Helmet Ridge in NSW is grassy open forest and wetland habitat that is home to the threatened Eastern Bristlebird. Environmental weeds and the resulting reduction of tall native grasses has made their survival in the area increasingly difficult.
North Coast Local Land Services and Gugin Gudduba Local Aboriginal Land Council identified an urgent need for clearing and revegetation of the area which lies across land council and private property. Several other threatened species rely on the area for food and shelter including the Koala, Brush Tailed Phascogale, Sooty Owl, Powerful Owl and Glossy Black-Cockatoo.
This project was funded through generous donations from FNPW supporters across Australia and beyond.
FNPW helped fund the project which began with the removal of weeds – lantana, crofton weed and mist flower – which were crowding out and strangling native plants and changing the composition of the habitat.
A crucial element of the project was prescribed fire management in partnership with traditional and cultural fire practices to best manage the land and conserve species habitat. Both private landowners and ALC traditional owners were very keen to work together on fire and land management and shared their knowledge and experiences at a community workshop.
The project has made huge improvements to the 20 hectares of affected land at Helmet Ridge. Weeds were significantly reduced and a comprehensive plan put in place to control further weed infestation of the area. Restoration of native plants and grasses has helped conserve Eastern Bristlebird habitat and increased food sources for other local birds and animals.
Private landowners and Gugin Gudduba LALC are committed to ongoing maintenance and conservation of their land and the animals that call it home.
The project was completed in 2015.
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The involvement of local landowners is most important as the majority of the northern population of the Eastern Bristlebird now occurs on private land. With limited time and finances available to them, the landowners must be supported in the long-term to ensure the survival of the Eastern Bristlebird in Northern NSW. Without the cooperation and assistance of the landowners, this species would be closer to extinction in the region. The landowners must have on-going support if this species is to survive in northern NSW.
This project was highly successful, well coordinated and integrated with other investment and under partnerships with the EEB Recovery Team, local landholders, ecologist and an excellent and dedicated contractor (Lantana Master). These partners wish to thank FNPW for the investment of funds that have achieved significant outcomes for Eastern Bristlebird and associated threatened species (ground mammal and avifauna) population recovery.
The removal of Lantana, Crofton Weed (and wattles in places) will greatly benefit the Eastern Bristlebird habitat which has been threatened by weed invasion and associate forest structure change. There are also many other threatened species that will benefit from the rehabilitation of this type of habitat including the endangered Hastings River Mouse, Eastern Chestnut Mouse, Common Dunnart, Brush-tailed Phascogale, Masked Owl and Powerful Owl. Follow-up and maintenance actions are to be undertaken by the landholders in subsequent years.