To coincide with Threatened Species Day today (September 7), Hunter Local Land Services is reaching out to landholders from Cessnock and Merriwa for a project that aims to restore significant woodland bird habitats on their land.
The Hunter is home to at least two key biodiversity areas that provide vital habitat for the critically-endangered regent honeyeater and other threatened woodland birds for foraging and breeding within remnant endangered ecological communities, box gum grassy woodlands and spotted gum-ironbark forests.
These key biodiversity areas are the Mudgee-Wollar (Goulburn National Park and surrounds) and the Cessnock biodiversity area.
Hunter Local Land Services is looking for landholders from the wider Cessnock area and Merriwa plateau that are interested in partnering with them to revegetate up to four hectares of their property with the local native vegetation, over the next four years.
Revegetation projects may include developing large-scale wildlife corridors and/or shelterbelts.
In the Hunter alone there are 28 woodland bird species that BirdLife Australia has listed in its conservation action plan for protection, due to significant population decline over the last 25 years.
This includes the critically-endangered regent honeyeater and swift parrot, and other vulnerable species such as grey-crowned and white-browed babblers, brown treecreeper, hooded robin and little lorikeet.
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The regent honeyeater is found only in south-east Australia and the numbers are in decline due to loss of habitat. There are only 400 of the critically endangered bird left in the wild.
"Bringing Back the Regent Honeyeater is an exciting new project under the Australian Government's National Landcare program which can assist with the recovery of regent honeyeaters and other threatened woodland birds to our region, that complements another project under this program; restoring Box Gum Grassy Woodlands in the Upper Hunter," Hunter Local Land Services Natural Resource Management Team project officer Carolyn Jenkinson said.
"Through these projects we are looking to partner with land managers in the Cessnock area and Merriwa Plateau to restore significant woodland bird habitats on their land.
"To navigate this through the drought and ensure good planning, all projects are supported by a site-specific revegetation plan and choosing appropriate species lists, our staff will work with landholders to coordinate site preparation, planting and maintenance with community and volunteers over the next one to two years, to give the plants and trees the best chance of rebuilding habitat."
Hunter Local Land Services can also provide landholders with incentives to protect and enhance remnant native vegetation through fencing, off-stream watering and weed control.
"We will also be running a series of related workshops and field days for landholders including demonstrations of revegetation techniques and woodland bird information days to build relevant skills and knowledge in our community," Ms Jenkinson said.