One of the few remaining high-altitude freshwater lagoons on the Northern Tablelands is benefiting from an ongoing restoration project. Little Llangothlin Nature Reserve is a Ramsar wetland site of international importance.
Armidale's BackTrack group has been assisting with planting on the site, which is located 20kms north east of Guyra and covers an area of 260 hectares.
Protecting Little Llangothlin Lagoon for Future Generations is a five-year project that began in 2018 to evaluate the ecological condition of the Nature Reserve, with a focus on improving conditions for threatened species and ecological communities.
The project is being delivered by Glen Innes Natural Resources Advisory Committee (GLENRAC), in collaboration with Northern Tablelands Local Land Services and National Parks and Wildlife Service, through funding from the Australian Government's National Landcare Program.
The project is enhancing the Threatened Ecological Community of Eucalyptus nova-anglica (New England Peppermint) and Eucalyptus pauciflora (Snow Gums).
"A large part of the project involves increasing this habitat and we are pleased that in the first year of the project, two hectares of revegetation have been successfully planted," Anya Salmon, Senior Land Services Officer with Northern Tablelands Local Land Services, said.
Despite the project being challenged by previous years of drought, recent rain has provided the opportunity to plant further seedlings at the site.
"Our aim is to plant a further four hectares which will include 450 seedlings of mixed species.
"We are delighted that BackTrack, a not-for-profit mentoring and training organisation assisted us with planting. It has been a wonderful collaboration and BackTrack have been excellent project partners," Anya said.
The BackTrack team is provided with hands-on training which allows them to gain practical skills so they can potentially obtain further employment.
"It provides a valuable opportunity to work as a team while connecting with industry. The experience has been extremely positive and successful," said Marcus Watson, BackTrack's Business Development Manager,.
A large part of the project involves monitoring change, particularly in the vegetation in the lagoons.
Valuable research is being carried out by a team of ecologists, led by Dr Mahri Koch, GLENRAC, as well as Dr John Hunter, School of Environmental and Rural Science, University of New England.
"It was extremely uplifting to be able to successfully deliver the project when facing the challenges presented by Coronavirus, as well as the drought, the repercussions of which are still very present," Anya said.