It feels like a lifetime ago, but way back in February 2012, only a few weeks after Nature Glenelg Trust began, I received an email out of the blue that highlighted a potential site for purchase and restoration, only half an hour from Mt Gambier in the lower South East of SA.
The concept immediately looked like a great idea. After all, the site was situated next door to one of the region’s premier wetland reserves, The Marshes (a nationally recognised wetland complex), and would enable the overall conservation area to be expanded by 50%. The property contains dozens of drained wetlands with excellent restoration potential. One of these wetlands, Mt Burr Swamp, is a large, former deep freshwater marsh that forms something of a natural centrepiece for the site. Plus, fortunately for us, and unlike a lot of the South East over recent years, the drains in this area still run every year with fresh water – meaning that the ingredients for a successful restoration project are still in place…
There was just one problem. Because the property has been developed as a farm, a significant amount of funding would be required to get the purchase off the ground.
And so began a long and arduous four year journey, working behind the scenes in an attempt to find partners interested in helping us make this seemingly impossible vision a reality.
To its great credit, the Native Vegetation Council (NVC) was ‘on board’ with the concept almost from the very beginning, making a significant funding commitment back in mid-2012. Unfortunately however, the other funding sources identified at that time didn’t materialise, and the project appeared destined not to proceed. However, thanks to the incredible patience and generosity of the present owners, a sliver of hope still remained.
Then, approximately 6 months ago, after a period of productive discussions, OneFortyOne Plantations expressed an interest in becoming a major partner in the project – and since then we’ve worked hard to get this partnership in place, which along with the earlier NVC commitment, has provided the ‘critical mass’ necessary to turn the exciting vision for the property into a reality.
Today, thanks to the commitment of NGT and our partners, the site is now under contract and over 90% of the funds required for purchase have been secured.
The property is 300 hectares (or 750 acres) in size and provides us with the opportunity to restore habitat for at least 6 nationally threatened species – a list that includes mammals, birds, fish and frogs. We’ll introduce these species and their habitats to you as this campaign unfolds over the next 6 weeks.
The target. Today we are asking you, the wider community, to also become a partner in the project, as we strive towards reaching the target of $110,000 we require before settlement (the 30th September 2016), to get the project over the line.
For more detailed information about the site, please visit this project page.
Why should I help?
If you’ve ever been to Pick Swamp (on the coast next to Piccaninnie Ponds), a site that was purchased ten years ago and then restored from farmland to an internationally recognised Ramsar wetland site in 5 short years, then you’ll know what I mean when I say that restoration opportunities like this don’t come along very often.
Best of all, if you chip in we’ll make sure that you have an opportunity to come along to an on-site celebration day in October (to see for yourself what you have helped make possible) and continue to follow the restoration story over the years ahead.
For anyone in Adelaide, Melbourne or in between (in particular) – remember you are close enough to visit over a weekend – meaning you’ll be able to see and experience the restoration journey up close.
So, if you are still sitting on the fence and wondering – “why should I help?”
Firstly, you have our commitment and guarantee that 100% of your donation will go towards helping us purchase and restore the site.
And secondly, not only is your donation tax-deductible, but you can….
- call the NGT office on 08 8797 8596 and speak to Jess for further details