A NEW Landcare group is on the way for the Upper Merri and Upper Plenty areas, with a community meeting to be held in spring to discuss its formation.

Covering the Heathcote Junction and Wallan areas, the group will allow landholders to work together to address land management issues, access project funding and ensure the land is cared for and managed sustainably in the future.

Upper Merri Landcare facilitator Chris Cobern said it was important to allow landowners to work together in regional areas.

“When you have a group working on one thing you can manage a lot more,” he said.

“Individual landowners are usually focused on their own land, and they might not even be aware of issues on neighbours’ property.

“Their neighbours might not be managing their properties in the same way as others, meaning there’s a potential safety hazard for those doing the right thing.”

Mr Cobern said there were currently no Landcare groups in the Wallan and Heathcote Junction area, however there were other groups that focused more on issues in Mitchell Shire’s towns rather than on people’s properties.

There have been previous attempts to form a Landcare group in the Upper Merri and Upper Plenty areas, however the bushfires of 2009 put plans on hold until now.

A meeting in spring to talk about the formation of the group and allow people interested in asking questions, find out more information and learn about how they can be involved once the group gets underway.

“Landcare groups work to improve the biodiversity of the area and just improve the general environment, as well as making people’s properties safer by removing weeds and other hazards,” Mr Cobern said.

“We hope people can learn new things in the information sessions and start to work with others to help get more done. It just brings people together.”

In the lead up to community meeting, people can request for Mr Cobern to visit their properties and give advice about land management.

For more information on the Landcare group and land management in general, people can contact Mr Cobern by calling 0413 855 490 or emailing chriscobern@mcmc.org.au.

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