$1million Grant to Protect Frogs, Fish, Flora and Fresh Flowing Water

 Member for Bathurst Paul Toole has welcomed a grant of $1 million to five groups to help protect seven threatened species that rely on environments along riverbanks in the central and south-west slopes region of NSW. Two of the 11 sites the project will take place are on the Abercrombie River and Sewells Creek. The program will prioritise protecting the Booroolong Frog, the Yellow-spotted Frog and the Tumut Grevillea plant. These species are listed as endangered under the Threatened Species Conservation Act. The Spotted Tree Frog, the Macquarie Perch, the Southern Pygmy Perch and the Murray Crayfish, which are all threatened species, also will benefit because the program will improve the quality of the localised environment. Mr Toole said the project would focus on streams flowing through the agricultural landscape on private land rather than through natural forested areas. “Activities implemented to protect the target species within the riverbank areas, such as weed control and fencing off stream banks to restrict livestock access, will not only have direct benefits to the defined threatened species but it also will improve the quality of the localised environment,” he said. Central Tablelands Local Land Services will receive a total of $390,000 and lead the project. Funding will improve and protect critical riparian habitat, monitor the targeted species and engage with their respective communities about the program.   The Office of Environment and Heritage also will receive a total of $30,000 to provide expert advice, monitor the target species and help with community engagement. The Department of Primary Industries will have a similar role. The Taronga Conservation Society also will run a Yellow Spotted Bell Frog captive breeding program. The grant is part of the Saving Our Species Partnership Grants program, which is funded by the NSW Environmental Trust. Environment Minister Mark Speakman said the project would prioritise reducing the threat of weed infestation, erosion and the prevalence of the Amphibian Chytrid Fungus, which attacks the skin of frogs and makes it difficult for them to breathe. “About 170 kilometres of stream on private land in agriculture settings at 11 different sites will be managed and improved as part of this project,” Mr Speakman said. This is in addition to the Office of Environment and Heritage’s flagship $100 million Saving Our Species program over the next five years. The grants program will help the Saving our Species program achieve its objective of maximising the number of threatened species that can be secured in the wild in NSW for 100 years. For more information visit: environment.nsw.gov.au/savingourspecies/about.htm.