November 02, 2023

New partnership working with farmers to support wildlife and boost biodiversity in the Bega Valley

Powerful owls, sugar gliders and glossy black cockatoos are some of the animals in the Bega Valley that will benefit from the project.

Local organisations and government agencies in NSW’s Bega Valley are working with farmers to assist wildlife by regenerating and reconnecting sparse and fragmented habitats.

Bega Cheese, and the Regional Circularity Cooperative are being funded through a partnership between the Great Eastern Ranges (GER) and WIRES to boost biodiversity and connectivity in the valley.

For over 15 years, the local partners have been rolling out natural resource management projects on dairy farms as part of the Bega Cheese Environmental Management System (BEMS). In recent years the establishment of the Regional Circularity Cooperative has reinvigorated focus on biodiversity enhancement within the Bega Valley and has resulted in a new partnership with the Great Eastern Ranges to deliver Glideways, Flyways and Stepping Stones, with projects building on existing work in the region.

“We are delighted that we have connected with the Great Eastern Ranges and are able to work together with the support of WIRES to improve biodiversity and connectivity in the Bega Valley,” said Melissa Balas, On Farm Sustainability Manager, Bega Cheese and Director Regional Circularity Cooperative.

Gary Howling, CEO of Great Eastern Ranges says that the organisation has had its sights set on the Bega Valley for a while.

“The valley supports a diverse range of wildlife species and serves as an important movement pathway for animals. We are delighted to be able to turn our vision for this important landscape into reality through our partnership with WIRES and work with Bega Cheese, and other community partners on this important project,” says Gary.

The first 1,000 plants have already gone into the ground, with the aim of establishing over 12,000 new trees and shrubs to create ‘stepping stones’ of habitat across five farms in the Bega Valley.

Plantings are being carefully tailored to the needs of each site with stock grown from a local seed bank so that they support not just large animal species such as koalas, sugar gliders, spotted-tail quolls, powerful owls and grey-headed flying foxes, but also small birds and insects. Other project activities include managing the threats that suppress natural regeneration, such as weeds, and conducting wildlife surveys.

“It’s a great partnership, with GER providing funding and technical conservation management expertise through their partnership with WIRES and Bega Cheese utilising the partnership arrangements established under the BEMS program to extend the work that has already been achieved,” said Melissa.

The Bega Valley in NSW

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