Restoring Riparian Habitat - Rejuvenating the Wingecarribee River

The restoration of the Wingecarribee River riparian zone is a major focus of the Southern Highland Landcare Network. Thanks to the work of Ian Royds and a large support team of volunteers a significant tree planting has been completed. The next challenge is to get other landholders on board so this vital work can expand along the river.

Restoring Riparian Habitat: Southern Highlands Landcare Network Leads the Way in Rejuvenating the Wingecarribee River

The Southern Highlands Landcare Network is proud to announce the completion of the planting component of the Fish Habitat Action Grant for their project "Rewilding Burradoo Riparian Zone: Restoring our River." This innovative project aimed to address critical environmental challenges, including bank stability, water quality, biodiversity, and loss of fish habitat, in the Wingecarribee River near Bowral.

According to Ian Royds, the project leader from the Southern Highlands Landcare Network, "We are thrilled to have completed the planting phase of this important project. The support from our dedicated volunteers and the Fish Habitat Action Grant has been invaluable in restoring the riparian habitat along the Wingecarribee River."

Over the past 50+ years, the water quality of the Wingecarribee River had significantly degraded due to historical water discharges into the Sydney catchment, which caused erosion of banks, increased sedimentation, and depleted macrophytes that once filtered the water. Additionally, historical and current grazing practices by farmers had prevented bank stabilisation by plants, exacerbating the issue. The Southern Highlands Landcare Network's project aimed to tackle these challenges head-on and restore the riparian habitat along large sections of the river.

In addition to the environmental restoration efforts, the project also included education initiatives for school students, volunteers, and landholders, as well as the establishment of a database of volunteers for ongoing maintenance and riparian work. This multi-faceted approach ensured that the project's impact would be sustained beyond the initial phase, creating a lasting positive impact on the health and vitality of the Wingecarribee River.

The Southern Highlands Landcare Network, with the help of over 50 dedicated volunteers who participated in the 7 planting days and site preparation days, planted approximately 1800 trees along over 2 km of riverfront. Furthermore, 1.1 km of new fencing and 1 km of repaired fencing were installed, and 2.5 km of weed management was carried out. These outcomes were a testament to the dedication and hard work of the volunteers, and their efforts continue with further maintenance required to ensure the success and longevity of the project.

Ian Royds also stated, "We are now actively seeking interest from other landholders along the Wingecarribee River who would like assistance with restoring the riparian zone on their property. Together, we can make a significant positive impact on the health of the river and its surrounding ecosystem."

This collaborative effort between the Department of Primary Industries and the Southern Highlands Landcare Network serves as a model for other conservation and habitat restoration initiatives, showcasing the power of community-led efforts in protecting and restoring our natural resources.

For media inquiries, please contact Ian Royds:

About Recreational Fishing Trust:

The Recreational Fishing Trust is a government initiative aimed at supporting and promoting sustainable recreational fishing in New South Wales, Australia. The Trust provides funding for projects that contribute to the protection and enhancement of fish habitat, fish stocking, research, education, and other initiatives that benefit recreational fishers and the aquatic environment.

About Southern Highlands Landcare Network:

The Southern Highlands Landcare Network is a community-based organisation dedicated to promoting sustainable land management and conservation in the Southern Highlands region of New South Wales, Australia and is always looking for new volunteers.   To join visit their website or Facebook Group