Couple learns to revitalise ecosystem at Austinville Valley
THIRTY-SEVEN years ago Wal and Heather Mayr bought their 25-hectare property in the then remote Austinville valley.
They were attracted by the wild feel of the landscape and the beautiful creek.
In the early years it was just weekend visits and a bit of brush cutting and no real understanding of the flora and fauna.
It was only as they slowly learned more about their environment did they realise the property had been logged, farmed and taken over by weeds.
In 1999 they became early members of the newly formed Land for Wildlife scheme.
They worked closely with Land for Wildlife officer, Darryl Larsen and their neighbour Dave Blomfield. The property was surrounded by State Forest and farmland (later to become National Park and Council Conservation Reserve), with ecosystems ranging from rainforest to eucalypt forest.
It contained small pockets of remnant bushland which included many rare and endangered plants.
However, while having great potential, this steep and rugged property was fundamentally degraded.
The restoration was a mammoth task and they were excited by the opportunity of receiving assistance from the Nature Conservation Assistance Program (NCAP).
In 2014 Wal and Heather were awarded a grant to pay environmental contractor Graeme Field to help in the restoration of a 10 hectare section of their property.
The Mayrs and Council Land for Wildlife officers have been long-term partners in the evolution of the property from a degraded logging site to becoming a functioning ecosystem.