Boost for Ecology Reserve revegetation and Sandy Creek Reserve Landcare work

May 11, 1999 Tumut and Adelong Times

Great Southern Energy has provided a financial boost for two tree planting schemes in Tumut. The company has handed over $30,000 to the Gilmore and Bombowlee - Goobarragandra Landcare Groups.

Environmental coordinator, Andrew Donaldson, said: "Great Southern Energy's objective is to preserve and, if possible, enhance the environment for future generations.

"To manage this, we have assessed our activities which have an impact on the environment.

"One of the highest was the impact of overhead lines on trees. "Trees and electricity do not mix and Great Southern Energy needs to keep trees clear from its lines to prevent bushfires and blackouts."

Mr Donaldson added: "The company has implemented a number of programs to reverse this impact and one of those was contributing $30,000 to tree planting.

"We chose to fund this program through Landcare groups because they are the most cost effective and have the expertise to develop trees to maturity.

Tumut Ecology Reserve

"It is a bonus when Landcare groups work with students and help their environmental education as is the case in the Ecology Reserve project."

The Tumut Ecology Reserve - Revegetation Project is being run by the Bombowlee - Goobarragandra Landcare Group.

The Site is situated between Sydney and Broughton Streets, Tumut.

Aims of the project include providing a facility for education programs, promoting care for the environment in an outdoor facility, providing a passive recreation area and growing a wide range of native plants.

Work on the site started in 1992 but it was only last year that local schools became involved. Project benefits include this asset to the town is further improved and that children get involved and therefore learn about the environment.

Work on the site will also enhance the initial rehabilitation and revegetation work undertaken on the site, allow for new planting and propagation work, increase local flora and fauna biodiversity to encourage birds and animals to the area.

Sandy Creek Reserve

Meanwhile, the Sandy Creek Reserve is located about 8 km west of Tumut on the Snowy Mountains Highway.

Being cared for by the Gilmore Landcare Group, it is an old travelling stock area, which used to be managed by the Gundagai Rural Lands Protection Board.

The reserve fronts a badly eroded and fragile section of the creek and upstream areas have been stabilized by the group. The reserve was fully fenced and planting started in 1996.

But severe drought killed many of the plants, which led to about 300 trees and shrubs being put in last winter. The planting day involved pupils from Tumut High School and McAuley Catholic Central School.

Now the group is in talks with the protection board to exclude all travelling stock from the area to reduce erosion and halt the decline in water quality.

The site is close to the proposed Visy paper mill, which is going to require considerable planting in and around the site, about 2 km from the reserve.

That is a major benefit of tree planting on the reserve — the three hectare site will provide a visual and noise buffer from the mill and be maintained well into the future.

The site is also highly visible to traffic and, in time, will become a site of great biodiversity value to the area, being close to the Minjary and Tumut State Forests.

The continued involvement with local school students hopes to ensure the reserve is a valued area of vegetation to the community.

Mr Donaldson presented the cheques to James Hayes, representing the Gilmore Landcare Group and Colin Ludford of the Bombowlee - Goobarragandra Landcare Group.

Staff and students of Tumut High School attended the ceremony.