Project update – December 2021

December 15th, 2021

In this update we report on the changing of the guard at Ginninderra as we focus on various collaborative research, conservation work and activities to prepare for future sustainable development opportunities. In our last update we announced the end of 60-years continuous agricultural research at Ginninderra and the decommissioning of the property for that purpose.  We have now farewelled our agricultural research and farm management team, many of whom are involved in ongoing research at the state-of-the-art Boorowa Agricultural Research Station.

Our Business and Infrastructure Services team is now leading the day-to-day property management with a continuing onsite manager working closely with our Land and Water team who are coordinating active research including collaborative projects and trials.

While the Covid-19 pandemic, including an extended lockdown in 2021, curtailed face-to-face activities, we have been able to successfully transition the property from its former agriculture use as the Ginninderra Experiment Station.

The key priorities for ongoing site management cover:

  • the maintenance of the high conservation value areas that include significant areas of an endangered community – Box Gum Woodlands and Derived Native Grasslands, and also Little Eagle nesting sites;
  • maintaining the sites of research trials and community shrub plantings; and
  • weed control and grazing sheep on other areas to manage and maintain vegetation biomass.

On the research front, our ecologists, led by Jacqui Stol and Micah Davies, have been busy working with the multi-agency collaboration to track and study Little Eagles in the ACT. Through this work we have been able to report a fascinating story about the movements of a family of birds that has been active on the northern part of our Ginninderra site.

Also on the north of our site, the Blakely’s Red Gum trial plants have grown significantly on the back of some good rainfall in 2021.  These provenance trials, carried out in partnership with the ACT Government and Greening Australia, are comparing the condition and resilience (in the face of insect-induced dieback) of Blakely’s Red Gum trees grown from seed collected from different places.

Following the most recent autumn burns that are part of grassland restoration trials at Ginninderra, research leader Ken Hodgkinson has been making follow-up measurements and analysing results that we aim to cover in the new year. The trials are part of a multi-site project being carried out with the Ginninderra Catchment Group.

Members of the local community will also be pleased to hear that the shrubs they planted at community planting days in 2017 and 2018 are also flourishing from recent conditions and the native birds have been observed in increasing numbers in these areas.

As CSIRO continues with these research activities, and the due diligence studies and reports that underpin future use opportunities, a key focus now is the development of the Environmental Management Plan for Ginninderra.  This plan will bring together previous ecological and heritage studies and provide the framework, priorities and proposed activities for maintaining environmental values and conservation at Ginninderra.  We expect to provide more details about this in 2022.

Until then, from CSIRO we extend season’s greetings to all our newsletter subscribers. May you stay safe and enjoy a break and refresh over the summer period.

Firefighter standing with two women in a field, sky is blue and sunny and one of the women is chatting with the firefighter.

Changing of the guard at Ginninderra. Jacqui Stol (centre) is leading ecological work.

Woman wearing blue smiling holding a brown little eagle with trees behind her.

CSIRO’s Jacqui Stol with a Little Eagle male that had just been fitted with a satellite transmitter on the northern ACT border.

Three scientists standing in a city on a sidewalk.

CSIRO scientists who developed the four dimensional study of Braddon to help plan sustainable cities. Photo: Elesa Kurtz, The Canberra Times/ACM