Murray Darling Healthy Rivers Project Wetlands on the Mitta River

Improving the health and ecological conditions of the Mitta river.

On Friday 12th August, Mitta Valley Landcare) held another successful planting day at Chloe Giltrap Mittavale property on the Mitta River. The rain held off and a great team of 16 people planted 500 native species into a wetland area semi established on property. The current wetland eco system will benefit from an extensive mixed plant list consisting of Acaia melanoxylon (Blackwood), Eucalyptus camaldulensis (River Red Gum), Eucalyptus melliodora, (Yellow Box), Bursaria spinosa (Sweet Bursaria), Callistemon sieberi (River Bottlebrush), Callistemon pallidus (Lemon Bottlebrush), Grevillea rosmarinifolia (Rosemary Grevillea), Kunzea ericoides (Burgan), Leptospermum brevipes (Slender Tee Tree), Melicytus dentatus (Tree Violet), Carex sp. (Commeon Sedge), Lomandra longifolia (Spiny Headed Mat Rush), and Poa labillardieri (Common Tussock). Thank you to Project Officer Audrey Beard for coordinating and ordering the species schedule.

Catering for the day was provided by Eskdale Café, a locally owned and operated business, which has been revamped by Toni and Lee Hodgkin. So, if you haven’t already stopped in for a coffee or a bite to eat, then make sure you do for friendly, country service with a classic menu selection that offers home delivery every Friday and Saturday night!

The ability to offer fencing and revegetation projects in the local community is thanks to MVL winning the ‘Healthy Rivers and Wetland Projects’ program, offered by The Department of Agriculture, Water, and the Environment. The program aims to support community-led, on the ground projects, and improve the health and ecological condition of rivers and wetlands in the Murray-Darling Basin whilst supporting economic development and jobs. The current project will cover 10 properties with 12 sites over 32 hectares in total and involves planting 3510 local native species.

To the amazing volunteers who keep turning up at the planting days, thank you! giving up your time to help at these events is very much appreciated by the MVL Committee, the Project Officers, and the property owners. If you’ve been thinking of coming along then please do get in touch with either a MVL Committee member or one of the Project Officers. All are welcome and the events are normally a 2–3-hour social outing that helps the environment, you meet new people, and you get free lunch! WIN WIN!

by Libby Paton, project worker

Doing it with Dung Program Report 2022-23

Mitta Valley Landcare received a grant through the Federally funded National Landcare Program – “Smart Farms Small Grants” Round 4 in 2022. This has enabled us to continue trying to establish two spring active dung beetles in the Mitta 2 Murray Landcare Network region. If successful, we would achieve our aim of having year round dung burial.

The two new species that CSIRO have imported from Europe are only available in limited numbers and so a system of “Farmer Nurseries” is being trialed. There is 22 participants in the program, each has been given a small number of beetles with a breeding tent and instructions on their care. It is hoped that the beetles will reproduce in sufficient numbers to enable a paddock release with a greater chance of survival and establishment.

It is now a year since our first beetles arrived and we are excitedly waiting for the spring hatching to start. Participants will trap, count and transfer beetles to a second tent so that we will know how successful the breeding program has been.

Our beetles come from a breeder in South Australia, Greg Dalton of Creative Care. Greg visited us on 30th June and checked the sites of new breeders who will receive their first beetles this spring.

On July 1st he gave a workshop at Eskdale Hall followed by lunch and an inspection of existing tents at Judy and Alec Cardwell’s place. The 27 people who attended were given some invaluable information on both the importance of dung beetles in agriculture and the best methods of breeding them.

This year we will have 22 breeders and we can only hope all their efforts will be well rewarded.

Wonga Pigeon Leucosarcia melanoleuca 35-40cm

Wonga pigeon
Wonga pigeon (Leucosarcia melanoleuca)

This Photo by JJ Harrison (, CC BY-SA 4.0

The Wonga pigeon has been sited in the Mitta Valley along Lees Lane, Mitta north Road, up Scrubby creek and along Wombat Gully Road. 


The Wonga Pigeon is a large plump, ground-dwelling pigeon with a small head, pale face, short broad wings, and a long tail. When seen from above the plumage of the Wonga pigeon is a drab grey. However, front on the bird appears to be wearing a white scarf wrapped around its neck and when viewed from below, its white underparts are attractively patterned with row upon row of dozens of tiny crescent shaped markings. The eyes are dark red brown with a pink eye ring and the feet and legs are deep pink to red. There is little difference between the male and the female birds.

This Photo by


The Wonga pigeon is found from southeast Queensland all the way down to Gippsland in Victoria. They are a ground dwelling pigeon that frequents dense forests and gullies, clearings such as picnic areas, walking tracks, carparks, and roadsides. These gorgeous pigeons are often observed foraging on the ground for seeds, fallen fruits, plant matter and the occasional insects.


These birds are sedentary in nature in that don’t move far beyond their territory. Wonga pigeons will develop life-long monogamous relationships and will defend their nest sites with a series of threatening displays, including clicking, bowing, and charging towards potential intruders!

Nests are built in large trees, usually high off the ground and are saucer-shaped platforms of twigs and sticks, lined with small twigs, vine tendrils and other soft plant materials. Both sexes incubate and feed the young. They use a special posture when sitting on the nest, keeping their patterned tail raised high and facing observers, whilst peering over their tail to keep an eye on potential threats. Adults feed their young by regurgitation and young birds will remain with the adults for some time after fledging but are fed less and less often.

The pigeon’s call is a long series of notes, quite high and rapid, ‘whoik, whoik’ and this is repeated at a constant pitch becoming quite monotonous. The pigeon is more often heard than seen but it produces explosive wing claps when disturbed and when it takes off.  On landing it may lift its tail showing black flecked undertail -coverts. Its flight is short, straight, and fast.

Unfortunately, the Wonga pigeon is preyed upon by feral cats and foxes. Like many pigeon species during the 1900s they were also hunted for their meat and for sport. Today, they are a protected species and one of least concern. Although not endangered they are not common in our area.


Field Guide to Australian Birds – Michael Morcombe

Gould League Birds of South-eastern Australia

Birdlife Australia Magazine online

Australia Zoos website

This Photo by

Victorian Deer Control Community Network (VDCCN) Newsletter Autumn 2022

Highlight of this edition:

  • Peri Urban Deer Control Plan
  • Funding for Deer Control Projects
  • Alps Deer Control Trials
  • Survey of Landowners in North East Victoria
  • Report Collisions with Deer
  • Deer Free Sanctuary for the Prom?
  • Will feral deer remain protected species?
  • VAGO Audit of Deer Management
  • Deer and Bushfire Recovery
  • Local Deer Control Networks
  • What’s happening interstate?


Murray Darling Healthy River Project 2022

Improving the health and ecological conditions of rivers and wetlands in the Mitta Valley.

Mitta Valley Landcare (MVL) recently received a grant under the ‘Healthy Rivers Program, through The Department of Agriculture, Water, and the Environment. The program aims to support community-led, on the ground projects, to improve the health and ecological condition of rivers and wetlands in the Murray-Darling Basin whilst supporting economic development and jobs. The MVL project will cover 9 properties with 12 sites over 32 hectares and involves planting 2510 local native species. Two Project Officers have been employed to implement the Project, Audrey beard and Libbe Paton.

On Sunday 17th July, the first of the planting days was held at Faith and Clem Wallace’s property on Tabor Creek at Dartmouth. Tabor Creek is a tributary of the Mitta River  and is a known habitat of the Barking Owl.Nine  local volunteers planted over 450 native plants The plant list was a mix of trees, large and small shrubs, grasses and rushes,  and consisted of Acacia melanoxylon (Blackwood), Eucalyptus globulus (Blue Gum), Eucalyptus radiata (Narrow Leaf Peppermint), Eucalyptus viminalis (Manna Gum), Bursaria spinosa (Sweet Bursaria), Callistemon sieberi (River Bottlebrush), Grevillea rosmarinifolia (Rosemary Grevillea), Gynatrix pulchella (Native hemp bush), Kunzea ericoides (Burgan), Leptospermum brevipes (Slender tea tree), Mirbelia oxylyobioides (Mountain mirbelia), Brachyscome multifida (Rock Daisy), Poa labillardieri (Common Tussock Grass), Lomandra longifolia (Spiny headed mat rush), and Carex sp. (Common Sedge). These plants were hand-picked to thrive in a local wetland area and will complement the native plants already established.

The catering on the day was provided by the GREEN GALAH Tallangatta, who supplied a delicious spread of roast pumpkin and sweet potato soup with fresh bread, and a mixed grazing platter board; lunch went down well with a cosy fire and a hot cuppa. GREEN GALAH is a support service focused on employment preparation and skill building with the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). As a not-for-profit community group, we were delighted to support this amazing local social enterprise.

Lastly, thank you to Project Officer Audrey Beard for ordering and coordinating the plantings and to the volunteers who braced the wet weather to improve a local water system