Preserving the bush for future generations

23rd August 2007

A new approach to the preservation of native bush was launched near the eastern Wheatbelt community of Westonia today. Conserving Regional Ecoscapes is an Avon Catchment Council project working with rural communities and landholders to identify and prioritise for investment, areas of bush requiring protection and preservation for future generations and that best represent the natural diversity of the Avon River Basin. The term Ecoscapes is defined as the mosiac of ecosystems that span the topography from one ridge in the landscape to the next. Westonia, Tampu (Beacon), Dale, Lake Bryde, Tarin Rock and Wongan Hills are the first six of 12 Ecoscapes identified and form the basis of work up to June 2008. Conserving Regional Ecoscapes is an Avon Catchment Council 2005-2008 Investment Plan project funded by the Australian and Western Australian Governments through the National Action Plan for Salinity and Water Quality and the Natural Heritage Trust programs. “The project is unique in that it has been designed to identify landscape management options for an Ecoscape in conjunction with the community, in part ensuring that the actions identified for any Ecoscape area is owned from the outset by the communities and landholders that reside within them,” ACC Chair Merrilyn Temby said. Greening Australia (WA), in partnership with the Department of Environment and Conservation, will work with the first six Ecoscape communities involved to develop Management Plans guiding activity by landholders, communities and the three spheres of government well into the future. During the planning phase for each of the six Ecoscapes, initial on-ground incentives will be offered that are already recognised as required investment, including fencing of bush remnants, biodiversity revegetation and environmental pest control measures. “These activities will start to address the threats of habitat fragmentation and isolation as well as rising groundwater tables and control of environmental pests such as foxes,” ACC CEO Peter Sullivan said. The remaining six Ecoscapes located at Kondinin, Tutanning, Welsh, Chinocup, Burracoppin and Dunn Rock will progressively be attended to in coming years given ongoing community interest and related investment commitment by the WA and Australian Governments. Further information on this and other Avon Catchment Council projects can be found at its website www.avonnrm.org.au or by calling 08 9690 2250. Media Contact: Rochelle Pyle, Marketing & Communications Manager, 9690 2250 or 0488 900 297