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Fish River project helps preserve 'Macquarie' and our natural environment

Two hundred years after surveyor George Evans walked along the Macquarie River where Bathurst was later settled, a local landholder is working with the Central Tablelands Local Land Services (LLS) to restore the river to its original state.

With funding from the Australian Government's Clean Energy Futures Biodiversity Fund, Central Tablelands LLS has supported Paul Hennessy of 'Macquarie' at O'Connell, near Bathurst. This work will restore the banks of the Macquarie River where it travels through his property.

"The Macquarie River is a wonderful piece of history and I would like to think that it is being restored to what it used to look like all those years ago," Mr Hennessy said.

"Before we started this project, the river here was inundated with willows, blackberries and other noxious weeds and it was largely inaccessible and unattractive.

"We are merely the custodians of the land and we owe it to the Australian public to preserve the historic buildings and to return the area of the river and the stream associated with the river as best we can back to the original condition."

George Evans named the Macquarie after Governor Lachlan Macquarie who instructed him to find and survey a route westward across the Blue Mountains. On 9 December 1813, Evans wrote in his diary of the area now known as Bathurst:

"..the hills around are fine indeed; it requires a clever person to describe this Country properly. I never saw anything equal to it."

Central Tablelands LLS Land Services Officer, Allan Wray said more than 33 hectares of 'Macquarie' are being enhanced and protected along a five kilometre stretch of stream that was struggling with willow infestation.

Fish River Project incentive funding has helped Mr Hennessy control stock access to riparian areas, create alternative watering points and enhance the biodiversity of vegetation.

"There is large scale impact for farmers in this catchment when we can provide support and help them look after the land, be good stewards and put something back into the land," Mr Wray said.

"We are trying to manage ecosystems for biodiversity purposes and will be planting trees, shrubs and groundcover species along waterways and creating wildlife corridors, linking the river to areas of remnant vegetation."

After developing a property vegetation plan, Paul received incentive funding to preserve and protect a five kilometre stretch of stream and manage four hectares of remnant vegetation.

The project includes 7.5km of fencing to keep stock out of the area for at least the next 10 years and planting more than 2500 native trees to encourage native wildlife back to the area and boost carbon stores.

To find out more and take a video tour of the work happening on 'Macquarie' visit http://youtu.be/dRul6ugdNjs

Media contact: Rod Campbell 6881 3430 | 0447 430 160