The NSW Minister for the Environment, Rob Stokes, announced the creation of a new national park in the Clarence Valley early in November . The Government purchased 1700 hectares of the Everlasting Swamp which will be added to the area already protected as the Everlasting Swamp State Conservation Area.
In his media release, Mr Stokes said: "The Everlasting Swamp and the adjacent Imersons Swamp form one of the largest coastal floodplain wetlands remaining in NSW and an intact ecosystem of this size is extremely rare and globally significant."
“With the support of the local community, the National Parks and Wildlife Service plans to restore the wetland to a more natural hydrological cycle and functioning wetland which will alleviate the acid flush risk and support a more sustainable fishing industry for the Clarence River."
Clarence Valley ecologist Dr Greg Clancy who has been visiting these wetlands since the late 1970s is delighted that the Everlasting Swamp has become a national Park. He said this wetland is very important for brolgas. "We've had up to 100 brolgas in that area and that's very rare in NSW. And there's a whole range of other waterbirds like whiskered terns, which come in their hundreds, and glossy ibis. The abundance and diversity is just incredible."
Because many wetlands in the Clarence have been drained, the Everlasting Swamp has become increasingly important as a habitat for birds. But Dr Clancy notes it is not pristine. Parts of the swamp have been invaded by feral pigs, weirs have been built to prevent salt water flowing in and cattle have turned some areas into temporary dustbowls. "It's going to be an interesting management challenge," said Dr Clancy.
"Now that it's a national park, I would certainly be keen to take tourists or birdwatchers into the area."