National Wetlands Update September 2012
Issue No. 21, September 2012
Private landholders protecting wetlands
James Forbes, Nature Conservation Trust of New South Wales
Baradine Gums on Stanley. (James Forbes)
The Nature Conservation Trust of New South Wales is protecting high conservation value wetlands through its revolving fund program and private land conservation agreements.
Stanley is a 2418 hectare property located 20 kilometres north west of Quambone in the lower Macquarie River Catchment in central west New South Wales (NSW). Stanley is part of the Macquarie Marshes, the largest semi-permanent freshwater wetlands found in south-eastern Australia, and supports NSW threatened wetland birds including the magpie goose and brolga. It was also home to the largest known rookery of nankeen night-herons in NSW when surveyed in 1998.
Stanley was purchased this year by local farmer Scott Ridley from the Nature Conservation Trust of NSW through its Revolving Fund, which ensures the significant natural values of the property are protected forever.
The Revolving Fund is used to buy private lands with high conservation values which are on-sold to supportive landowners like Scott with a permanent conservation agreement in place. When a property is on-sold, the funds are used again to buy and protect more properties. With many important wetlands on private land, the Revolving Fund provides an efficient way to protect them and create private nature reserves, contributing to the public reserve system, while allowing agricultural areas to remain productive.
"I like the idea of zoning country, having restrictions on what people can do with it" said Mr Ridley. The conservation agreement concept, still fresh in the rural community, will catch on more as properties like Stanley succeed. Of course, prospective buyers of such properties have "got to have a bit of green running through their veins somewhere".
Brolga on Shark Creek. (Georgia Beyer)
Shark Creek, a stunning 216 hectare wetland property in the Tyndale Swamp north east of Grafton, is home to numerous NSW threatened species including brolgas and ospreys, as well as two endangered wetland vegetation communities. The property was recently purchased by the Nature Conservation Trust as part of the Revolving Fund program.
"With less than 10 per cent of wetlands in the Clarence River catchment protected in reserves, the Nature Conservation Trust is thrilled to be helping ensure the long-term survival of wetlands in the area through the purchase and protection of Shark Creek," said Kate Smillie, Acting CEO of the Nature Conservation Trust.
"There are 11 threatened bird species known in or near Shark Creek and another seven likely to occur in the area," said Ms Smillie. "This makes our purchase of Shark Creek significant for the long-term protection of these species."
The Nature Conservation Trust of NSW is creating a network of private reserves protecting our native plants and animals for future generations.
"Protecting wetlands by buying land through the Revolving Fund is something individuals and companies can do to make a real difference to the future of wetland habitats across NSW," Ms Smillie said.