An Inverell-based Landcare project has seen 40,000 seedlings planted in the Macintyre River catchment area as part of a recently completed six-year initiative.
“It’s one of the largest projects we’ve undertaken,” Gwymac Landcare Coordinator Anya Salmon said.
Strong landholder support meant 45 properties participated in the ‘Connecting vegetation and ecological communities in the Macintyre Catchment’ initiative, enabling 73 planting sites and requiring the construction of 41 kilometres of protective fencing.
Mixed species of seeds were used from local sources and planted across a region stretching from Ashford in the north to Elsmore in the south east.
“Our focus was to increase the extent of native vegetation that will increase habitat as well as provide shelterbelts for livestock,” Ms Salmon said.
The work started in 2013 and went on to encounter a range of extreme climate conditions from drought in its first year to heavy rains in 2016.
Eight field days and workshops were held to give landholders best practice information on ground preparation, pre-planting and post-planting care, the need for biodiversity, critical threats to native vegetation and vertebrate pest management.
More than 20 mobile pig traps were distributed to help control vertebrate pests with landholders engaged in a monitoring program as part of the project activities along with coordinated group control programs targeting pigs and foxes.
“Interest and participation from landholders was much higher than expected and some of the results have been outstanding,” Ms Salmon said adding that some of the re-vegetated sites can be identified by signs including those along the Ashford, Stannifer, Dintonvale, Havilah Park, Wiltshire and Kings Plains roads.
“Gwymac would like to thank all those people who helped to successfully deliver this project. Particularly those landholders who were willing to take valuable land out of agricultural production and invest it in a long term commitment to agriculture and the environment,” she said.