New conservation agreements between the NSW Government and landholders in the south-east will permanently protect 4200 hectares of priority snow gum woodlands and native grasslands.
The NSW Biodiversity Conservation Trust (BCT) invited bids from landholders interested in protecting the important habitats, prevalent across the Snowy Monaro LGA, over three tenders.
“Snow gum woodlands and grasslands mainly occur on private land, meaning landholders play a critical role in securing the future for these vegetation communities and the species they support,” Member for Monaro Steve Whan said.
“These ecosystems are recognised as critically endangered and are poorly represented in our national parks and other reserves, and the Snowy Monaro LGA is known to support high quality patches of these communities.”
The most recent of the three tender rounds has concluded, securing an additional 1421ha of conservation areas on private land, and providing important habitat for threatened species.
89 landholders expressed interest in the tender, with BCT staff inspecting 38 sites to assess vegetation and habitat condition.
Landholders Barbara and Thomas Evison were one of the families to enter into one of the new conservation agreements.
“We wanted to ensure that there would be funding for management in-perpetuity once our children or somebody else owned the property, so the conservation management could continue,” Mrs Evison said.
“The whole point of the tender money is to assist us in the management of the conservation site so no matter what else is happening, that funding is just going to keep coming so we can carry out that management.”
Protection of these sites has secured habitat for threatened species including the austral toadflax, koala, glossy black cockatoo, hooded robin and speckled warbler.
“Of course, when you protect a plant community, you protect everything in it – the animals, plants, fungi, everything,” Mrs Evison said.
“Every year we find new species that we haven’t seen before.”
Significantly, several sites also included large numbers of trees mature enough to develop hollows as nesting habitat for tree-dwelling species.
“Natural tree hollows can take decades to form and provide critical nesting habitat for threatened species,” BCT regional team leader Adam Hook said.
Mr Hook said the conservation agreements also cover an area culturally important to Ngarigo people and surrounding Nations.
Pathways that have been used for thousands of years extend through the tender area, linking freshwater people to saltwater and the beach to the mountains, he said.
BCT conservation agreements can be in-perpetuity, or for a fixed term. This tender has brought in 6 in-perpetuity agreements and 2 termed agreements.
Steve Whan, Member for Monaro 0429 780 883
Mindy Greenwood, NSW Biodiversity Conservation Trust 0472 742 414