Shoalhaven biobanking secures a conservation of wildlife haven

Environment Minister Robyn Parker today announced a major new biobank site in the Shoalhaven to help manage 66 hectares of ecologically rich bushland at the Narrawallee Inlet near Milton.

Powerful owls (Ninox strenua)

This biobanking agreement will provide on-going funds to help Shoalhaven City Council manage bushland at Garrad Reserve. This is the first such agreement reached on the South Coast.

Over the next two years, other public sites that form green corridors across the Sydney bio-region will be eligible for nearly $10 million in NSW Environment Trust biobanking agreements.

Ms Parker said Garrad Reserve had long been under threat from invasive weeds, feral animals and illegal damage.

“This biobanking agreement establishes a trust fund of about $700,000 that will provide an on-going, annual income to assist council’s environmental management,” Ms Parker said.

“Biobanking is one of the most effective tools we have outside of the park and reserve system for conserving bushland and this agreement will protect important coastal habitat in perpetuity.

“Glossy black cockatoos, Powerful owls and endangered shorebirds are among the threatened species found on Garrad Reserve, and the council will now have additional funds to manage threats to their habitat.”

These biobanking agreements are part of the Government’s election commitment to protect green corridors. The Sydney bio-region extends from Ulladulla to Nelsons Bay on the coast and extends inland to Bowral and Merriwa.

Member for South Coast Shelley Hancock welcomed the biobanking agreement.

“Sustainable landscapes that balance environmental protection with growth are important, and this reserve will now be protected without local sacrifice,” Mrs Hancock said.

Shoalhaven City Council Mayor Joanna Gash said she looked forward to managing the Garrad Reserve biobank site with support from the NSW Government.

“We are pleased that important conservation works will be funded forever,” Ms Gash said.

“The establishment of the first biobank site on the South Coast will leave a legacy and also encourage other public land managers to consider biobanking.”

This biobanking agreement was made possible with grant funding provided by the NSW Environmental Trust and the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage through the ‘Linking Landscapes through Local Action’ project.

The Linking Landscapes project is part of the NSW Government’s Green Corridors Program listed as a priority in the NSW 2021 plan.

Biobanking is an initiative which seeks to address the decline of biodiversity and threatened plants and animals by giving them an economic value through the creation of biodiversity credits.

Read more about the Green Corridors Program: http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/conservationprograms/greencorridors.htm