Managing Stock Reserves Is Vital

October 15, 1999 The Rural News 

Going hand in hand with Greening Australia and the Rural Lands Protection Board (RLPB), the Norman Wettenhall Foundation committee converged at the Jerilderie RLPB offices.

They then inspected travelling stock reserves (TSR) in Jerilderie. Urana. Corowa and Holbrook to see the remnant vegetation and view its management. Project officer from Greening Australia. Ian Davidson. said that TSRs often contain plants and animals now rare on farmland and arc an important community resource.

The committee comprises Dr Norman Wettenhall, his son Gib. well known environmentalist and runner John Landy. Bill Weatherly. Pat Feilman and accountant Ian Sinclair.

With backgrounds in medicine, publishing, grazing and agricultural chemicals, they share a love of nature, the environment and its preservation, forming the committee for the Norman Wettenhall Foundation. Dr Wettenhall said, "I sold a library and set up the foundation with the proceeds to help matters dealing with the natural environment in particular, birds. We had applications from all over Australia, mainly South-Eastern Australia." He believes the finance providers for such projects should go and see what is happening and who is doing the work.

The stock routes were originally designed for travelling stock moving across the country on hoof or horse but now in NSW they provide a very good centre for the natural environment. Dr Wcttenhall said. 'They become important for their biodiversity as well as for travelling stock. On properties many species have disappeared which are still found on the stock routes. "John Landy added.

An initial environmental assessment was undertaken by respected local ecologist, Rick Webster. to ascertain current environmental status of reserves.

Chairman of the Murray RLPB, Bernard Lane explained the idea of having the survey was to see how much endangered remnant vegetation remained within the board's area and its role in preserving it. "The hoard is happy to work with Greening Australia with its expertise and the Norman Wettenhall Foundation on this project."

Ian Davidson said they are now at the stage of deciding which is the best management needed to maintain the vegetation. Greening Australia. the RLPB and Rick Webster have met to look at each reserve and its management to ensure they meet the needs of both travelling stock and conservation.

"Today is very much about raising the awareness of the understanding level of people who in all sorts of ways have been involved with the project," Mr Davidson explained.

"The Murray Board has several different habitat types, mainly grasslands. Around Jerilderie there are a lot of different wildflowers and some rare and threatened plants. Then you move into areas of pine and box, also boree, which again have many threatened plants and animals dependent on them.

"There are a range of different habitats and the range is quite diverse within this board. "Some specific species are the plains wanderer which inhabits grasslands, also the bush stone curlew found mainly in the box woodlands, which used to be common but is now quite rare.