Giant Gippsland Earthworm and Narracan Burrowing Crayfish
The Giant Gippsland Earthworm
What is the Giant Gippsland Earthworm?
The Giant Gippsland Earthworm (Megascolides australis – the earthworm), is one of the world’s largest earthworms and is only found in about 40,000 hectares approximately between Loch, Korumburra and Warragul.
Where does the Earthworm live?
Suitable habitat is generally moist, blue-grey clay soils on, or close to, flat land near streams or soaks. The earthworms can be found on steep areas and watercourses on south or west-facing slopes. They live in complex permanent burrows that extend to around 1.5 m in depth.
Is the Giant Gippsland Earthworm protected?
Yes. Many landowners are unaware of the significant penalties that apply from legal protection if Giant Gippsland Earthworm are harmed. The Earthworms are protected by State and Federal law, most significantly the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act). This Act requires approval from the Federal Government Minister for the Environment for any proposed development that may impact the GGE or its habitat.
Are their planning amendments in place to protect the Giant Gippsland Earthworm?
Yes. Planning Amendement C107 introduced an overlay to the Planning Scheme to help protect the Giant Gippsland Earthworm. The overlay shows areas of likely habitat to help landowners identify where this endangered species may live. By avoiding any disturbance to these areas, habitat is protected and fines and delays to development can be avoided.
What do I do if I find Giant Gippsland Earthworms on my property?
If you want to develop call Council immediately on 5662 9200 or the Department of Environment, Land, Water & Planning (DELWP) on 5172 2111.
For practical information about how to treat unearthed worms, including how to relocate them, please refere to:
- Guidelines for the accidental unearthing of Giant Gippsland Earthworms (November 2015)
Remember to always keep an unearthed worm horizontal as holding them vertically ALWAYS results in their death. Ideally, worms should be left alone or relocated very carefully.