Waratah Project Update

There has been a lot of activity kicking off behind the scenes of the Waratah Project with Local Land Services actively managing parcels of high biodiversity land acquired by NSW Government from China Shenhua Energy Company Limited earlier this year. The three sites at Breeza, Barraba and Tambar Springs, covering over 6000 hectares, are being managed for long-term protection and enhancement of native biodiversity, ensuring cultural assets are protected.

After property boundaries were finalised and sales transfers completed in late April, a fencing tender was released to market to complete fencing on parcels of land with almost 50km of new boundaries identified on Breeza and Tambar Springs sites. Assessment of tenders will take place in early June, with plans those successful applicants will be on site from July to start the boundary fencing.

If an effort to protect cultural assets the project team commenced consultation and is engaging with local Aboriginal groups, with numerous cultural heritage walkovers completed where activities such as fencing, and access tracks are to be undertaken. Community consultation with Aboriginal groups in the management of cultural sites and on-country activities is ongoing.

The project team has engaged several weed and pest control contractors. There has been significant investment in weed control of African olive, African boxthorn, Prickly pear and tree pear, with over 500ha of weeds treated to date. Toxic weeds identified such as Mother of millions will also be targeted in ongoing treatment. Other Planning is underway to carry out an aerial pest control program across the sites in mid-June.

78 Ha of Revegetation is planned across the Breeza site in the coming 12 months, the establishment of a vegetation will create a corridor to connect Long Mountain to Breeza State Forest. This corridor will improve koala habitat and connectivity across the landscape, as well as providing direct habitat connectivity to over 5900 ha remnant vegetation.

These activities will contribute to the protection and enhancement of several known Critically Endangered and Endangered Ecological Communities, including White box-Yellow box-Blakely’s Red Gum Grassy Woodland, Semi-Evergreen Vine Thicket, Grey box grassy woodland and Poplar box grassy woodland. Several known threatened fauna species and over a dozen threatened flora species will also be protected.

For more information or to get in contact with the project team contact Caleb Doyle, Project Coordinator on 0428 641 858 or via e-mail caleb.doyle@lls.nsw.gov.au, OR Wally Hammond, Community Engagement Officer on 0419611715 or via e-mail wally.hammond@lls.nsw.gov.au.

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