PARCELS of land in Leneva and Baranduda will be permanently protected from housing development in a win for threatened wildlife.
The Wodonga Council and Department of Environment and Primary Industries signed an agreement that would protect 36 per cent of the 3000-hectare land mass between Beechworth Road, the Kiewa River, the Baranduda range and Bear’s Hill.
The protected environmental reserves, stemming from waterways, are scattered throughout the area and DEPI’s senior biodiversity officer Marike Van Nouhuys said it will preserve and encourage the growth of the region’s wildlife.
“It retains the best vegetation areas for habitat for endangered species,” Ms Van Nouhuys said.
“It identifies upfront what these areas are that need to be retained, while still recognising development needs.”
She said the Wodonga area is home to several threatened species such as the squirrel glider, brush-tailed phascogale and a significant woodland bird community including the diamond firetail.
Council’s natural resource planner Claire Coulson said the agreement would mean bushland would remain even as housing is built around it.
“This network of reserves provides the offset for development within the area, balancing environmental and development objectives,” she said.
“The beauty of the natural environment will be an integral part of the urban character of Wodonga.”
The reserves have gradually been transferred to the council’s ownership from the Albury-Wodonga Corporation since 2007 and the work that led to the agreement for preservation has become a model for other planning schemes in the state.