Ten locals from the Far North Coast will receive Private Land Conservation Grants for outstanding conservation efforts.
“Locals from Meerschaum Vale, Rosebank, Limpinwood, Suffolk Park, Alstonville, Upper Coopers Creek, Woodburn, Kyogle, Blue Knob and Brunswick Heads have won Private Land Conservation Grants this year. The grants will allow these landholders to undertake conservation work on their own lands,” said Ms Susanna Bradshaw, CEO of the Foundation for National Parks & Wildlife, which administers the grant program.
Private Land Conservation Grants support owners of protected properties to conduct habitat or species conservation projects. This year more than $300,000 was awarded to 72 landholders with conservation agreements on their properties.
“The program acknowledges people undertaking voluntary conservation work on their own land and supports them in their long term commitment
to protecting and preserving the environment,” said Ms Bradshaw.
Grant winners in the region included:
Margie Wheeler of Upper Coopers Creek will receive $3,000 over three years for invasive weed control.
Ms Wheeler said, “It is wonderful to receive some assistance, whether in large or small grants, for weeding in what is otherwise a successfully regenerating rainforest. Local indigenous seedlings germinate without assistance but have difficulty in finding their way above the more competitive exotic weeds – so it is important to remove the weeds to conserve the native species.”
Graeme Fleming of Alstonville will receive $9,600 over three years for invasive weed control and bush regeneration work.
Mr Fleming said, “We did the agreement some years ago and it’s a large area for us to manage. There is still a lot of work to do. The Madeira Vine is a real problem and the grant from the Foundation for National Parks & Wildlife will help us sort this out. Weeds have been increasing and these funds will assist us to get rid of them.”
Vanessa Pelly of Corymbia Wildlife Refuge in Blue Knob will receive $3,000 over three years for slashing, mowing and brushcutting, purchase and planting of trees and tree guards and stakes.
Ms Pelly said, “This grant has given me a wonderful opportunity to revegetate rainforest along the creek and possibly a Koala habitat.”
Alan Watterson of Brunswick Heads will receive $3,000 over three years for invasive weed control.
Mr Watterson said, “The Private Land Conservation Grant program is marvellous and will save a small rainforest remnant from weed invasion.”
Rodney Conroy on behalf of Blackhorse Creek Pty Ltd of Blackhorse Creek Registered Property Agreement in Kyogle will receive over $4,600 over two years for invasive weed control and bush regeneration work.
Mr Conroy said, “It is an acknowledgement of the work we have already done voluntarily and of our contribution to conservation.”
Susie Hearder of Hopping Docks Creek Trust Agreement in Limpinwood will receive over $14,500 over three years for invasive weed control.
Ms Hearder said, “I'd like to thank the Foundation for this wonderful opportunity to help restore a section of my property. Conservation on private land is so important with all the devastating and threatening processes to our increasingly stressed wildlife. It’s a fantastic feeling to know you are creating a safe haven for wildlife by helping restore and protect their dwindling habitats.”
Garry and Angela Owers of Meerschaum Vale will receive over $6,700 over three years for invasive weed control.
The Owers said, “Our property is a tropical rainforest which is under represented in the area. Not only is it an endangered ecological community, it is a valuable vegetation type and it’s great that is preserved and not impacted by other threats.”
Sandra Heuston of Soul of the Tree Conservation Agreement in Rosebank will receive over $7,000 over two years for invasive weed control.
Ms Heuston said, “This grant is greatly appreciated and will benefit the restoration at our property Heuston Haven. It is part of the Endangered Ecological Community of Lowland Rainforest. The previous restoration work has seen the introduction of so much wildlife. The natural regeneration work will further enhance and continue to expand on the corridors that have already been created.”
Holly North, on behalf of the Aruacaria Association, of Araucaria Registered Property Agreement in Suffolk Park will receive $15,000 over three years for invasive weed control and bush regeneration work.
On behalf of the Aruacaria Association, Ms North said, “We are trying to take areas of existing vegetation and maintain and enhance them. We will also spread the word about the usefulness of bush regeneration by promoting best practice bush regeneration and weed identification to the Broken Head community so they are more aware of the conservation values in their local region.”
Murray and Julie-Anne Coward of Woodburn will receive $15,000 over three years for invasive weed control.
Mr Coward said, “We value our property very much because it is next to a national park. Our neighbours are also nature conservationists and together we hope to encourage a lot more diversity in the local wildlife. Setaria has taken over and has reduced the ground cover and we hope to remove the weeds and bring back the native vegetation.”
Tara Patel, on behalf of Land for Wildlife members in the Kyogle Local Government Area, will receive almost $6,000 over three years to hold a series of workshops over three years on nest boxes, seed propagation, and threatened species for Land for Wildlife members.
Ms Patel said, “I am really pleased that by gaining this funding, our Land For Wildlife members will now have an opportunity to increase their knowledge of practical ways that they can help preserve our native wildlife. It is also an opportunity for them to network with other like-minded people.”
“Conservation on private properties is extremely important because most of the land in Australia is privately owned,” Ms Bradshaw said. “Governments have a role to play in protecting land, but so too do individual people. Landholders who protect native plants and animals on their own properties are providing an invaluable service to current and future generations by conserving biodiversity.”
The grants were awarded by an alliance of not-for-profit organisations and government agencies.
Ms Bradshaw said, “The Foundation for National Parks & Wildlife is working in partnership with the Office of Environment and Heritage’s Conservation Partners Program, the Nature Conservation Trust of NSW, the Paddy Pallin Foundation, the Wildlife Land Trust, the Diversicon Environmental Foundation, Community Environment Network, Catchment Management Authorities, and the NSW Environmental Trust to offer these grants.”
“We see it as an extremely effective way of working with the community to care for Australia’s natural and cultural heritage,” said Ms Bradshaw.
The Private Land Conservation Grants program has been offering grants to owners of covenanted properties since 2009. In 2012, the program received a funding boost from the NSW Environmental Trust in order to expand grant eligibility to more owners of private land under protection agreements.
For the full list of this year’s grant recipients, visit www.fnpw.org.au.
The next funding round will open in early 2013.