On-ground works to improve habitat for a critically endangered species

Landholders in the White Cliffs and Packsaddle area are participating in a project to help improve the habitat of one of the most critically endangered species in NSW in the Grey Range Thick-billed Grasswren (Amytornis modestus obscurior).

The project, which is coordinated by Western Local Land Services and supported by BirdLife Australia, involves a number of landholders completing on-ground works to improve the known habitat of the critically endangered Grey Range Thick-billed Grasswren which has been identified as one of 20 species at the greatest risk of extinction in the next 20 years.

The project involves two forms of on-ground works and will be carried out over a two-year period (July 2019 to June 2021):

  • Year 1: fencing to reduce total grazing pressure and improve the condition of the Grasswren habitat over 2,000 hectares, specifically, chenopod shrubs such as blackbush (Maireana pyramidata) and thorny saltbush (Rhagodia spinescens).
  • Year 2: soil erosion works over 300 hectares to improve the condition of scalded areas, aid in rehydrating the landscape and assist the regeneration of chenopod shrubs. A Western Local Land Services technical specialist is planning and will be supervising the soil erosion control works.

Landholders and Western Local Land Services staff will monitor the works carried out for 10 years to determine the success of the project.

This project will align with field assessments previously undertaken by BirdLife Australia and the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment to determine the population trends for the Grasswrens.

Senior Land Services Officer, Brian Dohnt is optimistic the works will have the desired effect and is hopeful of seeing the Grey Range Thick-billed Grasswren removed from the critically endangered list in years to come.

“I see this as a win-win situation for the Grasswrens and the landholders,” Mr Dohnt said.

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