Planting at Lake Liddell

The clearing of land for Lake Liddell and the power station left the area barren of native vegetation, until Lake Liddell Land Manager/HRLN addressed the issue.

Planting at Lake Liddell

The clearing of land for Lake Liddell and the power station left the area barren of native vegetation, until Lake Liddell Land Manager/HRLN addressed the issue.

Capacity to Deliver -

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The issue

Lake Liddell power station was commissioned in 1971, with Lake Liddell being built to provide water for cooling and storage. As a result, the land was cleared to build the lake, with little or no vegetation remaining around the perimeter of the lake. With little vegetation in the immediate area, wildlife lacked habitat and access to a stable food supply. With nearby coal mines surrounding the lakes vicinity, the greater area is devoid of the larger swathes of naturally occurring vegetation, and of vegetation corridors. This compounded the situation around Lake Liddell. Lake Liddell Land Manager/HRLN have been dedicated to restoring the natural habitat in the Muswellbrook area to address these issues, having the foresight to see the potential of the site after the decommissioning of the power station that occurred recently in 2023.

The solution

In 2004, Lake Liddell Landcare embarked on a mission to revegetate the Lake Liddell perimeter and surrounding area. From 2004 to 2024, Lake Liddell Land Manager have planted nearly 30,000 plants, helping to restore some of the habitat that was removed with the building of the lake. As part of a trial of techniques inspired by visiting Yancoal rehabilitation at Mt. Thorley, an area was fenced off in 2021 on the northeastern corner, ensuring cattle could not damage the new plants, which were locally sourced. This area was mulched and seeded. Hunter Local Land Services provided the Land Manager with a grant allowing for 800 plants to be secured by Ekidna Tree Guards in the area above the fenced paddock.

This has provided habitat for numerous flora and fauna species but has also created a more conducive environment for the Lake Liddell Recreation Area, providing local and further afield families space to enjoy the natural environment and also water sports such as skiers and sailors (from 1970 to 2016).  The final planting occurred in recently in June 2024, with the last 120 endemic species being planted as infills, being distributed between rows, including understory and larger plants.

The impact

Local Landcare volunteers the wider community and groups including REGEN Power Plant, Newcastle Greater Mutual Group, Newcasle TAFE students, HVO, AGL, Liddell Coal, Bengalla and Conservation Volunteers Australia have all contributed to numerous plantings of the Reserve from 2004 to 2024, which has created a stable environment of understory and larger trees in the vicinity. Nearly 30,000 trees have been planted over 20 years creating habitat for bird and wildlife species in the area, and has created a much needed vegetation corridor amongst the greater mining landscape. These plantings have also created a different atmosphere and dynamic for visitors, creating a family friendly venue for campers and with the potential for water sports in the future.

Key facts

  • An increase in mines and expansion over the decades in the Hunter Valley has led to reduced habitat for flora and fauna species.
  • Along with hundreds of volunteers over 20 years, Lake Liddell Land Manager has planted nearly 30,000 trees around the Reserve at Lake Liddell.
  • This project had been supported by Lake Liddell Land Manager and Hunter Region Landcare Network with donations from, AGL, Hunter Valley Operations, Liddell Coal, Bengalla Mine, Hunter LLS, Muswellbrook Shire Council and work from Cumberland Plain Seeds, Australian Native Landscapes, Vision Excavation, N&H Hire and Domestic Maintenance and Fencing Services.