A TWO-DECADE campaign to restore Armidale's Dumaresq Creeklands is about to move into its most ambitious phase yet.
Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall announced on Thursday a $290,030 State Government grant to regenerate a 450 metre long section of creeklands off Douglas Street.
Southern New England Landcare has been granted the funding, on behalf of Armidale Urban Rivercare Group (AURG), through Round 4 of the Stronger Country Communities Fund.
Mr Marshall said over the next two years AURG would mobilise its army of volunteers and rehabilitate a highly weed infested section of Dumaresq Creek.
"Today is the day the Armidale creeklands starts to make its transition from weedy wasteland to vibrant thriving wildlife wetland," Mr Marshall said.
"Using this grant AURG will partner with the University of New England's (UNE) Aquatic Ecology and Restoration Research Group to design the layout of a functioning wetland.
"Volunteers and contractors will then work to remove the huge amount of exotic woody weeds which have choked the waterway."
The Armidale Tree Group will be responsible for selecting wetland plants, which will be planted by AURG volunteers, school kids and the public to regenerate and filter the creek water.
"Local indigenous native plants will also be planted in prominent locations throughout the wetland and along the walkway," Mr Marshall said.
"For too long this important environmental asset has been underutilised. I want to recognise AURG's Bruce Whan and his team for their passion to see the wetlands restored and people and wildlife again enjoying that part of the city."
AURG Chairman Bruce Whan believes the project will revitalise a significantly degraded section of Dumaresq Creek.
"The hard work of our volunteers has already improved Dumaresq Creek into a very popular area to visit, with hundreds of people walking and cycling along it every day," Mr Whan said.
"The section of the creek which will be worked on thanks to this funding is an eyesore and finalising this project will provide the Armidale community with an almost continual native creekland from Marsh Street to Cookes Road.
"We wish to acknowledge the cooperation and assistance we receive from Armidale Regional Council in rehabilitating the creeklands."
AURG Co-ordinator and Southern New England Landcare board member Bryan Johnson he sees the project as an opportunity to build enthusiasm in AURG and the wider Landcare network within the Armidale community.
"We currently have close to 100 members in AURG and regularly get 25 to 30 at our working bees. We are hopeful of building this number up with this exciting project," Mr Johnson said.
"The tourism sector will also be benefit, with AURG partnering with UNE's Aquatic Ecology and Restoration Research Group to install interpretation boards to explain the wetland function.
"We will also be installing picnic tables and benches to encourage more residents to visit the area and sit a while and enjoy the water and wildlife.
"On behalf of our members we thank Adam and the State Government for this generous support."
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