LAND CARERS: Alan Steggall and Dawn Heath have made moves for their property, between Warwick and Allora, to become part of the Enrich biodiversity program.
LAND CARERS: Alan Steggall and Dawn Heath have made moves for their property, between Warwick and Allora, to become part of the Enrich biodiversity program. Marianne E Irvine

Rural property enriched by wildlife

LONG-TIME nature enthusiasts Dawn Heath and Alan Steggall are excited to join the region's newest biodiversity project Enrich.

Their 160 acre property at Deuchar, between Warwick and Allora, has been selected in the Condamine Alliance project because of its special vegetation characteristics.

The property is home to a variety of rare and important species of native plants and wildlife including koalas, glossy black cockatoos, coast banksias and slender purple donkey orchid.

Involvement in this project is fantastic because we receive practical and professional assistance to improve habitat and boost biodiversity on our land.

The couple purchased the first block in 1982 and has spent the past eight years gradually increasing the native vegetation.

They are pleased to join the Enrich project and receive practical assistance to expand on their efforts.

"A lot of historic clearing took place in this area so we have worked hard over the years to try and increase habitat and connectivity," Dawn said.

"Our property is located within a recognised wildlife corridor and has previously been recognised for its high biodiversity value," she said.

"Increasing native vegetation on our property will only enhance this value and provide much needed habitat for the native animals."

Using her professional expertise as an environmental consultant and photographer, Dawn has recorded on her property 134 bird species and 294 native flora species.

Seven of the 12 species of birds listed as indicator species on the Darling Downs are found on the Deuchar property. The Enrich project provides landholders with assistance to establish native plants, control weeds and feral animals, plan for fire management and monitor flora and fauna improvements.

Locations are selected for the project based on their special vegetation characteristics and possibility of maximum conservation gains.

Specialist teams will visit the locations to undertake revegetation, weed control, feral animal control and fire management.

Condamine Alliance manager-biodiversity Jayne Thorpe said the project was all about targeted action for maximum results.

"Native plants and wildlife in Australia continue to decline in spite of the good work that has been undertaken in the past," Mrs Thorpe said.

"Targeting areas which are likely to respond well to concentrated action is a good way to achieve some valuable biodiversity outcomes."

Planting of new native vegetation on Dawn and Alan's property is now underway to extend the existing wildlife corridor. Weeds of national significance including boxthorn and tree pear have also been removed and the property has been surveyed for feral animals.

"Involvement in this project is fantastic because we receive practical and professional assistance to improve habitat and boost biodiversity on our land," Dawn said.

"This means we can continue the important work which we started more than eight years ago."

The project is supported through funding from the Australian Government's Clean Energy Future Biodiversity Fund.



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