AN ambitious project to rehabilitate 1000 hectares of wetland on the South Coast is preparing to get under way.
The recent announcement by Minister for Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Joel Fitzgibbon in Nowra to fund $4.7 million in projects to protect the environment resulted in $3 million going to the Southern Rivers CMA wetland project.
The project titled Realising the Potential, Connectivity and Carbon Storage in NSW Coastal Wetlands will result in the rehabilitation and restoration of 32 coastal wetlands.
Regional Landcare facilitator with Southern Rivers CMA agricultural extension Peter Pigott has been involved with the submission for the funds.
He is now looking forward to seeing the project reach a point where boots will be on the ground.
“The project will be hosted by Southern Rivers CMA agricultural extension in partnership with conservation volunteers and the Wetland Care Australia,” he said.
“We will be looking at supporting property owners and community groups with weed control, fencing to keep livestock out of wetland areas, revegetation of native plants in wetlands and creating an opportunity for people with a dam on their property who are looking at getting something different than just water storage out of it.
“Wetlands include estuary environments, saltmarsh, and freshwater swamps and swamp forests.
“These areas offer a host of ecological functions.”
One of the partners involved in the project is Conservation Volunteers Australia.
Conservation Volunteers Australia regional manager Renae Riviere was involved in a similar project previously.
This time around it will be under the banner The South East Wetland Carers Program.
“In the late 2000s we ran the Wetland Carers Network,” she said.
“It was a great network of people all caring for wetlands. It involved community members, Landcare and Bushcare groups and private property owners, we all shared ideas and experiences in managing wetlands across the region.
“It was very popular and provided an opportunity for people involved in looking after wetlands to receive training.
“We will also be looking to involve local schools in the project.”