The following is a media release from the Victorian Environment Minister Ryan Smith.

burnt ash near the Great Alpine Road, March 2013
burnt ash near the Great Alpine Road, March 2013

The Victorian Coalition Government has launched an urgent effort to re-seed about 2,000 hectares of Alpine Ash forest that was burnt during the Harrietville fire earlier this year.

Minister for Environment and Climate Change Ryan Smith said a helicopter was being used to spread Alpine Ash seeds across 198 hectares of State Forest and 1,876 hectares of National Park that was burnt in the fires.

“Areas within the Harrietville fire boundary have been burnt several times over the past decade and Department of Environment and Primary Industries and Parks Victoria ecology experts predict about 2,000 hectares will not be able to naturally regenerate due to the nature of Alpine Ash and its response to fire,” Mr Smith said.

“It is also important to re-seed the area to assist with stabilising the fragile soils in the steep terrain to protect water catchments, which supply communities downstream.

“We have already started the aerial re-seeding operation in the State Forest and will continue the work over the next few days if the weather conditions remain suitable.”

Parks Victoria Regional Director East Andrew Marshall said it was important to sow the Ash seeds before other plants regenerate so the Ash seeds can germinate in the spring.

“There will be some follow-up monitoring of some sites within the State Forests but in National Parks areas this is a once off opportunity to regenerate,” Mr Marshall said.

The cost of the re-seeding work is approximately $620,000 and is funded as part of the Victorian Coalition Government’s Harrietville fire recovery program.