Wetlands conservation important at the grassroots level

DIRTY HANDS: Volunteers Jenny Hellsing, Jane McKenzie Hollows and James Sterry plant native grasses. Photo: ALEXANDRA KING 0816akplant

DIRTY HANDS: Volunteers Jenny Hellsing, Jane McKenzie Hollows and James Sterry plant native grasses. Photo: ALEXANDRA KING 0816akplant

DESPITE the threat of rain, a small group of volunteers got their hands dirty and planted native grasses at Ploughmans wetlands on Saturday morning.

About 50 seedlings were planted during the follow-up to National Tree Day, to help filter water runoff into the wetlands and fill out spaces between existing trees.

Orange City Council community engagement officer Bill Josh said it was a good opportunity for Orange residents to look after one of the city’s natural assets. 

“I like locals to take control of their little areas, he said.

“These community days are a long-term commitment to the wetlands.

“People get around these paths and they talk to each other.

“Many live on the same street and don’t even know who their neighbours are.

“It gets people together.”

The species planted along the wetlands include river tussock, saw sedge, pin rush, tassel sedge and spiny-head mat-rush.

Mr Josh said the grasses would help make the wetlands a haven for birds, especially the Australian reed warbler.

But he said conservation efforts did not come without a price.

“Around 40 plants were stolen from along the pathway, near the new barbecue area recently,” he said.

“We’re still having a lot of trouble with dogs and cats.

“There has been a lot of native wildlife killing, especially now coming into spring, and people just don’t lock up their cats.”

Orange residents who are interested in taking part in monthly conservation days organised by Orange City Council can go to www.facebook.com/WilliamJoshConservation or call Mr Josh on 0428 386 549 for more information.

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