Bush Verge Protection and Management

 

Why bush verges are important

Bush verges are areas of remnant native vegetation within the road reserve. They are distinct from landscaped or grassed verges with planted street trees.

Bush verges:

  • Maintain biodiversity, as many of our plants are not found anywhere else
  • Can support native animals with habitat, shelter, food and wildlife corridors 
  • Avoid weed invasion of bare ground and need less maintenance than lawn
  • Provide shade that reduces local maximum temperatures
  • Minimise soil erosion from road water runoff
  • Contribute to local character and amenity, including wildflower displays
  • Add to privacy for landowners and maintain windbreaks.

Rare plants and habitat trees

Many of our bush verges contain declared rare flora (plants) and significant trees such as habitat trees or old growth trees. These environmental features must be prioritised for protection wherever possible.

A habitat tree is a native tree, dead or alive, with a substantial trunk diameter. These trees often contain hollows which provide shelter and essential breeding sites for native birds and other hollow-dependent animals.  Many habitat trees with a diameter over 50cm are protected under State and Federal legislation to ensure nesting sites for threatened species (e.g. threatened black cockatoos).  

Management of bush verges

Road verges are Crown Land and their management is a shared responsibility.  The Shire manages bush verges adjacent to reserves, with a focus on priority weed species. 

The Shire encourages residents to maintain verges adjacent to their private property.  Bush verges do not need as much attention as lawn or landscaped verges, but will look their best if landowners regularly remove weeds.  

Other tips for managing a bush verge are:

  • Revegetate bare areas with local native species (contact us for advice first to ensure road safety and sightlines are maintained)
  • Use appropriate fuel reduction measures, but avoid too-frequent burning as this will favour weeds over the native plants and increase future fuel loads
  • Avoid spreading or introducing soil that could contain dieback
  • Minimise any activities that could degrade bush verges such as storing materials, frequent burning, and parking or driving on native vegetation.

*The Shire’s Fire Hazard Inspection Officers free site visits and advice. Contact us on 9290 6696 to find out more.

Verge works, burning or clearing

A written permit from the Shire is required for works on the verge, this includes burning or clearing.

It is an offence to clear, damage or burn native vegetation (trees, shrubs, herbs, grasses or groundcovers) on the verge without Shire approval. The Shire may issue a warning or infringement, or initiate legal proceedings.

For more information refer to the following:

The Shire encourages landowners to include verges where possible in their Fuel Load Management Plans.

Verge landscaping and street trees

Verge landscaping and street trees can provide shade, habitat, cooling and amenity benefits for areas without native vegetation.

Refer to Verge Trees for information on tree pruning and removal.

Roadside conservation policy

The Shire’s Roadside Conservation Policy guides decisions about proposed works within bush verges. 

For example:

  • The location and design should seek to minimise impacts on native vegetation and protect biodiversity values;
  • Earthworks and disturbance of the soil should be avoided where possible, or undertaken with appropriate precautions to minimise the spread of weeds and plant diseases (e.g. dieback);
  • Avoid storage of sand, fill, skip bins, sea containers, building and construction materials on bush verges wherever possible;
  • Removal of native vegetation may be undertaken by Shire staff to improve visibility of intersections and road signage, or for safety reasons.

View the policy below.

Roadside Conservation Policy (PDF)

Roadside Conservation Strategy

The Shire adopted a Roadside Conservation Strategy in 2016, which aimed to identify important vegetation on road reserves and guide action to protect it.  Some actions have been completed, such as development of the Roadside Conservation Policy above.  Some actions are likely to be transferred into the consolidated Local Biodiversity Strategy (expected in 2022). 

Roadside Conservation Strategy (PDF)

More information and contact

For more information contact the Shire on 9290 6666 or email shire@mundaring.wa.gov.au.