A Convenor's note from NthNSW
All the talk in BirdLife Northern NSW (BLNNSW) at the moment is about Travelling Stock Reserves (TSRs) and Key Biodiversity Areas (KBAs). I have mentioned KBAs before. They are our biological 'Jewels in the Crown', and most started life as Important Bird Areas, so birds are often at the heart of their special values. BLNNSW pioneered the first workshop (in Urunga in February) this year to give training to volunteers involved with reporting on, and surveying in, the KBAs of our area. There are more than a dozen in northern NSW. This has led to a second workshop being organised along the same lines for southern NSW, to be held at Jervis Bay in August.
This pioneering work, coordinated by Dr Golo Maurer of BirdLife Australia and volunteer organiser Dr Elisabeth Karplus, has received compliments from the global parent - BirdLife International. Australia, and especially NSW, is showing the way for the rest of the world apparently. And some of you may have taken part in the Birdata training day recently coordinated by our Northern Rivers sub-branch. Thanks to Linda Brannian for that initiative.
In the case of TSRs, which are managed by Local Land Services, the state government last year sought input for a future 'Framework' under which they would operate. It was realised that their role in serving the pastoral industry was being overtaken in some places by their part in providing recreational facilities and protecting biodiversity, among other functions. BLNNSW, and other groups concerned with conservation issues, made submissions to LLS emphasising the important role of some TSRs in protecting biodiversity.
This has evolved into the second stage of the process, where we are being invited to make submissions regarding the future management of individual TSRs. It is encouraging to think that this will lead to more informed management for wildlife conservation, rather than these lands being sold off to the highest bidder. Some TSRs in the New England region, for example, are known to host endangered species such as breeding Regent Honeyeaters and overwintering Swift Parrots, as well as a whole suite of threatened species of New England Box Grassy Woodlands.
Finally, it is time to think about the next Campout. This spring we are going further away from the coast to look for birds of the semi-arid zone. So check out the details and sign up for Lightning Ridge. I am assured that it will not rain this time!
BirdLife Northern New South Wales
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Image: TSR grazing by Dean Ingwersen, Threatened Bird Program Manager and Regent Honeyeater recovery coordinator