Habitat loss and degradation have been identified as among
the most significant factors causing the decline of native bird and animal
numbers in North East Victoria.
Species including the Regent Honeyeater and the Swift Parrot
have seen populations fall to critically endangered levels. It is estimated
that fewer than 400 Regent Honeyeaters exist in the wild, and approximately
2000 Swift Parrots.
A new five-year program ‘Bush for Birds’, funded by the
Australian Government’s National Landcare Program, plans to reverse the decline
of these endangered species.
A collaboration between North East Catchment Management
Authority and conservation organisation Trust for Nature, the program is
designed to increase and enhance habitat for the region’s most endangered
birds, with a particular focus on private land.
Will Ford, Trust for Nature’s North East Regional Manager
said, “Preserving large old trees, managing weeds, controlling pest animals and
revegetation are all important activities for maintaining a healthy ecosystem.
This is where private landholders can play a vital role - in improving the
habitat values on their land.”
Mr Ford advised that an Expression of Interest for
landholders to participate in the program will open soon, and funding will be
available for a range of habitat restoration, protection, and management
activities including fencing, revegetation, weed control and ecological
“We are encouraging landholders within the birds’ range to
get involved with this project and help to provide the habitat these birds need
to bring them back from the brink”, said Mr Ford.
The ‘Bush for Birds’ program was formally launched by Trust
for Nature CEO Victoria Marles and North East CMA Katie Warner at North East
Water’s decommissioned Barnawartha treatment plant, which was revegetated last
year to provide habitat for the Regent Honeyeater.
The day was celebrated with a community tree planting
session, seeing 500 native trees and shrubs planted to increase habitat for the
Trust for Nature is one of Australia’s oldest conservation
organisations, established by an Act of the Victorian Parliament in 1972 to
protect habitat on private land.
It is a not-for-profit organisation that relies on the
generosity of supporters to help protect Victoria’s biodiversity.
Bush for Birds is delivered in partnership with the
Department of Land, Water and Planning and Parks Victoria.
For more information on the program contact Will Ford on firstname.lastname@example.org or 0418 300 959, or Mark Cairns on email@example.com or 0418 764606.
Photos by Chris Tzaros.