Outstanding habitat on Bruny Island
Lutregala Marsh Reserve is next to the Bruny Island Neck Game Reserve. It has two outstanding vulnerable habitats: a coastal saltmarsh and saline grassland. Because of these, the property is listed on the register of the National Estate.
Some parts of Lutregala Marsh are slightly higher than others. Some parts of the saltmarsh are saltier than others. Even these small changes produce conditions that support different plant communities. This diversity, as well as very little human disturbance, makes the site a hotspot for birds. Raptors, or birds of prey, particularly like the area.
You can find out more about why saltmarsh is important on the NRM South website.
A hotspot for birds of prey
Lutregala Marsh Reserve is important foraging habitat for swamp harriers. There are high numbers of these birds of prey around the marsh during the day. Swamp harriers breed within the saltmarsh habitat, nesting above the water line. Brown falcons and brown goshawks are also likely to forage on the reserve.
In the black peppermint forest on the reserve, sea eagles perch, looking for fish in Simpsons Bay. Masked owls live nearby - the peppermint forest has several trees with large hollows where they could nest.
Lutregala Marsh is an important site for invertebrates that can only live in salty water. Because the saltiness of the marsh differs so much from place to place, lots of different kinds of crustaceans and molluscs live there.
Caring for Lutregala Marsh Reserve
In the less-salty parts of the reserve, there are weeds such as sweet pittosporum and blackberry. The TLC is working to control these.
Neighbouring properties have stock, which could damage the marsh. These animals are kept out by fencing.
Cats hunt in the area surrounding the marsh, so the TLC works with the Bruny Island community to reduce their impact on wildlife.
The history of Lutregala
Aboriginal heritage at Lutregala Marsh
The Nuenonne people have lived for tens of thousands of years on Bruny Island. They were part of the South East Nation, whose land covered more than 3,500 sq kms. The border of that land runs along the west bank of the River Derwent from New Norfolk to Storm Bay, including the D’Entrecasteaux Channel and Bruny Island as far south as South Cape and inland north to the Huon Valley and New Norfolk. You can read more about this nation in Tasmanian Aborigines, A History since 1803 by Lyndall Ryan. Bruny Island remains a significant place for the traditional owners of this land.
The Nuenonne word, ‘lutregala’, means ‘fine day’ in English. The region around and including Lutregala Marsh was probably used extensively by Nuenonne people before European colonisation of the island and even afterwards. There are lots of shellfish in the large tidal areas on the ocean side of the reserve. In the marsh, people could have hunted animals and collected plant foods.
How Lutegrala Marsh was protected
The site was previously owned by the Tasmanian Conservation Trust. Julian and Christina Sigrist of The Sheepwash, Bruny Island, left the western part of the property to the Trust in a bequest. The Trust bought the eastern portion from Mrs Ruth Bush, of Porongarup WA. In 2005, the Trust decided to sell the property to someone who would conserve it in accordance with the original bequest.
The Tasmanian Land Conservancy bought Lutregala Marsh from the Trust, thanks to many generous donations. The TLC placed a permanent conservation covenant over the reserve in 2008, protecting it forever.
Banner photograph: Arwen Dyer