Indigenous plants will form “wildlife corridors” designed to protect a range of native species and floating islands will provide safe turtle nesting sites thanks to the Federal Government’s Murray-Darling Healthy Rivers Program.

These two projects in the Nicholls electorate have been successful in attaining federal funding via the first round of the HRP, collectively receiving $88,000 to make the vision a reality.

Federal Member for Nicholls, Damian Drum, said the first round of the HRP focused on small grants of between $5000 and $50,000, with a total of $3.1 million allocated nationally.

Mr Drum said at least five hectares of “wildlife corridors” would be built on a private property at Yalca, west of Strathmerton, and connect to the Barmah National Park Ramsar site.

“I am delighted the property owner has taken the initiative to seek support to revegetate a wetland on his property and improve connectivity with the Barmah Forest,” Mr Drum said.

“Presently, the habitat for the many different species of animals, birds and reptiles found in the area is fragmented with no safe passage between each area.

“Of additional benefit, the Indigenous plants that form the corridors will not only provide cover, but food and safe breeding areas.”

Mr Drum said the turtle project – led by Turtles Australia president Graham Stockfield – would occur in Cockatoo Lagoon at Gunbower and see the construction of at least three floating islands that will be protected by a predator-proof fence.

“It is expected the islands will also provide habitat for birds and fish, while improving water quality,” Mr Drum said.

“This project, and another 72 nationally, have been funded via the first round of Healthy Rivers Program, and I encourage more farmers and landholders to get involved and apply for funding when the next round opens in the near future.”

Minister for Resources and Water, Keith Pitt, said these grants were just some of the projects being supported across the Murray-Darling Basin.

“I am pleased to announce 73 grants to fund practical, on-ground projects that improve the health of rivers and wetlands across the Basin,” Mr Pitt said.

“The first round of the program will deliver more than $3 million to communities from Goondiwindi to Strathalbyn, with successful applicants committed to buying local, thereby boosting regional economies.

“Thanks to these grants, communities can get on with the job of caring for their local environment, by replanting and fencing off riverbanks from pest species, as well as re-snagging rivers for native fish habitat and erosion control projects to improve water quality.”

The HRP forms a key part of the Federal Government’s Murray-Darling Communities Investment Package, which is putting communities at the heart of the Basin Plan.

For more information on the successful projects, visit the Department’s website.


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