Project update – April 2020
So much in the world has changed since our last Ginninderra Project Update in late 2019. The word ‘unprecedented’ has appeared numerous times in 2020 as we have seen one crisis or natural disaster after another.
Following hot and dry conditions in spring and summer, the ACT region, like many parts of the country, experienced large-scale bushfires and hazardous air quality from bushfire smoke.
A destructive hailstorm swept through Canberra in late January and was followed by heavy rains and then COVID-19. As we have reported in recent articles on this site, CSIRO has been in the midst of research efforts to respond to and address such challenges.
CSIRO’s Ginninderra property has emerged from the summer in good condition and the vegetation and community shrub plantings are benefitting from more than 250mm of rain in the two months since early February.
With the opening of the Boorowa Agricultural Research Station in November 2019, most of our Agriculture and Food research has now moved from Ginninderra and work is continuing to prepare for future sustainable urban development alongside ongoing ecological conservation and restoration.
Towards these goals, our Project Team has been progressing preliminary urban and statutory planning, as well as environmental, geotechnical, infrastructure demand, traffic and heritage studies, and liaising with the relevant Commonwealth and ACT agencies. CSIRO is committed to carrying out the due diligence and technical studies ahead of the next steps to procure future development arrangements.
Ecological research and management is also continuing including a range of projects in the Box Gum Grassy Woodlands and Derived Native Grasslands. The next round of biennial autumn burns in the grassland restoration trials are due to go ahead in May as long as the conditions are suitable and all approvals are in place. This project is a partnership with the Ginninderra Catchment Group and includes five trial sites at CSIRO Ginninderra.
We look forward to reporting further on these activities over the coming months.