate species to plant out the ripped up vehicle tracks and other areas that have been eroded from uncontrolled recreational use; plant up to 1000 local provenance seedlings to re-vegetate area; develop a circuit walk trail from the dedicated camping area around the Breakaways rock formation to enable visitors to experience the site by foot; install interpretative signs outlining the unique flora and fauna and geological history of the area, in particular the rainbow kingfisher which prior to the degradation of the area migrated and hollowed in the breakaways rock formation; engage local Ngadju Conservation Aboriginal Group in the project through their Ranger Program and prepare and install interpretive signs on the Aboriginal heritage of the area in English and Ngadju.

    Investment: $ 24 310
    In-kind contribution: $ 21 684
    Delivery organisation: Restoration and Rehabilitation of the Breakaways
    Project duration: July 2016 - July 2017
    Location: Shire of Kondnin
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