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Media Release
Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Dr David Kemp

8 August 2002

Natural Heritage Trust Grants to Conserve Local Grasslands


The Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Dr David Kemp, and Parliamentary Secretary for the Environment and Heritage, Dr Sharman Stone, Federal Member for Murray, today jointly announced funding of over $470,000 from the Howard Government's Natural Heritage Trust for the protection of threatened grasslands in south eastern Australia.

The largest single grant, for $76,240, supports the conservation and management of grassy ecosystems on the Victorian Lowland Plains. The project will consolidate conservation efforts by the Trust for Nature and the Victorian Department of Natural Resources and Environment.

A $59,850 grant supports the development of the Broken Boosey Creeks Conservation Management Network to encourage land managers, state agencies and local governments to work together to protect and manage threatened vegetation communities.

Two other small grants in the Murray region will provide $4,950 for the West Boort Landcare Group, to protect species rich grasslands in two reserves, and to restore connectivity between the reserves via roadside corridors, and $2,900 for the Lake Charm Landcare Group to restore severely depleted grasslands in the area as well as threatened plant species including Hairy Goodenia (Goodenia lunata) and Bush Minuria (Minuria cunninghamii).

The grants are part of the third round of funding under the Natural Heritage Trust for the $1.5 million Grassy Ecosystem Grants for South-East Australia Program, an initiative of the Howard Government in 1999, administered by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).

"The temperate native grasslands of south eastern Australia are one of our nation's most endangered plant communities, with only one per cent of original coverage remaining," Dr Kemp said.

"A total of $471,498 has been allocated from the Natural Heritage Trust's Bushcare program in this round to fund 28 locally based projects in Victoria, New South Wales, South Australia and Tasmania. There is also one high priority grassland project from Queensland which was included in this round.

"While grasses are one of the plant families that humans rely on most, their biodiversity values are often overlooked. Grasslands perform an important function in soil health, and provide food and habitat for a number of our threatened species such the Regent Honeyeater, Eastern Barred Bandicoot, Striped Legless Lizard and the Grassland Earless Dragon," Dr Kemp said.

Dr Stone said that fifty five projects have received grants through this program, and that the twenty eight projects announced today would improve management and protection of around 4,700 hectares of grassy ecosystems through long-term management agreements, improved site planning and on-ground conservation activities, including 40 kilometres of fencing.

"A number of the grassland sites which are being rehabilitated through these Grants are located in public areas such as roadsides, old railway reserves, schools and cemeteries which will help improve community awareness of the ecological importance of these sites," Dr Stone said.

Dr Kemp said the success of the Grassy Ecosystem Grants for South-east Australia Program in improving grassland management practices and on-ground protection shows what can be achieved when governments, conservation groups such as the World Wide Fund for Nature and local communities work together.

Dr David Butcher, WWF Australia's CEO, said community response to the latest round of Grassy Ecosystem grants had been far reaching and enthusiastic.

"It is immensely exciting to see that communities recognise the valuable role of understorey species such as native grasses and wildflowers in the protection of our wildlife," Dr Butcher said.

"WWF is particularly pleased to note many projects involving local councils and regional organisations who are often managers of grassy ecosystems for other purposes. Integration of conservation into that management is a huge step toward protection of one of Australia's most endangered, fragile and beautiful ecosystems."

For more information on the successful projects funded by the Natural Heritage Trust, or to view the habitat of Australia's unique plants and animals that this funding seeks to protect, please visit the Environment Australia website at www.nht.gov.au/projects or the WWF site at www.wwf.org.au

Media contacts:
Catherine Job Dr Kemp's office (02) 6277 7640 or 0408 648 400
Simon Frost Dr Stone's office (03) 5821 5371 or 0419 495 468
Rosslyn Beeby WWF (02) 9281 5515 or 0419 520 960



Projects Funded by the Howard Government's Natural Heritage Trust, Round Three Grassy Ecosystem Grants
State Title
Funding
NSW Murray ROC Roadside Vegetation Management - Grassy Ecosystems 39 400
NSW Tarengo Leek Orchid, Captain's Flat Cemetery 251
NSW Grassy Ecosystem Regeneration Incentive Trial and Research 5000
NSW Conservation Management and Protection of Aberdeen Common Grassy Woodland 5000
NSW Bega Valley Endangered Ecological Community Joint Management Agreements 11 500
NSW Management for Conservation of Biodiversity in the Grassland Communities of the Moree Plains 25 645
  NSW Total 86 796
SA Management of Ecologically Significant Grassy Reserves Hatherleigh and Southend 3000
SA Tatiara Grassy Reserve Protection Project 5250
SA Conservation of Grassy Ecosystem Reserve in the Upper South East of SA 21 540
SA Developing Appropriate Management Methods for Willison Road Grassy Woodland 3875
SA Conservation of Grassy Ecosystems of the Mount Lofty Ranges Eastern Flanks 38 100
SA Burra Mine Site National Trust Native Grasslands Project 7942
SA Conservation of Grassy Ecosystems in the Beetaloo Catchment 25 650
SA Kanmantoo Allocasuarina Woodland & Themeda Grassland Protection 10 000
  SA Total 115 357
Tas Grassy Woodland Restoration in Launceston's Bushland Reserves 7700
Tas Evaluation of Management Practices of Native Grasslands, incorporating improved/ sustainable management of remnant Grasslands Containing Populations of Threatened Species 20 800
  Tas Total 28 500
Vic Grassy Conservers 3 76 240
Vic Bochara Station Ground 770
Vic West Boort Grassy Reserves and Roads 4950
Vic Preservation and Protection of Lake Charm Landcare Grassland Site 2900
Vic Best practice management of Wimmera Buloke Grassy Woodland Remnants 17 800
Vic Conserving Gippsland Grasslands through Community Alliance 6 266
Vic Gorgeous Groundsels and Wonderful Wrinkleworts at the Bannockburn Cemetery 3960
Vic Native Grassland Conservation of Private Property 14 500
Vic Protecting Native Grasslands within Ararat Rural City 19 609
Vic The Gippsland Plains Conservation Management Network. Adaptive Management and Training 37 200
Vic Managing the Broken-Boosey Creeks Conservation Management Network 59 850
  Vic Total 244 055
QLD * Cambooya Regional Ecosystem Reserve - grassland 7600
  QLD Total 7600
  National Total 482 298 **
* While Queensland is not usually included in the Grassy Ecosystem Grants for South-east Australia Program, this project was included in this round due to its high conservation value.
** The final amount approved by the Minister for 2001/2002 is $482 298 - $10 800 = $471 498. The $10 800 figure was returned to WWF as a result of a cancelled project from a previous financial year.
Commonwealth of Australia