A $1.9m grant will provide continued support to the Goolwa to Wellington Local Action Planning (GWLAP) group’s Community Revegetation Program for the Lower Lakes region in 2014-15.
The revegetation program is part of the Coorong Murray Mouth and Lower Lakes (CMMLL) Recovery Project, part of the South Australian Government’s Murray Futures program which is funded by the Australian Government.
“The grant will enable the GWLAP to carry out a range of activities including propagation, planting, community engagement, site maintenance, training and monitoring,” said Senator Simon Birmingham, Parliamentary Secretary for the Environment.
“The GWLAP has been involved in the Community Revegetation Program since 2010, as part of a large-scale planting program following the recent drought, which had a significant impact on the Lower Lakes region,” Senator Birmingham said.
“The partnership with GWLAP is highly valuable as it has enabled the local community to be involved in protecting and restoring biodiversity in the Lower Lakes region which is a Ramsar Wetland of international significance.
The Australian Government is providing $123 million under the CMMLL Project, which supports on-ground actions to restore habitat, improve water quality, reintroduce native fish and construct fish ways to allow them to move more freely between the lakes and the Murray Mouth Estuary.
“The Australian Government is committed to working with South Australia on restoring the Coorong, Lower Lakes and Murray Mouth to a healthy and resilient wetland of international importance,” Senator Birmingham said.
Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation, Ian Hunter said the funding will help continue these vital efforts.
“Through the 2014-15 program, local community nurseries will be engaged to grow 230,000 plants – including local native trees, shrubs, ground covers, sedges and grasses – these are important habitat for local fauna,” Minister Hunter said.
“Community groups will be involved in the planting in up to 54 carefully selected sites around the Lower Lakes. This will be complemented by community pest management activities to protect about 100 community revegetation sites that have been planted since 2010.
“In addition the grant will support training for members of the community and landholders involved in the revegetation program, to enable them to develop expertise in propagating, rabbit and weed control, and monitoring of native plant sites.”
“By the end of this financial year the GWLAP and volunteers will have planted more than 1.2 million local native plants at selected sites to enhance the ecological character of the Coorong and Lower Lakes,” Minister Hunter said.
The 2014-15 grant for the GWLAP coincides with the release of two further years of funding of up to $638,000 to the Milang and Districts Community Association for the operation of the Lakes Hubs in Milang and Meningie to June 2016.
“The Lakes Hubs have played an integral role since 2008 in bringing together the various communities of the CLLMM region and engaging them in DEWNR’s environmental activities,” Minister Hunter said.
“Continued funding of the Lakes Hubs will assist continued community engagement and involvement and coordination of the Community Nurseries Network, which spans six nurseries.”
“They will also plan for the end of funding under the CLLMM Recovery Project, to assist the community to be in the best position possible to continue these important social enterprise initiatives and protection of the Ramsar wetland,” Senator Birmingham said.
The Community Revegetation Program and the Lakes Hubs are part of the CLLMM Recovery Project, funded by the Australian Government and South Australia’s Murray Futures program.