The Great HeHo Escape

Yarra4Life (through the Port Phillip & Westernport Catchment Management Authority) is leading a project that aims to support the recovery of the critically endangered Helmeted Honeyeater and the lowland Leadbeater’s Possum by mapping out two new population centres for the species. The one-year project funded by the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program until June 2019.

Through the project, 16 organisations and skilled representatives are working together to develop two habitat restoration plans that provide a detailed road map for the species’ recovery.

The plans outline exactly what is needed to establish two new population sites, one in the Yellingbo to Butterfield area and another around the Coranderrk area, near Healesville. The successful rollout of these plans could see both the available habitat and population of the Helmeted Honeyeater triple in 5-10 years.

The project also involves on-ground works that support the rehabilitation of current Helmeted Honeyeater population centres at Yellingbo Nature Conservation Reserve, as well as a landholder incentives program to support the establishment of new habitat locations beyond the reserve.

By June 2019 the project will have:

  • Developed two detailed habitat restoration plans which outline a clear vision for potential works over the next two to five years (dependent on ongoing funding)
  • Supported at least 18 landholders to deliver habitat restoration works including:
    • 36 hectares of weed control
    • 685 metres of fencing to protect 8 hectares of vital habitat
    • 68 hectares of pest control works
  • Developed a Helmeted Honeyeater Schools Education Kit in partnership with Birdlife Australia and the Friends of the Helmeted Honeyeater
  • Undertaken 400 hectares of deer control within Yellingbo Nature Conservation Reserve
  • Develop a hydrology restoration plan for small area of the Yellingbo Nature Conservation Reserve known as Burrungma Biik (established in 2017 with funds from NLP).

The Great HeHo Escape project builds on the successes of Yarra4Life’s work through the ‘Protecting and Connecting EPBC Species in the Yarra Ranges’ project funded by the 2013-18 phase of the National Landcare Program.