Bikers revved up to restore

This National Threatened Species Day, the Pensioners Express trail bike club is revved up about bush fire recovery works at the Happy Valley Swamp east of Lithgow.

Rehabilitation earth works began back in autumn, and the trail riders have been assisting Central Tablelands Local Land Services with a spring planting project to restore native vegetation on areas prone to erosion.

Swamp habitat on State Forest land on the Newnes Plateau was hit hard by last summer’s bush fires and bushfire damage was then compounded by heavy rainfall that caused erosion in burnt areas.

“The area is home to the Blue Mountains Water Skink, Giant Dragonfly and Deane’s Boronia; all threatened species that rely on the swamps for survival.” explained Huw Evans, Senior Land Services Officer with Central Tableland Local Land Services.

“National Threatened Species Day is all about raising awareness of plants and animals at risk of extinction and it’s the perfect time to highlight the significance of the work underway on the plateau.

“Protection of the Happy Valley site is also important for the local human population as the swamp sits within the Lithgow drinking water catchment, and the earthworks we’ve done on this site will reduce erosion and sediment pollution that can contaminate the water supply,” said Mr Evans.

To ensure the public has access to public land, Local Land Services has put in a stone bridge across the Happy Valley Swamp, creating a safer access route that will reduce erosion and sediment flows.

Glenn Alderton from the Pensioner Express trail bike riders’ group has praised the Central Tablelands Local Land Services project.

“We are a group of older, responsible riders who were astounded that Local Land Services was putting in a rock bridge that would benefit trail riders,” said Glenn.

“We know that the primary function of the bridge is to minimise damage to the Happy Valley Swamp, but it’s a solution that has real benefits for us as well.”

The motorbike riders are now working in active consultation with Central Tablelands Local Land Services on finding the best ways to protect the forests and swamps while also providing continued access for the public.

“We got involved when Central Tablelands Local Land Services was looking for someone who could represent the trail riders in the area, so we stepped up,” said Glenn.

As well as helping out with planting and site rehabilitation, the Pensioners Express are also helping out with spreading the word amongst the motorbike community about safe responsible use of public land to avoid damage to the many rare and special native animals and plants that live in swamps on the Newnes Plateau.

The Happy Valley Swamp project has been funded through the National Landcare Program Emergency Pest Migration and Habitat Protection Project.

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