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Nature in Cities

Howard Sand Plains

To restore the diverse environment of the Howard Sand Plains, we are working to create and protect its unique habitat and wildlife, and manage threats to their survival.

Key Facts

26 Species

Carnivorous Bladderwort plants protected

36

Migratory Bird Species Protected

To restore the diverse environment of the Howard Sand Plains, we are working to create and protect its unique habitat and wildlife, and manage threats to their survival.

The Howard Sand Plains Site of Conservation Significance spans 264 square kilometres within the Howard River region, approximately 30 km east of Darwin. The plains, which are composed of a deep layer of sand seasonally inundated with shallow water, create a unique environment for a host of specialised and rare plants. These include the endemic Howard River Toadlet, the endangered Typhonium Taylori herb and 26 species of small carnivorous bladderwort plants. The actual extent of the Howard Sand Plains is relatively small, present as a patchwork of habitat interlinked with other vegetation types on the Howard River floodplain.

The Challenge

Over many decades, large portions of the Howard Sand Plains have been cleared, mined for sand and gravel, disturbed by roads, or planted with exotic trees and crops. Weeds, fire, fertiliser, hydrological changes and recreational vehicles also pose a major threat. Through strategic on-ground restoration and conservation grounded in science, we are working to secure the future of this significant landscape.

The Solution

To restore the health of the Howard Sand Plains and return life to the sand landscape we are working to manage a range of threats to its survival using a variety of innovative techniques with weed control, habitat restoration and fire management being key priorities. Another core role in the project is raising awareness, seeing as when the local community is educated on the importance of the landscape they are far more engaged and assist directly in its protection.

The project is funded by the Federal Government’s Biodiversity Fund.

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