On December 10, Kate Smolski, CEO of the NSW Nature Conservation Council (NCC), along with Healthy Ecosystems Program Manager, Waminda Parker, visited the Clarence Valley to look over two projects in which the NCC has been involved.
As partners with the Clarence Environment Centre (CEC) in the Federally funded Upper Coldstream Biodiversity Project, they were keen to observe the progress made during the first year, including weed eradication works undertaken by contractors across some of the 44 properties signed up for the project, and results of vertebrate pest monitoring for control programs.
At their first stop, a 250ha property north of Tucabia, the visitors saw the results of weed eradication, and learned about the remarkable Eucalypt diversity on the property which included Yellow Stringybark, the northernmost known occurrence of the species. In all, 23 tree species from the Myrtaceae family (including Eucalypts and Apple Gums) have been identified there.
An internationally recognised biodiversity hotspot, the Clarence Valley LGA is known to support more than 3,210 plant species, and so far more than a quarter of those have been identified growing in the Pillar Valley area. In fact the project surveys, undertaken by CEC volunteers, have added several species to that list, including two species found on that very property. To date, those flora surveys have identified several endangered communities, 16 threatened species, and 89 species protected under the National Parks and Wildlife Act.
The visitors' second stop was the “Emu Gully” project in Pillar Valley, a CEC bush regeneration initiative under the Land for Wildlife program. Ms Smolski planted three trees to launch the “save the endangered Coastal Emu campaign”, which is hoped to get under way in the new year.
Wholly undertaken by the landowner and CEC volunteers, that project was partially funded by the NCC, specifically to assist the survival of the endangered Coastal Emu population, the aim being to re-vegetate the cleared gully using trees and shrubs known to be preferred Emu feed species, and create a corridor for those birds, and other fauna, to move safely through the landscape.
- John Edwards