Hindmarsh Island Landcare group receives grant to continue planting efforts

Regeneration: Member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie recently met with HILG volunteers to see their important work in action. Photo: Supplied.
Regeneration: Member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie recently met with HILG volunteers to see their important work in action. Photo: Supplied.

The Hindmarsh Island Landcare Group (HILG) has received a $160,000 grant from the federal government to continue revegetating the newly created Lawari Conservation Park.

This follows the advocacy of Member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie, who has had ongoing involvement with the HILG who have worked diligently over many years to plant over 550,000 native plantings on the island.

Ms Sharkie said the 1100ha Lawari Conservation Park on the eastern end of the island near the Murray Mouth was gazetted by the state government three years ago, but no significant funding had been set aside for a management plan and to continue revegetation projects.

"I was approached by the Hindmarsh Island Landcare Group whose members have been planting vegetation on the state-owned site for 20 years ever since the Wyndgate Farm was purchased," Ms Sharkie said.

"They had a plan to collect locally-sourced seed and then propagate and plant 30,000 more seedlings in the park.

"It was a great project using local volunteers and the resources of the Hindmarsh Island Landcare Nursery and I was pleased to advocate the federal government directly to secure the $160,000 they needed.

"Lawari Conservation Park is an important habitat area within an area of wetlands that supports many threatened fish and waterbird species."

HILG will utilise the grant to grow and plant native plants, engage in weed control and to purchase equipment, fuel and materials.

The group is also making its own significant contribution of $90,000 of 'in-kind' support.

HILG chairperson Pauline Jowett said the grant would provide a "tremendous impetus for continuing the rehabilitation needed on such a key location at the mouth of Australia's most important river."

"This conservation park can now continue to become a target for bushwalkers and bird watchers," Ms Jowett said.

The group's project officer and renowned conservationist Richard Owen, said the park was becoming a healthier and more attractive location.

"We are so pleased that our local federal member, Rebekha Sharkie, has a similar priority to us and has been successful in lobbying for this important site," Mr Owen said.

"This conservation park has the most important mix of habitats on the island and will continue to improve in ecological quality as a direct result of this grant which will enable over 30 000 more plants to be raised and planted on Lawari."

Ms Sharkie said the park's location was also significant.

"It is part of the Coorong, Lower Lakes and Murray Mouth Ramsar wetlands site of international importance," she said.

"We know from the exposure of acidic soils during the Millennium Drought how important it is to re-establish the environment of the Lower Lakes."