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    Thunderbolt Project Launches New Habitat Connections

    Speckled Warbler Ian Colley320

    A grant to the value of $100,000 has been awarded so that landholders in the Uralla district can restore habitat connectivity for threatened fauna and flora.

    Image: A Speckled Warbler courtesy of Ian Colley.

    Southern New England Landcare Executive Officer, Karen Zirkler said, "We are very pleased to have been awarded the grant by the NSW Environmental Trust, because it enables our members to continue important work they've been undertaking in our recent 'Closing The Gap' project."

    The project entitled "Re-connecting Thunderbolt Country for threatened New England woodland and wetland biodiversity" will occur in Thunderbolt Country around Uralla, Kentucky and Salisbury Plains on southern New England Tableland.

    "Studies indicate that a lack of viable habitat and poor condition of existing vegetation is jeopardising the survival and impeding movement of 19 key threatened fauna and 7 key threatened plant species in our region," said Karen.

    Landholders involved in this project will contribute to 36 ha of new habitat with 12,000 native trees, shrubs and groundcovers. At least 18 ha of remnant native woodland and wetland will also be protected.

    "A big part of the project will be monitoring to build our knowledge, and education to help improve the community's capacity to better manage threats to these sorts of habitats," said Karen.

    "To this end, we will involve ornithologist Dr Andrew Huggett from Insight Ecology in the project, who will conduct four bird surveys over two years so that we can see how well we are doing," she said.

    "We will also be running two community field days in Spring or early Summer 2020 and 2021 to share the results of the survey work and skill folks up in their bird and habitat knowledge," she said.

    Twelve local landholders expressed an interest in the project in December 2018, during the application process. Those landholders are now being contacted by Landcare Coordinator Struan Ferguson, to confirm their interest. However there may still be scope for including other interested landholders in the project.

    Expressions of Interest Welcome

    If you are a landholder in 'Thunderbolt' country east and south east of Uralla in the Salisbury Plains, or Kentucky areas, and you would like to express an interest, please contact Struan Ferguson at mail@snelandcare.org.au or by phoning 6772 9123 and leaving a message by 30 April 2020.

    The project is funded by the NSW Environmental Trust under their Restoration and Rehabilitation grants. It will run from early 2020 to mid 2023.

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