Green List
Explore

Warby-Ovens National Park
Warby-Ovens National Park

First Listed

2021

Area
147.08km2

Why is it Green Listed?

Home to a range of threatened species and communities, such as the Grey Grass Tree, Temperate Woodland Bird Community, and Carpet Python, the park is an important landscape for both conservation of species and the education of visitors. The park is a place set-aside for passive recreation where the community can visit, learn, camp, swim, canoe, bush walk, bird watch, cycle and relax; these activities align with Parks Victoria’s “Healthy Parks Healthy People” approach to park management.

Key Achievements

Conservation

  • Warby-Ovens National Park protects some of the best examples of Box-Ironbark Forest and Riverine Forest and Woodlands in the Victoria.
  • The ecological health of the park is maintained through programs to manage weeds, pest animals and visitor impacts and reduce illegal activities.
  • Citizen scientist projects have been established to monitor key faunal groups within park, including threatened woodland birds.

Good governance

  • The management plan for the park was developed with input from Traditional Owners, community and stakeholders in accordance with the Parks Victoria Act (2018) and the National Parks Act (1975).
  • Yorta Yorta Nation Aboriginal Corporation are regularly consulted in relation to management of Warby-Ovens National Park as well as other parks within their traditional lands.
  • Establishment of the Warby-Ovens National Park Advisory Group provides a forum for Traditional Owner and community input on implementation of the management plan.

Community benefits

  • Opportunities for Yorta Yorta Nation Aboriginal Corporation to connect to Country.
  • The park provides a range of recreational, educational and social opportunities for the local community and tourists.
  • Building an engaged and involved local community which contribute to park management and monitoring.

Site Attributes

WDPA ID

Size
147.08km2

Designation(s)
National Park

IUCN Category
II - National Park

Year Established
2010

Marine Protected Area
No

Governance Type
Sub-national ministry or agency

Site Agency
Parks Victoria

EAGL Evaluation
30/04/2021

GL Committee Submission
31/05/2021

EAGL Chair
Andrea Leverington

ASI Reviewer
Matthew Durnin

Site Summary

Located between the Victorian Alps and the Murray Valley, the 14,655ha Warby-Ovens National Park is situated close to the regional centre of Wangaratta. The park consists of three distinct vegetation types: granitic foothills and woodlands, Box Iron-bark Forests and River Red Gum Forest and Woodlands, which provide connectivity and potential refuge for species impacted by climate change. The park is known for its tall Grass-Trees, Aboriginal and European heritage, waterfalls, its outlook over the snow covered Victorian Alps, and the heritage-listed lower reaches of the Ovens River, which is one of the last two unregulated rivers in Victoria. The Warby-Chiltern Box-Ironbark Key Biodiversity Area covers 77% of the park.

Home to a range of threatened species and communities, such as the Grey Grass Tree, Temperate Woodland Bird Community, and Carpet Python, the park is an important landscape for both conservation of species and the education of visitors. The park is a place set-aside for passive recreation where the community can visit, learn, camp, swim, canoe, bush walk, bird watch, cycle and relax; these activities align with Parks Victoria’s “Healthy Parks Healthy People” approach to park management.

1. Natural Values
MONITORING OF VALUES
THRESHOLDS OF SUCCESS
CONDITION OF VALUES
SUMMARY OF TRENDS AND RESULTS
Box-Ironbark Forest
Thresholds have been determined for 15 parameters used to assess ecological health based on the degree to which each parameter exists in a state which can be reasonably assumed is not acceptable
Good for 14/15 parameters and Poor for 1 parameter
Rated Poor for recruitment. This is generally considered to be episodic and, anecdotally, is rare across the state. Factors which are believed to contribute to this include changes to soil structure from mining and retention of reproductive structures preventing seed shed.
Riverine Woodland / Forest
Thresholds have been determined for 15 parameters used to assess ecological health based on the degree to which each parameter exists in a state which can be reasonably assumed is not acceptable
Good for 12/15 parameters; Good with some concern for 1 parameter and Poor for 1 parameter
Large feral mammals and weeds rated poor and fair, respectively. Current management programs targeting feral Pigs and Deer and a range of weeds are in place.
Grassy/Heathy Dry Forests and Granitic Hillslopes
Thresholds have been determined for 15 parameters used to assess ecological health based on the degree to which each parameter exists in a state which can be reasonably assumed is not acceptable
Grassy/Heathy Dry Forest scored Good for 14/15 parameters and Good with some concern for 1 parameter. Granitic Hillslopes scored Good for 9/15 parameters, Good with some concern for 4 parameters and Fair for 2 parameters.
Weeds and understorey rated fair. There is a current weed management program in place. Understorey condition may be related to combined impacts of fire and reduced rainfall.
Threatened Temperate Woodland Bird Community
The listed community constitutes 12% or more of the total bird community (by individuals); At least ten species from the community known to be regularly present; The mean abundance of listed woodland birds is greater than 2 individuals, unless there are severe precipitating events such as drought or major bushfire
Meets thresholds
The Woodland Bird Community constitutes 16.6% of the total bird community (by individuals). 11 species from the community were observed. The mean abundance of listed woodland birds 4 individuals per 20-minute 2 ha survey.
Lower reaches of the Ovens River
The Index of Stream Condition (ISC) score in both reach 1 and reach 2 of the Ovens River is ≥ ‘moderate’; Streamside Zone scores for reaches 1 and 2 of the Ovens River are ≥ 7 and they are in equal or better condition than 90% of other ‘like’ reaches in the Ovens and Kiewa basins.
Meets thresholds
ISC score for both reaches is moderate; Streamside Zone score for Reach 1 is 8 and for Reach 2 is 9, which places them within the top 10% of comparable reaches within Ovens and Kiewa Basins.
2. Ecosystem Service Values
MONITORING OF VALUES
THRESHOLDS OF SUCCESS
CONDITION OF VALUES
SUMMARY OF TRENDS AND RESULTS
Carbon storage
79% of the park (11,600 ha) is classified as mature or long unburnt vegetation.
Provision of recreation, tourism, educational, spiritual, aesthetic, inspirational, social, health and well-being opportunities
Visitors can access the park via roads and tracks. The two designated campgrounds are open and maintained and seasonal access is provided for dispersed camping sites along the Ovens River. Walking tracks are maintained. Lookouts are open and maintained. Day visitor areas are open and maintained. Four complaints relating to park facilities or servicing (in line with management plan objectives for permitted activities) were received during the period 1 November 2020 to 1 May 2021. Two complaints related to restricted access due to flooding (tracks along the Ovens River seasonally flood and are closed to ensure visitor safety) and two related to road/track condition.
3. Cultural Values
MONITORING OF VALUES
THRESHOLDS OF SUCCESS
CONDITION OF VALUES
SUMMARY OF TRENDS AND RESULTS
Cultural places: 42 known Aboriginal places are listed on the Victorian Aboriginal Heritage Register, including scarred trees, artefact scatters and 10% of known Aboriginal rock wells in Victoria.
All known Aboriginal places are recorded on the Victorian Aboriginal Heritage Register. No places have been impacted by park management: 15 Aboriginal Heritage Compliance Preliminary Assessments have been completed for all park activities, planned burns, and road access work in the past 12 months that have involved ground disturbance. None of these have triggered the requirement for the development of a Culture Heritage Management Plan under the Victorian Aboriginal Heritage Act 2006.
Aboriginal places are known from surveys conducted in the the late 1990s/early 2000s. The Ovens River section is yet to be formally surveyed. Parks Victoria will provide further opportunities, led by Traditional Owners, to reconnect with country and rediscover tangible and intangible cultural values within or associated with the park.
Connection to country: pre-European settlement, Warby Ovens National Park would have provided Traditional Owners with a range of resources including food, medicine, raw materials (such as siliceous stone) as well as places to camp and to connect with traditional culture and stories. The viewshed from and travel routes through the Warby Range would have been of strategic importance to Aboriginal people in the past.
Strategies within the management plan to facilitate Traditional Owners continuing to build connections to the park and have input and involvement in management include supporting and facilitating access for cultural practices, events, activities and gatherings and traditional use of resources; support gathering and sharing of knowledge, as appropriate; investigate the use of Aboriginal names for the park and features; enhance interpretative service (eg Aboriginal tour guides). However, implementation of the plan is in the early stages. Signage at all park entrances includes acknowledgement of Yorta Yorta Traditional Owners

Conservation Summary

Consensus 
The Australian EAGL considered information from the site visit, including stakeholder input, the data provided, and discussions with managers in determining whether to recommend the Warby Ovens National Park for inclusion on the IUCN Green List.
Component 1: Good Governance
The members of the EAGL recognised that the Warby Ovens National Park was gazetted under Schedule 2 the VIC National Parks Act 1975. The national park is managed for the preservation and protection of the natural environment, the protection and preservation of indigenous flora and fauna and features of scenic or archaeological, ecological, geological, historic or other scientific interest in those parks; the study of ecology, geology, botany, zoology and other sciences relating to the conservation of the natural environment in the parks and the responsible management of the land in the park.
The legitimate rights of the Indigenous peoples and local communities are recognised. Yorta Yorta Nation Aboriginal Corporation (YYNAC) are the Registered Aboriginal Party that cover Warby Ovens National Park and are the formally recognised body representing the descendants of the Apical Ancestors of the lands of the Yorta Yorta Nation. Parks Victoria meets monthly with YYNAC’s CEO and staff to discuss management of parks and reserves across Yorta Yorta Country including Warby Ovens National Park. The Warby-Ovens National Park Advisory Group was formed in 2019 to provide a mechanism for the local community to have input into the ongoing management of the park. The Warby Ovens National Park is included in the River Red Gum Parks management plan which underwent detailed stakeholder consultation prior to finalisation, ensuring transparency and accountability.
Parks Victoria applies an adaptive management approach to the management of protected areas. The emphasis is on identifying strategies that tackle the high-risk threats to priority conservation assets and their key ecological attributes, and that will contribute most to meeting the expected conservation outcomes. These strategies are articulated in a Conservation Action Plan. After five years, the Conservation Action Plan is reviewed. Progress will be evaluated against the outcomes identified for conservation assets, threat mitigation objectives and implementation of identified high-priority actions, to revise and enhance the plan. Progress towards achieving objectives is also evaluated through the State of the Parks program with assessments conducted approximately every three years and the implications of results for management are considered through Closing the Loop workshops.
The EAGL considers that the Warby Ovens National Park complies with the criteria of the Component 1 of the Green List Standard.
Component 2 Sound Design and Planning
Significant natural values and associated ecosystem services and cultural values of Warby-Ovens National Park are outlined in the River Red Gum Parks Management Plan. The natural values are further detailed in the River Red Gum Conservation Action Plan.
Warby Ovens National Park is dominated by granitic mid-slopes, ranges and plateaux, which although not above 450 m in elevation, dominate the local landscape in all directions. The lower Ovens River is considered of high conservation value due to its near natural flows and intactness of the river system. The river provides habitat for a range of aquatic species (many of which are threatened), including numerous species of fish, turtles and crayfish, and waterbirds. The wetlands are listed as nationally significant in the Directory of Important Wetlands.
The park protects a number of Ecological Vegetation Divisions. The Box Ironbark Forest and the Riverine Woodlands within Warby-Ovens National Park are among the best examples of these communities in Victoria. The Victorian Temperate Woodland Bird Community has been defined as a suite of 24 bird species, mainly associated with drier woodlands on the slopes and plains north of the Great Dividing Range, that seem to have declined markedly in numbers since records began.
Warby Ovens National Park contains regionally significant registered Aboriginal places, including scarred trees, artefact scatters and 10% of known Aboriginal rock wells in Victoria (all known rock wells within the park are found on the western side of the Warby Range), which are documented on the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Inquiry System. The 42 known Aboriginal Places in Warby Ovens National Park are listed on the Victorian Aboriginal Heritage Register and protected by the Aboriginal Heritage Act 2006 (Vic).
The River Red Gum Conservation Action Plan (CAP) lists the key threats to the conservation assets of the River Red Gum Park Landscape, as identified by participants through the conservation action planning workshops. Key threat include climate change, weeds, pest animals, inappropriate fire regime and Phytophthora cinnamomi. Current and emerging threats are also documented through the State of the Parks management effectiveness evaluation program.
The River Red Gum Parks Management Plan identified that, across the landscape, parks make a significant State and regional economic contribution through ecosystem services, such as water, and through tourism, employment and other uses. Warby-Ovens National Park is not currently considered a high value tourist area by Tourism North East (TNE), as it competes directly with popular Alpine and Murray River areas. However, the park is popular amongst bird watchers and is promoted for its birdwatching opportunities both on-line and in field guides.
The EAGL considers that the Warby Ovens National Park complies with the criteria of the Component 2 of the Green List Standard.
Component 3: Effective Management
The long term management of the site are directed by the River Red Gum Management plan and the Conservation Action Plan (January 2020). The District Annual Plan identifies key services, functions and deliverables for the district that align with the management plan and also indicates how these align with organisational strategies and objectives. The work centre annual plan identifies actions the work centre will undertake to contribute to the delivery of the district annual plan and how outcomes will be measured.
Key management actions for Warby-Ovens National Park include pest plant and animal management, maintaining and in some cases, upgrading existing visitor facilities as well as planning for new visitor experiences, undertake compliance activities, including patrols, support activities of partner agencies, working with Traditional Owners and improving engagement with stakeholders and the community. Infrastructure and assets are appropriately managed, and staff numbers are adequate.
Management of Warby-Ovens National Park is reflective of the social and economic goals outlined in the management plan. The Wangaratta work centre annual plan (2019-2020) includes several key services/deliverables for the current year that support the social and economic development of the region. Within the Warby-Ovens National Park, the Ovens River section of the park is targeted for compliance due to its higher visitation and occurrences of illegal fire wood harvesting. Key visitor sites in the Warby Range and Killawarra sections are also patrolled as required (less frequently in summer as visitation is low). The nature and level of permitted activities are clearly described in the River Red Gum Parks Management Plan and their compatibility with the conservation of major site values is outlined.
Responses to unauthorised activities is generally instigated from neighbour or staff reports. Common activities include dogs, campers and outdoor dance parties. Ranger compliance patrols are assisted by the Police and local government. These campaigns have proven to be effective in reducing unauthorised activities.
Ecological Health is monitored using the Park Health Check method with data collected via an internally developed on-line application. This monitoring was established in September 2019, with subsequent monitoring to be undertaken every one to two years. Performance measures for natural values have been developed and the thresholds for each performance measure are documented. The EAGL also acknowledges the excellent work done by staff to develop appropriate thresholds and performance indicators.
The EAGL considers that the site comply with the criteria of the Component 3 of the Green List Standard.
Component 4: Successful Conservation Outcomes
The EAGL agrees that the site meets the thresholds for the conservation of natural values, ecosystem services and the cultural values.
The EAGL considers that the sites comply with the criteria of the Component 4 of the Green List Standard.
DECISION
The EAGL members approved by consensus to recommend the Warby Ovens National Park for inclusion on the IUCN Green List. 
Process followed Green List guidelines and reviewer felt the EAGL did a very thorough assessment based on evidence provided by PA as well as site visit and in depth discussions with PA managers and other stakeholders. 
Please note that our website is in a BETA phase and is still undergoing final testing before our official launch.
IUCN Green List

IUCN Green List
Protected | Conserved Areas


Subscribe to our mailing list

Privacy Policy Legal Sitemap

© 2021 IUCN, International Union for Conservation of Nature
Site by Design Factory
This website is possible thanks to the support from:

Join the conversation


IUCN Green List