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'Swamped by Threats' - a 10 year project to protect threatened species

‘Swamped by Threats’ is an exciting new project for the Central Tablelands Local Lands Services funded by the New South Wales Government through its Environmental Trust Saving Our Species Partnership Grants Program.

Almost ¾ million dollars of funding has been allocated over the first six years of the project to protect threatened species of upland swamps. In addition, the partner organisations have committed to contributing more than $1.1 million over the 10 years.

The project aims to protect several threatened species of upland swamps with a focus on the Giant Dragonfly and the Blue Mountains Water Skink.

Work will occur in priority swamps in two key locations for the species, on the Newnes Plateau near Lithgow and in the Blue Mountains between Hazelbrook and Blackheath. These unique swamps provide a number of other important environmental benefits including clean and healthy waterways.

The swamps, and the species that rely on them, are fragmented and highly vulnerable to a number of threats including climate change, stormwater run-off, loss of groundwater resources, inappropriate access, feral animals and weed invasion, and inappropriate fire regimes.

The project will address these threats and improve the condition of the swamps through activities such as erosion control, stormwater management, access management, weed and pest animal control and monitoring. An improved understanding of how the species’ are tracking and the impact of these threats will also be a focus.

“The Blue Mountains Water Skink and Giant Dragonfly are swamp dependent species. If these swamps aren’t kept healthy, there is a real risk the species will decline in the future,” says Senior Land Services Officer, Huw Evans.

“Effective conservation of these species should focus on conserving habitat quality in priority swamps. Fundamental to conserving this peat swamp habitat is maintaining necessary groundwater levels”.

In ‘Swamped by Threats’ the Central Tablelands Local Lands Services will take a lead role working with project partners, stakeholders and community groups.

Project partners include the Office of Environment and Heritage, Environmental Trust, Greater Sydney Local Lands Services, Lithgow City Council, Blue Mountains City Council, Forestry Corporation, National Parks and Wildlife Service and, Lithgow and Oberon Landcare Association.  They will also consult regularly with species experts, Dr Ian Baird, Professor Rick Shine and PhD student Sarsha Gorissen.

Mr Peter Sparkes, General Manager of Central Tablelands Local Land Services said, “Being able to plan for 10 years provides a fantastic opportunity for us to make a real change for the swamps and the species that rely on them. These sorts of opportunities don’t come along very often so we are committed to making it work,”

“The project will build on some of the fantastic work that has already been done across the project area. Blue Mountains City Council have a strong ‘Swampcare’ volunteer network and have previously implemented multi-award winning 'Save our Swamps' project,” said Huw.

“We will continue to support this established network and re-invigorate the volunteer network on the Newnes Plateau in partnership with Lithgow City Council and Landcare.”

The project launch for Swamped by Threats will occur on Saturday 3rd September 2016.

For more information please contact Huw Evans at huw.evans@lls.nsw.gov.au or (02) 6350 3117.

Media enquiries: Kylie Krause | 0439608370