Shoalhaven orchids to recover from brink of extinction

The future of the last remaining Pretty Beard Orchids and nine other Shoalhaven plants on the brink of extinction is looking brighter thanks to a $650,000 grant from the NSW Government’s Environmental Trust and Saving our Species partnership program.

Pretty beard orchid (Calochilus puchellus)

There are only 28 of the green and maroon-flowering Pretty Beard Orchid plants left in the wild and all are in the Shoalhaven region of NSW.

Environment Minister Mark Speakman said that if these plants are not protected now, ours might be the last generation of Australians to see this species bloom. 

'Work to protect threatened species is not a quick fix; saving species from extinction is a long-term, enduring commitment made by the NSW Government and its partners,' Mr Speakman said. 

This grant supports the Office of Environment and Heritage which is working with partner organisations including Shoalhaven Council, the National Parks and Wildlife Service, the Australian Orchid Council, the Australian Plant Society, Wollongong and Mount Annan Botanic Gardens and Bomaderry Creek Landcare. 

Gareth Ward, Member for Kiama and Parliamentary Secretary for the Illawarra and South Coast, said that this $650,000 grant will mean that the future of a number of Shoalhaven plants looks a little brighter. 

'It is very important that we continue this type of conservation work to preserve these special orchids and allow them to thrive for future generations to enjoy. 

'Protecting our natural environment including our threatened orchids requires an ongoing and collaborative partnership between the NSW Government, Councils and our local community,” Mr Ward concluded. 

'Species targeted under this partnership are the Pretty Beard Orchid, Thick-lip Spider Orchid, Jervis Bay Leek Orchid, Bauer's Midge Orchid, the Bomaderry Zieria and five other threatened plant species found in the Shoalhaven. 

'OEH’s threatened species officers are leading this partnership, carrying out practical, on-ground works to secure the survival of these rare plants. 

'Work has already begun on surveying, collecting seed and type specimens and identifying areas for fencing to prevent damage to the plants. 

'The grant will also help the partnership team undertake additional weed control and ecological burning that will reduce competition and allow more space and light for the orchids to thrive. 

'This particular project has a life of at least ten years and the NSW Government’s grant is supplemented with further cash and in-kind support from partners,” Mr Speakman said. 

Media: Lance Northey |Minister Speakman| 0437 506 637