Member for Kiama Gareth Ward MP has applauded Shoalhaven Riverwatch and Shoalhaven Landcare’s Fox Control Program who have teamed up to safeguard native wildlife along the Shoalhaven River corridor and its islands.
Mr Ward said that this collaboration aims to protect the natural biodiversity of river corridors, which serve as crucial habitats for native animals.
“I was extremely pleased to visit the Greenwell Point nursery to inspect the 3,000 mangroves propagated by Shoalhaven Riverwatch volunteers in November.
“I commend Shoalhaven Riverwatch, the Chairman John Tate and Project Manager Peter Jirgens, for their outstanding efforts and dedication to protecting our Shoalhaven River ecosystem and for their ongoing hard work and community collaboration with other local Landcare groups to improve the local environment and help protect our native wildlife.
“Due to the amount of fresh water coming down the river, Shoalhaven Riverwatch has temporarily relocated their nursery from Nowra Golf Club to Greenwell Point, where volunteers propagated 3,000 mangroves last November.
“The mangroves are part of Riverwatch's ongoing efforts to protect the Shoalhaven River ecosystem. Over the past 30 years, Riverwatch has planted more than 100,000 mangroves, and in many areas, the mangroves now self-propagate.
“The majority of the mangroves propagated this year are intended for use in the Georges River in Sydney's south to revegetate tidal mudflats. The funds raised from the sale of these mangroves will be donated to Shoalhaven Landcare’s Fox Control Program.
“The program aims to protect wildlife habitat along the Shoalhaven River from Burrier to Shoalhaven Heads and establish wildlife refuges on the islands within the river,” Mr Ward said.
Mr Peter Jirgens, Project Manager of Riverwatch, explained how their organisation plans to use the sale of mangroves to fund their efforts to protect animals from feral predators like foxes and cats.
“River corridors are a hotspot for native biodiversity and provide vital habitat for our native animals. Feral predators such as foxes and cats also concentrate on these areas as they have a ready source of food,” Mr Jirgens said.
“This effort involves the monitoring of sensor cameras and controlling feral predators like foxes and feral cats through baiting, shooting, and trapping. This will enable native animals, including migratory shorebirds such as Little Terns and Pied Oystercatchers, to live and breed without the threat of foxes and feral cats predating on them or their young.
“We now have 80 active volunteers in the Shoalhaven Fox Control Program, and we are always looking for more people to please register their interest and get involved with Shoalhaven Riverwatch – so please jump on our website at www.shoalhavenlandcare.org.au/fox-control and have a look around.
“We appreciate our local Member Gareth Ward visiting our temporarily relocated nursery at Greenwell Point and for his ongoing and strong support for Shoalhaven Riverwatch and Shoalhaven Landcare,” Mr Jirgens said.
Mr Ward said he has long supported local Shoalhaven Riverwatch and local Landcare initiatives right across our region.
“I have recently written to both the NSW Premier and the NSW Opposition Leader, urging them to take a bipartisan approach to the NSW Landcare program and for both major parties to commit to a bipartisan $69.1 million funding commitment over the next four years.
“I am a conservationist. There are some extraordinary Landcare volunteers across our region who are very much community-minded volunteers and just get on with the job at hand and work extremely hard with often very limited resources to make our local communities even better places to be.
“I am passionate about this issue because this funding would help to ensure that critical volunteering efforts of our hardworking and dedicated Landcare volunteers across the Illawarra and South Coast region, and communities right across our State, can continue to kick goals and achieve sound conservation outcomes and stewardship for our natural environment,” Mr Ward concluded.
Shoalhaven Riverwatch will continue their efforts to enhance river habitat by planting mangroves in highly exposed areas and trees along the riverbanks. If you want to volunteer with Shoalhaven Riverwatch, please register on the website at: www.riverwatch.org.au.