The Southern Wilderness Protection Plan 2005, the Lachlan
Action Plan of the Lachlan Catchment Management Authority, Bush Heritage,
its Anchor Region and The Grassy Box Woodlands Conservation Management Network,
a 2800km Long Coastal Wildlife Corridor Development, the Oolong Challenge,
the Landcare CarbonSMART.
It is critical that the last substantial remnants of the natural environment
are protected. Wilderness today is reduced to islands of nature surrounded
by a sea of developed land. Unless we protect these remaining bushland expanses,
threatened wildlife will become extinct and catchments protecting critical
water supplies more polluted.
A strategic common direction taken in conservation issues by several agencies
and governments indicates how these issues affect NSW and the Southern NSW
region in particular. Some issues appear to work against each other and have
to be re-examined in the context and integrated with local initiatives to
succeed in preserving our heritage.
The Southern Wilderness Protection Plan 2005
Only a small part of the South East NSW area proposed for nomination in the
wilderness 2000 campaign has been declared by the NSW government and the Colong
Foundation, Total Environment Centre, National Parks Association of NSW, the
Nature Conservation Council of NSW and The Wilderness Society have appealed
the NSW Ombudsman, who found wrong conduct regarding the assessment of submission
on the southern wilderness nomination. In June 2005 the group re-lodged their
wilderness nominations in southern NSW in a joint nomination under the Wilderness
Act and nominated 313,053 hectares for assessment under the Wilderness Act,
The Lachlan Action Plan and the Lachlan Catchment Management Authority
The Lachlan Catchment Management Authority (LCMA) is adopting and implementing
a 10-year document, in the Lachlan Catchment Region of the Burrinjuck Electorate,
under the NSW Catchment Management Authority Act 2003. The Plan provides strategic
direction for natural resource management activities and investment in the
The Native Vegetation Remnants of the Upper Lachlan Region (shown in green
in one of the maps presented in Habitat/Remnants
is where efforts will be concentrated.
This map covers most of the blanc area, north of Canberra on the maps on Wilderness
Protection Plans, which show Wilderness to be protected, areas declared wilderness
and National parks/state forest. The nearest Nature reserve is Mundoonen Nature
reserve, approximately 20 km south west of Oolong. Belmont forest is approximately
35 km to the southeast and the next nearest lands managed by the department
is Hattons corner at Yass and then Burrinjuck Nature Reserve 40 km south west
of Yass. The country in the southern Tablelands between Yass and Cowra is
poorly represented in the States Conservation System. Developing a network
of wildlife corridors to link the small remnants in the Upper Lachlan Region
is the best way to fill the gap to produce a fragmented but still very valuable
The Upper Lachlan Region covers 588,114ha. It encompasses the Lachlan River
catchment above the Wyangala Dam, the Crookwell River catchment and the Abercrombie
River catchment south of the Abercrombie River below and including the Burra
Burra Creek Confluence. The Region includes the towns of Crookwell and Gunning
and the villages of Dalton, Bigga, Reid’s Flat, Grabben Gullen, Yuena, Rugby,
Binda, Breadalbane and Laggan and forms part of the Murray-Darling Basin and
7% of the Lachlan catchment.
Nineteen Landcare groups have been running projects on a Lachlan Action Plan
from 2000 to 2003, under the Upper Lachlan Catchment Coordinating Committee
(ULCCC). Landcare provided over $1 million and the strategy was to have 30%
of the Lachlan, Crookwell River and Abercrombie Headwater regions under trees
and shrubs by 2030. No map has been produced to show the positions and the
extent of the revegetated corridors since the LCMA has taken over the development
of the Lachlan Action Plan.
The State and Federal Plan - A 2800km wildlife corridor
The NSW Department of Environment and Water has formed partnerships with The
Australian Bush Heritage Fund and other agencies and community groups to establish
a 2800km wildlife corridor along almost the entire east coast of Australia.
The plan will be coordinated by the Bush Heritage Fund and will include existing
national parks, state forests and other crown land. Large tracts of land cleared
for agriculture break the corridor in several places. The hardest links to
restore are expected to be in Upper Hunter and part of Queensland and southern
NSW where there are small-scattered habitat/remnants amongst large cultivated
areas. Landholders will be encouraged to undertake Landcare works and sign
voluntary conservation agreements.
This plan, supported by State and Federal Governments led by NSW, is one of
the nation's highest environmental priorities for the year 2007 and beyond.
The NSW Minister for the Environment is to announce a first-stage funding
of $7 million worth of incentives to private landholders. Nearly two-thirds
of the state's threatened species are found along the land the corridor would
encompass. The corridor will also improve the management of the nation's most
economically significant watersheds, including the Murray and the Darling.
Once complete, the Alps to Atherton wildlife corridor will be amongst the
longest in the world and will include existing national parks, state forests,
and other crown land. It would be like a terrestrial version of the Great
Barrier Reef - only longer. However hundred if not thousands of private properties
break the corridor and these are the hardest links to restore.
Developing wildlife corridors within private properties, the model of habitat/remnants
linked by wildlife corridors - some of them crown roads - and the need for
remnants to be declared nature reserves
This is a major issue, in the type of corridor described above, when dealing
with private properties. We need to work with communities and landholders
with an education program and incentives to get support.
The Friends of Oolong have undertaken, over several years, a complete study
of a model of habitat/remnants on private land linked by crown roads. These
crown roads represent the only crown land within private properties.
The model together with an inventory of fauna and flora and a management of
collection of Grassy Box Woodlands seeds and other ecosystems is a showpiece
constructed for the benefit of the local communities and landholders and is
to be used as pilot study to gather similar information and to get assistance
in developing similar models. The Oolong model is of a high nature heritage
and conservation value and corroborates the need for it to be preserved as
a sample for further study and for education and it should also be recognised
as Nature Reserve as well as many other remnants in the region.
The Friends of Oolong promote to have all remnants of high nature heritage
and conservation value declared Nature Reserves. A buster to this promotion
was given by a panel of scientists that have called recently on the Federal
and State Governments to expand the number of Nature Reserves to protect shifting
wildlife. See ABC News (Posted Wed Aug 8, 2007) at http://abc.net.au
To view some examples of corridors and the maps showing the regional distribution
of vegetation remnants yet to be linked in southern NSW and the very low number
of Nature Reserves in our region, please browse: Habitat/Remnants
The Grassy Box Woodlands as one of Bush Heritage Anchor
The Grassy Box Woodlands ranges in an arc from the Victorian/South Australian
border throught the grassy box-woodland communities and north along the west
of the Great Dividing Range into central New South Wales.
Grassy box woodlands once dominated the wheat-sheep belt of southeastern Australia,
but are now one of the most poorly conserved ecosystems in Australia. Grassy
White Box Woodlands are listed nationally as an endangered ecological community
under the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act, 1999.
White Box, Yellow Box, Red Gum woodland is listed under the Threatened Species
Conservation Act, 1995 in New South Wales.
One of the five Anchor regions identified by Bush Heritage in which to focus
its activities to achieve its long-term vision is the Grassy Box Woodlands.
For details please visit the Bush Heritage site at http://www.bushheritage.org.au
The Grassy Box Woodlands Conservation Management Network (GBWCMN)
Scattered box trees are still common in the landscape but regeneration is
limited and the native understorey community is very rare. We are fortunate
that at Oolong owing to our management, with the removal of domestic stock
the understorey has regenerated and the community is well represented in the
The Friends of Oolong as members of the GBWCMN are committed to promote, collect
and propagate grass, shrub and tree seeds of this endemic ecosystem.
To know about this network please browse:http://www.gbwcmn.net.au/gbw_home.shtml
How Wildlife Corridors Are Reconstructed on crown roads - The Oolong Challenge
While Governments and other agencies form parnerships to develop wildlife
corridors by purchasing properties to maintain them as national parks, the
Friends of Oolong are promoting a much more economical way to achieve the
same goal on large tracts of private land cleared for agriculture, with the
assistance of local communities.
The operation is simple and doesn’t require the purchase of the land for the
corridors. A network of crown roads, about 20m wide, provides access to and
connects all parcels of land. These crown roads are in the main abandoned.
They are shown in all Shire Council parcel maps. Landholders in cooperation
with local communities select any vegetation remnants on their properties,
choosing the most suitable crown road as links and developing a Landcare ‘project’
of reforestation of such roads and maintaining them as wildlife corridors.
The NSW government is selling these roads, which are adjacent to parcels of
private owned land and landholders either do purchase them or have to pay
high rent for them. Some roads offer multiple accesses and cannot be sold
to any individual owner and this is a problem for the government.
We are making representation to the NSW Government for the sale to be stopped
since these roads are eminently suitable as wildlife corridors.
The Friends of Oolong - under the initiative to be known as The Oolong
will try to make free allocations of endemic seeds and trees
with preference to the distribution of seeds of Grassy Box Woodlands to the
relevant local communities involved in the restoration of wildlife corridors
using crown roads.
The supply of the free seeds of the Grassy Box Woodlands is a contribution
by the Friends of Oolong as members of GBWCMN in support of the reforestation
of this endemic ecosystem.
The Oolong Challenge project is under the patronage of Katrina Hodgkinson
MP Member for Burrinjuck and is partially supported and only in the preparatory
stage by the John and Joan D’Addario Foundation Inc. (USA) Trust. The organisation
is seeking a major sponsor.
For details on how the Challenge is managed please click
to go to Projects-part one
and scroll to Project
Landcare in NSW has entered the carbon-trade. It is hoping to pay farmers
an annual income for the carbon savings that their tree plantings are achieving.
Landcare CarbonSMART is a not-for-profit scheme that plans to develop a database
of tree plantings to sell to carbon dioxide emitters who want to mitigate
their pollution. The concept is being driven by landowner and corporate interests
and was launched on March 1 as Carbon SMART project.
For information and eligibility requirements, call 1800 151 105. To request
an information pack visit: http://www.carbonsmart.com.au
Ben Keogh, Project Director, Carbon SMART,
Ph: 03 9662 9977 or 0425 877 676, Fax: 03 9662 4466
A Coordination of Efforts
A new initiative proposed by the Friends of Oolong with the Oolong Challenge
is to contribute to the Lachlan Action Plan final stage and its completion
- as far as the revegetation of wildlife corridors on private land - is a
far less expensive proposition.
The Carbon SMART project is to provide the incentive for landholders to widen
the corridors by planting more trees on either side of the roads.
The Friends of Oolong have been developing and actively promoting the establishment
of wildlife corridors between the numerous small habitat/remnants in densely
private lands in the Upper Lachlan Region and with the Oolong Challenge and
Landcare CarbonSMART are now promoting and supporting the Governments Plan
on a 2800km wildlife corridor and the LCMA Action Plan.
All projects should be coordinated in the Region together with the LCMA programs
on Land Salinity, Vegetation and Water Quality Managements, since all these
initiatives follow a strategic direction and are to achieve a common goal
the preservation of our heritage.
Great efforts should be concentrated in promotion and education so that the
full participation of local communities and landholders is obtained.
Observations and Conclusions on Strategic Direction in the Upper Lachlan
The Lachlan Action Plan (LAP) provides strategic direction for natural resources
management. The development of the LAP is a requirement for the Lachlan Catchment
Management Authority (CMA), under the NSW Catchment Management Authority Act
2003. The management targets, within the LPA, concern the next three years
rolling investment strategy, which attracts funding from he Australian Government
through the National Action Plan (NAP) and natural Heritage Trust (NHT) (From
Lachlan CMA Newsletter Issue 2-winter2006).
The development of the LAP is based on priorities identified by the catchment
community. Meetings were held across the catchment to gain feedback on the
priority issues. The Lachlan CMA recognises the need to communicate and is
seeking expressions of interest from anyone in the community participating
in the program. They need people interested in protecting and enhancing our
environment by monitoring resource conditions in their own area. It is essential
that CMA is aware of the different initiative available at the same time to
avoid duplication of efforts. A coordinated approach with other organisations
with same goals would be of the benefit of the community. The Friends of Oolong
is prepared to cooperate and should be listened to. They would like to offer
all their specific resources, expertise, assistance and contribution to form
a partnership with all concerned.
They offer: a well-organised administration and experienced volunteers capable
of assisting with an education program for schools, local communities and
individuals; a well organised website to inform communities and landholder
of the benefit of conservation on private land with any incentives as they
are announced; assistance on how to set targets with the selection of remnants,
the study of airphotos and Council crown roads; how to select the suitable
corridors to be developed, the classification of the endemic ecosystem; the
collection of seeds and their propagation and their supply on the ratio of
two shrubs to one tree to produce a balanced reconstructed ecosystem.
On this later account it is to be regretted that in the past the local communities
and landholders were supplied with any type of native trees in tubes, which
had no bearing in relation to the endemic species and mostly neglecting the
Native seeds are expensive to buy when available and the Friends of Oolong
are establishing a bank of seed of endemic species to be germinated as required
to suit the local condition and supplied during the initial development period
of the projects. The Friends of Oolong are seeking a grant from a suitable
Trust so that these seeds will be supplied free. The Friends of Oolong are
there to channel any request to the pertinent authority for solution. This
would resolve the problem of communication between the several agencies to
the satisfaction of all concerned.
While the CMA is a major source of funding and Landcare is still running projects
Including the CarbonSMART, The Friends of Oolong is running its programs without
any major financial support and now the Oolong Challenge will increase dramatically
the work load of all the volunteers involved.
After consultation with the community the Catchment Management Authority (CMA)
has a Landcare‘s Community Support Officer to act as a link between the Landcare
network and the Lachlan Catchment management Authority. The officer in this
position will be assisting groups and individuals with training, education,
planning, and funding applications. The Friends of Oolong are in need of a
paid staff to deal with all the increased activities and demands outlined
above and should receive similar treatment by the CMA.
Click here to go to the top of the page