NSW Landcare Gateway | Landcare Groups | Bellinger Landcare Inc | River Health and the Bellingen River Snapping Turtle

Bellinger Landcare Inc

River Health and the Bellingen River Snapping Turtle

In response to a severe mortality event of the Bellinger River Snapping Turtle, Bellinger Landcare collaborated with the community to promote the importance of River Health.

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LLCI033-080

River Health and the Bellingen River Snapping Turtle

In response to a severe mortality event of the Bellinger River Snapping Turtle, Bellinger Landcare collaborated with the community to promote the importance of River Health.

The issue

In response to high level of community concern over degraded terrestrial and aquatic habitat along the Bellinger River, this project is educating riparian landholders and the general community about the value of healthy riparian vegetation. A recent rare turtle mortality event triggered an unprecedented inter-agency State Government emergency response involving NPWS, DPI, North Coast Local Land Services & Taronga Zoo.

The solution

To address habitat degradation, Bellinger Landcare is working with stakeholders including: University of Western Sydney, OEH ecologists, Bellingen Environment Centre, Bellingen Council, North Coast Local Land Services, Freshwater Habitat Action Group, Bellingen Turtle Festival and other concerned landholders. We have created a Bellinger River System Landholder Booklet (based on the successful Orara River Booklet) and workshop series on best practice river rehabilitation, facilitating and promoting active landholder and community engagement in on ground works to regenerate Lowland Subtropical Rainforest EEC. This project was funded early this year by the NSW Environmental Trust Education Grant. The beautiful turtle logo "George' featured here, is by local artist Jackson Rae. This logo was the pivotal image used to promote the Bellinger River Turtle Festival held over the long weekend in Bellingen to raise awareness of the situation. Bellinger Landcare were pleased to be part of this 3 day music, arts event, where we launched our new landholder booklet and organised for local Gumbaynggirr Language man, Michael Jarrett, to tell us how the rivers were created.

The impact

We are a long way off understanding what impact we are having to the river catchment. Awareness levels are growing in the community, about the need to protect the river and an increased understanding of the components of a healthy riparian zone, including in-stream debris and roughness as part of the natural system. To date we have over 20 landholders interested in participating in riparian zone works and envision a large program of works over many years.

 

Key facts

  • 20 landholders are currently interested in undertaking on-ground works to revegetated the river bank (Bellinger)
  • 35 participants in stakeholder meetings
  • Strong partnerships
  • Launch of landholder booklet on October 1st this year at a festival of 2000 people

Project Partners