Murray River floodplains recognised as hotspot for wildlife
Landholders around the Murray River are permanently protecting their properties to give threatened plants and animals a home forever.
Tom Begley from Natya is one of the latest landholders in the region to negotiate a conservation covenant on his property.
“I got a letter from Trust for Nature about Regent Parrots, then a flock of about 50 of them landed in a tree next to my house! I’d never seen them before, so I thought I’d better let them know,” Tom said.
More than 1300 ha of land along the floodplains of the Murray River has been protected by conservation covenants.
Conservation covenants are voluntary agreements on a property title that enable landholders to protect nature forever, even after the land changes hands.
Eastablished in 1972, Trust for Nature is a not-for-profit organisation which was established to partner with landholders to protect land.
The Trust’s Mallee Conservation Officer, Louise Nicholas, said landholders can play such an important role in looking after the plants and animals that are in the area and making sure they are there for future generations to enjoy.
She said, “There are some amazing properties around the Murray River that have old stands of native trees and shrubs that are worth protecting.
“These old trees often have hollows that parrots will nest in. Tom’s property has great habitat and it also has Spreading Emu-bush which is a rare plant with a beautiful purple flower. We are lucky to have other important native species in this area, like Carpet Pythons, Lace Monitors and Fat-tailed Dunnarts, a very cute, pint-sized predator related to quolls and the Tasmanian Devil,.”
These species rely on land like Tom’s which act as buffers around state and national parks, creating wildlife corridors between them and connecting the landscape.
”Much of the remaining native bush on the Murray River floodplain is now considered endangered, vulnerable or rare, which is why it’s so important to look after and protect what’s left,” Louise said.
“Conservation covenants can also be placed on farms and we work with many landholders across Victoria who have protected just a part of their property that isn’t used for agriculture. What is protected really depends on their plans and how they use the property.”
Landholders don’t need to pay anything towards the costs of covenanting.
For Tom, the covenant will give him peace of mind knowing that the property’s plants and animals will be protected long after he isn’t there to look after it.
He said, “The nature and the birds and wildlife is the whole reason I moved here, I love living amongst it. I think it’s a good idea to put this covenant on, it’ll make sure that whoever lives here in the future has the same interests at heart.”