Damper Creek Habitat
Source : City of Monash - Indigenous Reserves Corridors Conservation & Management Plan (Ecology Australia - October 2000) Background
Damper Creek is a tributary of the Gardiners Creek Corridor.
The Geology is of Silurian Anderson Creek Formation (mudstone inter-bedded with sandstone and shale) bordered by Tertiary Pliocene non-marine sand, sand clay, silt and gravel of the Brighton Group.
Prior to European occupation Grassy Forest and Swampy Riparian vegetation communities (now only represented by small remnants such as Damper Creek and Valley Reserve) and the now depleted Sclerophyll Forest would have been widespread in the east and southeast of Melbourne.
Dominant components of the Damper Creek vegetation are Swamp Gum (Eucalyptus ovata) with an understorey of Swamp Paperbark (Melaleuca ericifloria) along the creek, grading into Yellow Box (E. melliodora) and Mealy Stringybark (E. cephalocarpa) with Prickly Tea-tree (Leptospermum scoparium and/or L. continentale) in the understorey upslope. Tea-tree grades into a grassy ground layer with only scattered shrubs. Ground flora includes Spiny-headed Mat-rush (Lomandra longifolia), Common Maidenhair (Adiantum aethiopicum) and native grasses including Kangaroo Grass (Themeda triandra), Spear-grasses (Austrostipa spp.), Wallaby-grasses (Austrodanthonia spp.) and Tussock Grass (Poa spp.)
The watercourse supports a diversity of habitats, including faster-flowing narrow channels and broader slow flowing ponds bordered by Common Reed (Phragmites australis), Tall Spike-sedge (Elaeocharis sphacelata) and River Club-sedge (Schoenoplectus validus). Some narrower sections of the creek also support submergent aquatic vegetation. This diversity of in-stream habitats provides the best habitat for frogs, water birds, water rats, tortoises and native fish (Galaxias spp.).
Damper Creek Reserve is a narrow strip of remnant vegetation and restored habitats about 1.5km long and generally less than 150m wide, bordered by residential development.
Remnant strips of vegetation offer the greatest value as fauna habitat when they comprise intact vegetation; species richness is often positively correlated with vegetation width. Generally narrow linear remnants experience higher edge effects due to a higher edge-to-area ratio. These effects can include higher weed invasion, invasion of exotic fauna or common and aggressive native species (eg. Noisy Mynas), rubbish dumping and dieback.
Despite its highly developed urban context, Damper Creek is a regionally significant refuge for fauna providing a good to high quality habitat. The restored vegetation represents some of the best examples of revegetation, and together with remnant vegetation, provides a diversity of microhabitats for vertebrates.
Damper Creek provides suitable foraging, nesting and perching substrate for a variety of native wildlife. The age of the trees is generally young but there is a moderate abundance of older hollow-bearing eucalypts and stags (dead trees) and provision of artificial nest boxes has provided nesting opportunities for hollow-dependent vertebrates (eg. Sugar glider, Common Ringtail possum, Common Brushtail Possum, some birds and insectivorous bats).
Rock beaching has stabilised the creek bank as well as providing basking sites for reptiles and denning opportunities for the water-rat; a few scattered in-stream rocks also provide "feeding platforms" for the water rat.
There is a well-developed shrub understorey along the creek that provides nesting, perching and foraging substrate for some small birds. However there is a lack of fallen timber to provide habitat for reptiles.