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Wednesday, 30 October 2019 16:26

Gunning District Landcare – Winner of NSW Fish Habitat Award!!!

Gunning District Landcare was announced the winner of the 2019 BCF ‘Give Back to Fish Habitat Award’ at the NSW Landcare and Local Land Services Conference in Broken Hill on 23rd October. Sonya Duus and Gillian Malcolm were at the event to receive the award on behalf of the group.

Gunning District Landcare received the award in recognition of its significant and on-going work to care for the endangered Southern Pygmy Perch in the Gunning region. In 2017, Gunning District Landcare commissioned Associate Professor Mark Lintermans (who originally found the species in the Gunning district in 2002) and Mr Luke Pearce from NSW Fisheries, to develop a Local Action Plan for Southern Pygmy Perch. The Action Plan lays out recommended actions to conserve the species and guides the Landcare group’s activities.  

Janet Heffernan has been a particularly active advocate for Southern Pygmy Perch within Gunning District Landcare. She has been the driving force behind activities such as teaching landholders how to establish aquatic plants in farm dams, as part of the refuge dam project for the endangered fish.

Associate Professor Mark Lintermans recently commented that he would like to see other Landcare groups following in the footsteps of the Gunning group, saying “This is a tough time for native fish that live in small streams. The on-going drought really hits them hard, as waterways dry up. Terrestrial environments obviously need attention, but these aquatic species are too often completely overlooked. They desperately need our help.”

Gunning District Landcare is now actively looking for funds to train local community members to monitor the species in local waterways, and to send some Southern Pygmy Perch to a special breeding facility to help build up their numbers.

Gunning District Landcare is deeply grateful to Ruth Aveyard from Upper Lachlan Landcare who nominated the group for the award.