Road reserves make a significant contribution to biodiversity conservation. Many contain the last remaining intact areas of plant communities that provide habitat and wildlife corridors for a range of plants and animals.
If you have a roadside containing native grasses, shrubs and trees adjacent to your property it will require little maintenance, be aesthetically pleasing and will provide abundant wildlife, shelter for stock and windbreaks for crops.
Please leave tree limbs on a roadside rather than ‘tidying it up’ as logs and branches provide habitat for native animals.
Mansfield Shire Council at its Ordinary Meeting on 17 June 2014 adopted the Roadside Conservation Management Plan (RCMP). The RCMP focuses on vegetated roadside areas. This complements Council’s role as a road manager relating to the traffic function of roads, as set out in the Road Management Act 2004.
The RCMP recognises that roadside vegetation forms important corridors in the
landscape, providing habitat and links for flora and fauna, and also provides a large part of the aesthetic vegetated character of the municipality.
The RCMP aims to assist roadside managers and users to understand vegetation values, applicable legislation requirements and suitable methods to reduce risks when working on roadsides.
The Roadside Conservation Management Plan consists of three documents:
- The Roadside Conservation Management Plan - Part 1 (Adopted June 2014), written specifically to assist Council Officers, details Council’s role in roadside conservation by outlining the objectives, general principles and actions necessary to implement this Plan. It is an activity-based document that sets out the legislative requirements and issues that apply for each activity. It provides guidelines and methods for avoiding native vegetation damage. The RCMP refers to the Roadside Conservation Values Map Booklet which depicts ratings of High, Medium or Low conservation value for all Council managed roadsides.
- The Roadside Conservation Code of Practice Handbook has been produced to serve the needs of road construction and maintenance contractors and Field Services Staff. It is to be used in conjunction with the Routine Roadside Maintenance Flowcharts included in this Plan and the Biodiversity Risk Management Protocols written specifically to assist Council and Contractors.
- The Community Roadside Handbook is a user friendly document for the general community as a reference for specific activities.
Roadside Conservation Value Mapping
The Roadside Conservation Values Map Booklet identifies the conservation value of all roadsides managed by Council in Mansfield Shire. The roadsides were assessed using methodology taken from the Roadsides Conservation Advisory Committee Roadside Assessment Handbook, 2000.
A conservation value of high, medium or low is generated through a vehicle-based assessment with the presence of indicating factors including:
- Roadside width
- Wildlife corridor
- Weed cover
- Site disturbance
- Listed species status
- Fauna habitat (presence of trees, shrubs, grasses, leaf litter, fallen timber, rocks, crevices or wet marshy land)
Landholders can access their adjacent roadside conservation value information by contacting Council’s Environment Unit on 5775 8555.
In most cases Council consent is required before any works or activities are undertaken in a road reserve for which Council is the Coordinating Road Authority. Permits are a means of notifying Council and State Government Agencies prior to commencing any works on a road reserve to ensure a coordinated approach across the Shire to roadside management and road safety. Types of Permits include:
A Planning Permit is required for native vegetation removal (including grasses and shrubs as well as trees) and works such as erecting signs. Planning Permits are administered by Council's Planning Unit.
A Local Laws Permit is required for activities such as grazing or droving stock, roadside trading, advertising signs, displays and sale of goods. Local Laws Permits are administered by Council's Local Laws Unit.
A Consent for Works Within a Road Reserve is required for works such as; property access (crossovers / driveways), bitumen sealed turnouts and shoulders, concrete footpaths, plumbing services connections, minor excavations to lay or maintain underground utility services. Consent for Works Within a Road Reserve Permits are administered by Council's Engineering and Assets Unit.
Mansfield Shire Council
33 Highett Street
Mansfield Vic 3722
50-52 Clarke Street
Benalla Vic 3672
13 11 71 www.vicroads.vic.gov.au