Saving what remains of the Macleay floodplain rainforest

One of the bush regeneration teams
One of the bush regeneration teams

LITTORAL rainforest, which once covered the fertile lower Macleay floodplain, has largely been cleared but work is underway to improve the extent of what remains.

North Coast Local Land Services is undertaking bush regeneration work at several sites between South West Rocks and Grassy Head and has engaged Working Options Inc to administer the project.

The Lower Macleay Rainforest Stepping Stone project includes the employment of 12 trainees who are undertaking their TAFE Certificate II in Conservation and Land Management. The trainees are working three days per week for the duration of this six-month project and will be supervised by two experienced bush regeneration supervisors.

The work will include undertaking weeding in some of the remnant rainforests as well as replanting areas that were once covered in this biodiverse vegetation community.

NSW TAFE Conservation and Land Management trainer and assessor, Kosta Delimihalis, will work with the teams and a teacher’s assistant will also be provided by TAFE to help the trainees with paper work.

Job Active providers Nortec, Tursa, and ETC, Aboriginal Support Services and Real Futures Ltd are also providing additional support for the trainees.

The project is being supported by the Office of Environment and Heritage, with resources including field staff and boats to transport trainees to more remote island work locations within the Macleay estuary.

“Great partnerships have been built while developing this collaborative project including Working Options Inc, NSW TAFE, Macleay Options Inc, Office of Environment and Heritage, National Parks and Wildlife Service and Regional Operations, Kempsey Local Aboriginal Land Council and Department of Industry – Lands & Water,” senior Land Services officer Max Osborne said. 

In total, this project will provide 1056-person days of on-ground bush regeneration work across the Lower Macleay on both private and public land. Works will include native plant seed collection and propagation, weed control, site preparation, tree planting, watering and maintenance weeding.

The teams will also be removing rubbish and old wire fences while out in the field working.

The trainees have all recently completed their Chemical Certification at TAFE and are expanding their botanical and cultural knowledge of local plants. Their understanding of the interrelationships between plants and animals has also been an important aspect of this work experience, furthering their appreciation of the local environment.

This project is supported by North Coast Local Land Services, through funding from the NSW Government’s Catchment Action NSW. The project will fund bush regeneration supplies including trees, tree guards and fertiliser and contribute towards transportation costs to get the trainees to the work sites.

Caroline Adams, who is one of the private land holders involved in the project, said, “it’s such a tremendously worthwhile project on so many levels and we’re very happy to be part of it.

“It’s amazing to see how much work the teams can do in one day, it’s more than my husband and I can achieve in weeks.”

If you would like more information about the project, call Max Osborne at North Coast Local Land Services on 6563-6710.