Save Solomon Heights
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Big 5 biodiversity
From high on the escarpment down to the Maribyrnong River, Solomon Heights Grassland (also known as Baldwin Avenue Grassland) in Sunshine North is packed with nature but remains unprotected and under threat from development. It’s big, with over 30 ha of native vegetation, and has the “Big 5” – Striped Legless Lizards, Golden Sun Moths, Growling Grass Frogs, Spiny Rice-flowers and Natural Temperate Grassland of the Victorian Volcanic Plain (NTGVVP). This is an important corridor in Brimbank for the broader movement of large mammals such as Eastern Grey Kangaroos.
A long history
Luckily, the grassland has not yet been developed, despite several attempts and arguments going all the way to the High Court. Grassland extends across two proposed estates. To the north, Solomon Heights Estate is an unbuilt historic subdivision from the 1920s and comprises hundreds of individual parcels of land. Several developers have managed to purchase sizable numbers of these, but many individual land holders also remain. River Valley Estate, to the south, is partially built, with future stages planned that threaten the grassland.
Urgent action needed
Solomon Heights has been unmanaged for many years, subject to dumping, vandalism and the spread of weeds. Recently one landholder illegally built a bund wall, bringing in hundreds of tonnes of contaminated soil and dumping it. Road works threaten populations of critically endangered Spiny Rice-flower. Council is attempting to resolve these longstanding issues. It is important that they are aware that the exceptional biodiversity values at Solomon Heights need to be urgently protected before there is any further decline.
The 2016 proposal
In 2016 Brimbank Council, looking for a way forward, organised a new report from the ecological consultancy Biosis. The report recommends a plan in which the northern portion of the site, which has the best biodiversity values, is kept as a grassland reserve, along with a biodiversity corridor along the lower portions of the river escarpment. The southern portions, which still have valuable biodiversity but have been more abused by mismanagement and dumping, would be allowed to be developed. The proposal is a win for everyone: the most important areas of biodiversity and the site’s strategic role as an eco-corridor are protected; landholders get to develop their land or have it purchased at a reasonable price; the costs to Council are lessened; and the community get a grassy wildflower wonderland with views across the Maribyrnong River to the city skyline.
Reaching for a bold vision
The Solomon Heights Grassland can be restored to take its rightful place as a jewel in the crown of Brimbank’s network of ecologically significant places. The Grassy Plains Network is calling on Brimbank Council to put their considerable resources towards a bold vision and a structured plan.
Areas of escarpment shrubland are variously dominated by wattles, Sweet Bursaria and Tree Violet. Pic extracted from Biosis report (2016)
Plan extracted from Biosis report (2016)
How you can help
- Download and post-up our Save Solomons Heights posters!
- Read our letter to Brimbank’s Councillors here. And here’s another one, by grassland ecologist Dr Megan O’Shea.
- Write your own letter. Councillors’ email addresses are here.
- Read the Biosis report and Council summary here.
- There’s also good info on Wikipedia here.
- Get in touch.
- Join our newsletter.
Get the PDFs here! Print out and put them up! Your local cafe, school, workplace, wherever you think they’ll do some good.