Rowsley Valley: 20 Years On – case study

The VSTWP have just completed a new case study titled “Rowsley Valley: 20 Years on”, which explores the large investment in serrated tussock control over the past two decades and what effect that has had on the Rowsley Valley landscape. The Rowsley Valley is a picturesque volcanic lava flow located 50kms North-West of Melbourne and was among the earliest regions in Victoria to be settled by Europeans. It has a history just as fascinating as it is devastating, with many invasive species finding ideal conditions in the Valley, through either human intervention or natural selection. Rowsley has been subject to a large sustained investment through various government agencies and bodies over a 20 year period, and makes for an interesting case study.

The case study can be viewed by clicking here or ordered in print version via a PDF, please contact us if you’d like a copy posted to you. The Rowsley Valley has seen a largescale revegetation investment across the deacdes and now has excellent shelter belts to slow the spread from infested areas to treated areas.

Serrated tussock was first found around the Melbourne region in the 1950s and in the Rowsley Valley in the following decades, albeit in low numbers and density. However, the combination of a low rainfall, high rabbit numbers, poor vegetation cover, marginal farming opportunities, steep escarpments and a series of droughts, resulted in the serrated tussock getting a strong hold in the area. The turning point for the invasion of serrated tussock is said to be around the 1982-83 drought, with many landowners going into the drought overstocked. This resulted in the entire valley being completely denuded of grass and vegetation, providing serrated tussock with the chance to fill the blank canvas.

Hopefully the lessons learnt in the Rowsley Valley can be applied elsewhere across the state.