Saving our Species partnership grants awarded and project summaries

These grants support conservation projects developed under the Saving our Species program.

Project summaries

In the 2016 round the Environmental Trust approved 4 grants, totalling $3,717,688.

Project locations map (PDF 593KB).

Organisation Project title Amount awarded $
Australian National University Saving Our Swift Parrots and Threatened Woodland Species 1,000,000
Central Tablelands Local Land Services Swamped by threats: conserving threatened species of upland swamps 742,500
Northern Tablelands Local Land Services Turtles Forever: Securing the NSW population of Bell's Turtle 985,191
South East Local Land Services Save Our Scarlet Robin 989,997
  4 projects totalling 3,717,688

Australian National University

Saving our swift parrots and threatened woodland species

Grant $1,000,000 – consortium contribution $2,239,782

The objective of this project is to improve long-term viability of the nationally endangered swift parrot population in NSW, as well as a diversity of co-occurring threatened woodland species and endangered ecological communities. This will be achieved by identifying priority sites, empowering established community networks and land managers to implement habitat rehabilitation and restoration works at these sites, and securing their long-term management, monitoring and protection.

Project partners
  • The Australian National University
  • Office of Environment & Heritage (Riverina and Hunter-Central Coast)
  • Local Land Services (Riverina, Greater Sydney and Hunter)
  • Local Councils (Wyong Shire and Lake Macquarie City)
  • BirdLife Australia
  • Greening Australia
  • Bush Heritage Australia
  • Landcare networks (Murrumbidgee, Wyong and Lake Macquarie)
Target species
  • swift parrot (Lathamus discolour)
Main threats to the species
  • habitat loss and degradation
  • reduced food resources during drought
  • climate-change impacts on habitat
  • psittacine beak and feather disease
  • collision mortality

Central Tablelands Local Land Services

Swamped by threats: conserving threatened species of upland swamps

Grant $742,500 – consortium contribution $1,162,740

This project will align the efforts of government, researchers and the community and contribute to securing seven threatened species in the wild that rely on threatened peat swamps along the Blue Mountains and Newnes Plateau and the hydrological services the swamps provide.

Specifically, the project will:

  • maintain viable populations of two landscape-managed fauna species: the giant dragonfly (protected across a stronghold of its range) and the Blue Mountains water skink (protected across its entire range)
  • protect 3 site-managed flora species (Deane’s boronia, Epacris hamiltonii and dwarf mountain pine) by improving the quality of their habitat at Saving our Species priority sites
  • protect and improve the condition of three threatened ecological communities (Blue Mountains swamps, montane peatlands and swamps and Newnes Plateau shrub swamp).

The project draws upon a solid foundation of partners with a proven track record of working together to deliver conservation outcomes. They will provide significant in-kind contributions of additional funding, provision of expertise, technical support and by drawing on their networks of volunteers. It will continue to support and re-engage the community across the species’ entire range and involve them in project activities and by knowledge sharing.

Management actions to address threats identified in the toolboxes include: pest animal management and community education of the impact of predation by domestic pets; collaboration with stakeholders to understand and implement appropriate fire regimes; engaging community through education activities and volunteer work days; swamp re-hydration and water quality improvements through erosion control and storm water management; and weed control.

Project partners
  • Greater Sydney Local Land Services
  • Office of Environment & Heritage
  • Blue Mountains City Council
  • National Parks and Wildlife Service
  • Forestry Corporation
  • Lithgow Oberon Landcare Association
Target species
  • giant dragonfly (Petalura gigantea)
  • Blue Mountains water skink (Eulamprus leuraensis)
Main threats to the species

The greatest threat to both species and their threatened swamp habitats is habitat loss and degradation. The following threats contribute to, or exacerbate habitat loss and degradation:

  • climate change
  • stormwater run-off into swamps
  • loss of groundwater resources in swamps
  • inappropriate access
  • inappropriate fire regime and disturbance caused by fire-management activities
  • weed invasion
  • agricultural activities
  • habitat destruction by pigs
  • predation by cats, dogs, foxes and feral pigs
  • demographic and genetic threats.

Northern Tablelands Local Land Services

Turtles Forever: securing the NSW population of Bell’s turtle

Grant $985,191 – consortium contribution $1,162,740

The project aims to secure the entire population of Bell’s turtle (also known as the western saw-shelled turtle, Myuchelys bellii). This unique short-necked freshwater turtle is restricted to upland streams in the Namoi, Gwydir and Border River catchments. This project brings together a consortium of partners with expertise in land-management, turtle conservation and research, to manage, protect and monitor key sites in each of the 4 main Bell’s turtle populations in NSW.

The project seeks to secure turtle populations at these sites by providing incentive funding to land managers to protect and restore streamside habitats, to eliminate trampling and erosion caused by livestock, and to manage and suppress feral predators – foxes and pigs – especially during the turtle egg-laying season. Although the focus of the project is Bell’s Turtle, other threatened animal and fish species will also benefit from the habitat restoration and protection works and the feral predator abatement programs included in this project.

In addition, the project will involve:

  • stewardship payments to encourage and reward landholders that actively manage riparian habitat and that can demonstrate successful Bell’s turtle breeding on their properties.
  • deploying sniffer dogs to detect Bell’s turtle nests so that the eggs can be protected from foxes using exclusion cages in-situ, or incubated ex-situ before releasing the hatchling turtles.
  • design and application of a rigorous research and monitoring program to assess population health, recruitment, age-structure and threats.
  • development of biosecurity protocols and a contingency plan of response to manage any potential outbreak of disease like the one that has impacted on the related Bellinger River turtle (Myuchelys georgesi).

The outcomes of the Turtles Forever project will directly inform the development and implementation of management programs that will ensure the long-term viability Bell’s turtle populations in the wild for the next century and beyond.

Project partners
  • Northwest Local Land Services
  • NSW Office of Environment and heritage
  • NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service
  • Queensland Department of National Parks, Sport and Racing
  • Chessman Ecology
  • Northwest Ecological Services
  • RedLeaf Environmental
  • Canines for Conservation
  • University of New England
  • Northern Tablelands LLS Aboriginal Reference Advisory Group
  • NSW Department of Primary Industries
  • landholders
Target species       
  • Bell’s Turtle (Elseya bellii) (Myuchelys bellii)
Main threats to the species
  • predation on eggs by foxes and feral pigs
  • pollution and sedimentation of river habitat
  • trampling and damage to river banks and riverside vegetation by grazing stock is a common occurrence throughout the species range
  • changes to natural stream flows through removal of water for irrigation, and from the effects of droughts and flooding
  • potential transference of the viral disease that has killed large numbers of Myuchelys georgesi in the Bellinger River
  • potential competitive displacement and/or hybridisation by the Macquarie turtle (Emydura macquarii), particularly in the upper Gwydir river system following the recent incursion of a breeding population in Lake Copeton

South East Local Land Services

Save our scarlet robin

Grant $989,997 – consortium contribution $1,281,800

Across the South Eastern Highlands Bioregion a significant amount of woodland habitat is present within private land holdings. The protection and enhancement of high-quality habitat for woodland birds therefore depends on the decisions of many individual landholders.

This project will target areas of land within the South Eastern Highlands Bioregion with the aim of increasing landholder awareness of, and action towards, the protection, rehabilitation and enhancement of suitable woodland foraging and breeding habitat, actively managing these areas to reduce threats affecting the scarlet robin. The scarlet robin is a landscape-managed species listed under the Saving our Species program. It was selected as the talismanic lead species of the project because it is strikingly coloured and highly identifiable within the landscape, increasing the likelihood of landholders becoming more aware of, and connected to, this species and other woodland species.

A range of associated woodland birds including flame robin, hooded robin, diamond firetail, speckled warbler, gang-gang cockatoo, brown tree creeper and glossy black cockatoo will also be targeted for direct conservation action under the project.

The project will incorporate community education and awareness-raising initiatives, incentives for habitat protection and threat mitigation, expansion and enhancement of suitable foraging and breeding habitat and species monitoring activities within 4 discrete areas across the Southern Tablelands and the Monaro.

A critical component of project will involve harnessing collaborative effort from a range of groups including local and regional community groups and government agencies working together to secure and monitor long term positive impact.

Project partners
  • Office of Environment & Heritage
  • Australian National Botanic Gardens
  • Kosciuszko 2 Coast (K2C)
  • Molonglo Catchment Group
  • Upper Shoalhaven Landcare Council
Target species
  • scarlet robin (Petroica boodang)
  • hooded robin (Melanodry cucullata)
  • diamond firetail (Stangonopleura guttata)
  • gang-gang cockatoo (Callocephalon fimbriatum)
  • glossy black cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus lathami)
  • flame robin (Petroica phonicea)
  • speckled warbler (Chthonocola sagittata)
  • brown tree creeper (Climacteris picumnus victoriae)
Main threats to the species
  • historical habitat clearing and degradation
  • habitat modification due to over grazing
  • reduction in structural complexity of habitat
  • reduction of native groundcover
  • reduction in the size of existing remnants
  • predation by the pied currawong
  • lack of awareness of the plight of the scarlet robin and its habitat needs

In the 2015 round the Environmental Trust approved:

  • 5 grants, totalling $4,196,319, under the Saving our Species partnerships program
  • 2 grants, totalling $204,733, under the Saving our Species data-deficient species research program.

Project locations map (PDF 519KB) for the 2015 partnerships program grants. (This map does not show the locations of the data-deficient species projects.)

Organisation Project title Amount awarded $

Partnerships program

BirdLife Australia Saving the Regent Honeyeater 963,276
Central Tablelands Local Land Services Frogs, fish, flora and fresh flowing water 1,000,000
Murray Local Land Services Wild orchids: conservation and management of endangered orchids 585,322
OEH Regional Operations South Branch Partnerships protecting Shoalhaven plants 653,501
National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) Burning hotspots– Gondwana threatened species and fire 994,220
  5 projects totalling 4,196,319

Data-deficient species research program

Australian Museum Resolving data deficiency in three threatened frog species


University of Wollongong Filling the gaps:
ecological investigation of 17 data deficient plant species in NSW

2 projects, totalling


BirdLife Australia

Saving the regent honeyeater

Grant $963,276 – consortium contribution $2,275,551

The regent honeyeater inhabits the woodlands and dry forests of south-east Australia. The bird has suffered an alarming decline across its entire range over the past 30 years to the extent that it is now critically endangered. This project seeks to reverse that decline and put the regent honeyeater on a path back to being secure in the wild in NSW. Since around 90% of the population is now estimated to exist in NSW, the key recovery actions need to be undertaken here.

The project consolidates strategic partnerships already formed between BirdLife Australia (as the coordinator of the recovery program), Office of Environment and Heritage, Nature Conservation Trust of NSW, Taronga Zoo, Local Land Services and Great Eastern Ranges Initiative to provide a clear recovery direction for the species.

Key actions
  • monitoring the regent honeyeater and important areas of its habitat
  • colour-branding the birds to improve understanding of their movements across the landscape
  • securing conservation agreements on the titles of properties with vital habitat
  • implementing control methods for native pest species implicated in the rapid decline of the regent honeyeater
  • continuing the successful captive breeding and release program coordinated by Taronga Zoo

Other programs relevant to the project (such as habitat restoration in the Capertee Valley) enhance this project, resulting in a multi-layered and cross-sectional platform to ensure that regent honeyeaters are secured in the wild in NSW.

Project partners
  • Nature Conservation Trust of NSW
  • Taronga Zoo
  • Office of Environment and Heritage
  • Central Tablelands Local Land Services
  • Great Eastern Ranges Initiative
Target species
  • regent honeyeater (Anthochaera Phrygia)
Co-occurring species
  • swift parrot (Lathamus discolour)
  • hooded robin (Melanodryas cucullata)
  • brown treecreeper (Climacteris picumnus)
  • speckled warbler (Chthonicola sagittata)
  • black-chinned honeyeater (Melithreptus gularis)
  • grey-crowned babbler (Pomatostomus temporalis)
  • little lorikeet (Glossopsitta pusilla)
  • varied sittella (Daphoenositta chrysoptera)
  • square-tailed kite (Lophoictinia isura)

All are landscape-managed species.

Main threats to the species
  • ongoing loss of habitat due to rural, residential and industrial development
  • impacts from inappropriate agricultural techniques
  • competitive domination of remnant habitat by noisy miners
  • gaps in the knowledge of the species, limiting ability to make evidence-based management decisions to improve the critically low population size of the species

Central Tablelands Local Land Services

Frogs, fish, flora and fresh flowing water

Grant $1,000,000 – consortium contribution $1,996,700

This project will increase the long-term viability and security of seven threatened species that rely on riparian environments in the central and south-west slopes region of NSW. This includes two site-managed frogs (Booroolong frog and yellow-spotted bell frog), one nationally listed (Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999) partnership species (spotted tree frog), one site-managed plant (Tumut grevillea), 2 threatened fish (Macquarie perch and southern pygmy perch), and one threatened crayfish (Murray crayfish). This project will also increase the extent, connectivity, and value of an endangered ecological community (box-gum woodland) and benefit a range of threatened woodland bird species.

The key threats targeted in this project are the chytrid fungus amphibian, weed infestation (particularly blackberry and willow), and erosion due to inappropriate stock management and feral pigs.

Since most of the on-ground actions will enhance and protect riparian environments in the agricultural landscape, this project will demonstrate the capacity to combine primary production with biodiversity conservation.

The notable efficiencies associated with this project arise from the extensive baseline research, co-occurring threatened species and common threats, and the extensive community engagement that has been undertaken by Local Land Services, Office of Environment and Heritage, and Department of Primary Industries (Fisheries) over the past 15 years at the target sites.

Project partners
  • South East Local Land Services
  • Riverina Local Land Services
  • Murray Local Land Services
  • Office of Environment and Heritage
  • Department of Primary Industries (Fisheries)
  • Taronga Conservation Society
Target species
  • Booroolong frog (Litoria booroolongensis)
  • yellow-spotted bell frog (Litoria castanea)
  • Tumut grevillea (Grevillea wilkinsonii)
Co-occurring species
  • spotted tree frog (Litoria spenceri), a partnership species
Main threats to the species
  • erosion and sedimentation – causing smothering and infilling of aquatic rock crevices
  • competition and habitat modification caused by invasive weeds
  • inappropriate grazing regimes
  • site degradation by feral animals
  • infectious disease e.g. chytrid fungus affecting amphibians
  • demographic threats – may result in local extirpation

Murray Local Land Services

Wild orchids: conservation and management of endangered orchids

Grant $585,322 – consortium contribution $835,579

Orchids are perhaps the most beautiful and mysterious of all Australian native flowering plants. These jewels of the bush are an important and striking addition to local biodiversity. Australia is home to over 800 species. Numerous terrestrial (ground-dwelling) orchids are found in southern Australia, including NSW. Unfortunately, many of these orchids are considered threatened and face extinction without proper management. The Wild Orchids project will secure the long-term viability of 3 of these threatened orchid species. We will achieve this by ensuring that the number and size of these orchid populations are sufficient to ensure their survival in 100 years.

Key actions
  • expanding existing populations of all 3 orchid species and establishing new populations using innovative and recently developed propagation techniques
  • installing infrastructure at key sites to support ongoing management (e.g. fencing)
  • controlling weeds
  • identifying orchid pollinators
  • community engagement and awareness raising activities (e.g. with schools and local communities)
Project partners
  • Office of Environment and Heritage
  • Australian Network for Plant Conservation
  • Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne
  • NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service
  • Friends of Woomargama
  • Forestry Corporation of NSW
  • Crown Lands Division – NSW Trade and Investment
  • Cocketgedong Pty. Ltd.
Target species
  • sandhill spider orchid (Caladenia arenaria)
  • crimson spider orchid (Caladenia concolor)
  • Oaklands diuris (Diuris sp. Oaklands DL Jones 5380, equals D. callitrophila)
Co-occurring species
  • pine donkey orchid (Diuris tricolor), a ‘keep watch’ species
Main threats to the species
  • small population size
  • hybridisation and introgression
  • limited ecological knowledge
  • competition and degradation from native and invasive species e.g. weeds, rabbits, goats
  • inappropriate grazing regimes
  • human interference e.g. road and/or track works, recreational users
  • impacts from forestry activity
  • inappropriate fire regimes and management activities

OEH Regional Operations South Branch

Partnerships protecting Shoalhaven plants

Grant $653,501 – consortium contribution $1,483,313

The project seeks to establish and secure enduring partnerships with 12 confirmed partners (and 5 additional stakeholders) to coordinate action implementation and on-ground works for 10 site-managed flora species at 28 priority sites. In addition, a further objective is to build organisational and community capacity for collaboration and engagement in the species’ long-term conservation. Eight species are found only in the Shoalhaven Local Government Area (LGA), and 2 others are found in and beyond the Shoalhaven LGA. Actions include survey, monitoring, seed banking and re-planting, pest and weed control, securing landholder agreements, minimising development and disturbance impacts, fire planning, education/signage, and addressing site access issues.

Project partners
  • OEH South East Area Regional Operations Group
  • OEH Parks and Wildlife Group (Ulladulla, Nowra and Metro Northeast)
  • OEH Biodiversity and Wildlife Team (Nature Conservation Section)
  • Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust
  • Australian Botanic Garden (Mt Annan)
  • Australian National Botanic Gardens
  • Wollongong Botanic Gardens
  • Booderee Botanic Gardens
  • Australian Orchid Council and Australian Plant Society
  • Local Government: Shoalhaven City, Ku-ring-gai, Gosford City and Wyong Shire Councils
  • multiple private landholders
Target species
  • Bomaderry Creek Landcare
  • Bomaderry zieria (Zieria baeuerlenii)
  • Nowra heath myrtle (Triplarina nowraensis)
  • Ettrema mallee (Eucalyptus sturgissiana)
  • Pterostylis ventricose
  • Pterostylis vernalis
  • Bauer’s midge orchid (Genoplesium bauera)
  • biconvex paperbark (Melaleuca biconvexa)
  • thick-lip spider orchid (Caladenia tessellate)
  • Jervis Bay leek orchid (Prasophyllum affine)
  • pretty beard orchid (Calochilus pulchellus)
Co-occurring species
  • Albatross mallee (Eucalyptus langleyi), a site-managed species
  • Black bittern (Ixobrychus flavicollis), a landscape-managed species
Main threats to the species

The 10 target species face some or all of these threats:

  • overabundant native herbivores
  • small population size, restricted distribution
  • uncertainty of future land management practices
  • inappropriate fire regime and risk of fire and wildfire
  • road, track, motorway and rural, residential and industrial development
  • lack of knowledge of threats and distributional information
  • disturbance due to infrastructure, recreational users, changes in hydrology
  • chemical pollution and eutrophication
  • unmanaged stock grazing
  • exotic species e.g. herbaceous weeds, African lovegrass, rabbits
  • climate change and drought
  • disease e.g. myrtle rust.

National Parks and Wildlife Service

Burning hotspots: Gondwana threatened species and fire

Grant $994,220

The project area encompasses the Australian Government’s Border Ranges South Biodiversity Hotspot, identified as having the highest biodiversity and highest density of threatened species in NSW. This multi-species proposal captures key habitats of target species in 7 national parks, 3 nature reserves, two state conservation area, 5 state forests and a range of private lands. The proposal aims to provide long-term security in the wild for several species: 4 mammal, one bird, one reptile and 2 plant. All are priority site-managed populations.

The project will provide essential baseline data on presence, abundance and condition of these species and their habitat through camera monitoring and surveying. This information will address key knowledge gaps and will be used to implement fire, pest and weed management programs which will explicitly consider these species in management planning on a landscape scale across multiple land tenures during the life of the project and beyond. As a biodiversity hotspot, recovery actions, particularly appropriate fire management, will benefit more threatened species than those nominated and, importantly, will be applicable to threatened species recovery and threat management across the state.

Project partners
  • Southern Cross University
  • University of New South Wales
  • Northern Rivers Fire and Biodiversity Consortium
  • Border Ranges Alliance
  • Forestry Corporation NSW
  • Office of Environment and Heritage – North East Region
Target species
  • eastern bristlebird (Dasyornis brachypterus)
  • black-striped wallaby (Macropus dorsalis)
  • long-nosed potoroo (Potorous tridactylus)
  • three-toed snake-tooth skink (Coeranoscincus reticulatus)
  • red-legged pademelon (Thylogale stigmatica)
  • Parma wallaby (Macropus parma)
  • brush sophora (Sophora fraseri)
  • native jute (Corchorus cunninghamii)
Co-occurring species
  • rufous bettong (Aepyprymnus rufescens), a landscape-managed species
  • brush-tailed phascogale (Phascogale tapoatafa), a landscape-managed species
  • Australian masked owl (Tyto novaehollandiae), a landscape-managed species
  • yellow-bellied glider (Petaurus australis), a landscape-managed species
  • squirrel glider (Petaurus norfolcensis), a landscape-managed species
  • Hastings River mouse (Pseudomys oralis), a ‘keep watch’ species
  • Eastern chestnut mouse (Pseudomys gracilicaudatus), a site-managed species
Main threats to the species
  • inappropriate burning regimes that lead to habitat modifications
  • control or removal of wild dogs resulting in increasing competition with larger macropods and fox and cat predation
  • clearing, modification and disturbance of key habitat e.g. unmanaged livestock grazing understorey, feral pig activity, road construction
  • invasive weeds impacting habitat e.g. lantana, crofton weed and mistflower
  • limited and dispersed wild populations resulting in limited recruitment
  • lack of information on species and ecological niche

For each of the target species the key threats are often the same or related.

Australian Museum

Resolving data deficiency in three threatened frog species

Grant $104,683

The green-thighed frog (Litoria brevipalmata), peppered frog (Litoria piperata) and mountain frog (Philoria kundagungan) are species that have been allocated to the data-deficient species management stream under the NSW Saving our Species program. Research will focus on resolving taxonomic uncertainty and identifying key population sites (green-thighed frog). Research will also investigate the distribution, ecology and critical threats of the peppered tree and mountain frogs. Once completed, we hope to have generated a better understanding of each species’ management requirements and inform the development of effective management prescriptions for their long-term conservation.

Target species
  • green-thighed frog (Litoria brevipalmata), PRA 81
  • peppered tree frog (Litoria piperata), PRA 82 and 83
  • mountain frog (Philoria kundagungan), PRA 101

University of Wollongong

Filling the gaps: ecological investigation of 17 data-deficient plant species in NSW

Grant $100,050

Over a 3-year timeframe research will target 17 of the most data-deficient flora species in NSW. Priority research activities will be conducted across the state ranging from population, distribution, demographic and threat identification surveys, germination trials and experiments on fire and flood response and grazing exclusion. Data generated from completion of the priority research actions will inform the development of conservation projects for each species.

Target species
  • Flockton wattle (Acacia flocktoniae), PRA 1
  • a saltbush, Atriplex infrequens, PRA 5, 6 and 7
  • Deyeuxia appressa, PRA 27 and 28
  • Creswick applebox (Eucalyptus corticosa), PRA 42
  • Bauerlen’s gentian (Gentiana bauerlenii), PRA 61
  • Nocoleche goodenia (Goodenia nocoleche), PRA 62 and 63
  • Grevillea divaricate, PRA 64
  • Formbe peppercress (Hypsela sessifllora), PRA 71
  • lanky buttons (Lepidium pseudopapillosum), PRA 77
  • Leptorhynchus orientalis, PRA 78 and 79
  • trailing monotoca (Monotoca rotundifolia), PRA 86
  • Ozothamnus tesselatus, PRA 95 and 96
  • Bodalla pomaderris (Pomaderris Bodalla), PRA 105 and 106
  • Prostanthera discolour, PRA 117
  • elusive bush-pea (Pultenaea elus), PRA 126
  • Pultenaea sp. Olinda, PRA 127 and 128
  • yellow Swainson-pea (Swainsona pyrophila), PRA 135, 136 and 137