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Saving our Swift Parrots project launch

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NSW Environmental TrustOn Tuesday 9 May 2017 an enthusiastic group of over twenty people gathered at the Tarcutta RSL Club for the launch of the Saving our Swift Parrots and Threatened Woodland Species project.

This project is an innovative collaboration between the Australian National University and ten partner organisations, including three levels of government, non-government organisations (including Murrumbidgee Landcare Inc.) and community groups in the Riverina and on the Central Coast.  It is being funded by the NSW Environmental Trust to the tune of $1M over ten years.

The project’s objective is to improve the long-term viability of the nationally endangered Swift Parrot population in New South Wales, by increasing the quality and quantity of habitat available for the species, and consolidating existing and new knowledge to inform and guide future conservation management.

The first speaker was Leanna Moerkerken, Project Manager with Riverina Local Land Services.  For the Swift Parrot project, Riverina Local Land Services will be working with landowners and project partners to coordinate on-ground works, report on project achievements and monitor landscape change.

Leanna showed the geographic outline of the project across the state and also locally, and gave details of how Riverina Local Land Services will be involved in the project.

The second speaker was Dr Debbie Saunders, an ecological researcher with the Australian National University, whose expertise lies in threatened species conservation with a particular focus on the swift parrot.  Dr Saunders showed how to identify the bird, gave details of its migratory habits, and outlined its foraging habitats.  She also showed the results of investigations into the nesting habits of the bird in Tasmania, its predators, and steps that have been taken to mitigate the effects of predation.

The third speaker was Nicki Taws, Project Manager with Greening Australia in Canberra.  Her work focuses mainly on the restoration of woodlands and grasslands, and the value of revegetation as habitat for birds.  Greening Australia will be assisting the project through the propagation of thousands of trees at its Canberra nursery.

Nicki provided details of the other birds, some of which are also threatened, that rely on the woodlands favoured by the swift parrot, and showed how the project would provide much broader benefits for the flora and fauna in the project area.

The final speaker was Matt Appleby, an ecologist with Bush Heritage Australia.  The Tarcutta Reserve, 433ha of woodland/forest, was purchased by Bush Heritage Australia in 1999 for its threatened forest community and Swift Parrot habitat, and habitat plantings for the project will be carried out on the Reserve.  Matt detailed the different types of Private Land Conservation available through Bush Heritage Australia, and also detailed the works that will be undertaken on the Reserve as part of the project.

After lunch the group travelled to Mates Gully Travelling Stock Reserve to see examples of the types of trees favoured by the Swift Parrot.  While none of the parrots were spotted, a number of other species were evident, and their noisy chatter made the afternoon a very pleasant conclusion to an extremely enjoyable and informative day.

Powerpoint presentations from the launch are attached.

Mates Gully TSR

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