Canberra community helps restore habitat in Lower Cotter River catchment

Over 80 enthusiastic volunteers braved the cold in early May to help our ACT team restore habitat in the Lower Cotter River catchment, an area badly damaged in the catastrophic bushfires of 2003.

Greening Australia has been working with the ACT Parks and Conservation Service and the local community since the fires to help restore native vegetation and improve water quality in the catchment.

Located west of Canberra, the scenic catchment is home to a host of threatened species including the Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo. It also serves as a critical source of water for Canberra’s residents.

Over the past decade, volunteers from the capital and surrounding regions have helped plant over 300,000 seedlings across 500 hectares of the Lower Cotter Catchment.

“These areas are now growing into diverse native forests that will provide vital habitat for native fauna, such as the playful Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoos which delighted us with their aerobatics today. Another 1,250 native trees, shrubs and grasses have been planted by our volunteers today which will make a valuable contribution,” says Ian Rayner, Senior Project Manager.

“By regreening the Lower Cotter Catchment we also help to improve water quality, increase biodiversity and increase the resilience of the catchment to future fires.”

An Eastern Bettong. Photo cc JJ Harrison, Wikipedia An Eastern Bettong. Photo cc JJ Harrison, Wikipedia

Volunteers were given a talk by local ranger Tom McElroy on the Cotter rehabilitation project and future plans for the catchment, including the reintroduction of the Eastern Bettong.

ACT Parks and Conservation service are working with researchers to reintroduce the marsupial back onto the mainland for the first time in over a century. Bettongs play an important role in ecosystem health, with their constant digging serving to aerate the soil and helping to spread native seeds.

“It was so rewarding to see the passion and eagerness of our volunteers to get their hands dirty to help this important part of the ACT and the unique species who live here. Who knows, this may even become future habitat for Eastern Bettongs,” says Ian.

“I would like to thank all of our fantastic volunteers for their hard work today, along with the ACT Parks and Conservation Service, and the Macarthur Scouts who provided us with a delicious BBQ. Without the time and effort of our volunteers, regreening the cotter would be an impossible feat.”