NSW is getting over 166,000 hectares of additional national park to protect up to 50 threatened species in the state’s far west!
The NSW Government has announced the purchase of two properties, Avenel Station near Broken Hill and Koonaburra Station near Cobar, to add to the state’s national park estate.
This takes the total additional land added to the estate since 2019 to over half a million hectares, smashing Environment Minister Matt Kean’s pledge to secure 400,000 hectares for the NPWS by the end of 2022. Who’da thunk we’d see so much environmental protection in Australia hey?
Atticus Fleming from NSW NPWS says that there’s a lot of surveying to do across both stations to understand the full range of species out there.
‘We’ll need to get in and do some biological surveys because both [stations] from a biological perspective are largely unexplored,’ he said.
The 121,390 hectare Avenel Station is the second largest land acquisition by NSW National Parks and uniquely straddles two bioregions, the Simpson Strzelecki Dune fields and the Broken Hill Complex, right by the South Aussie border.
The station lies on Ngurunta country to the west and the Maljangapa country to the east and has a bunch of significant cultural artefacts and sites across the property, which will be protected.
Photos thanks to Office of NSW Environment Minister Matt Kean
Avenel will also see the protection of three landscapes that aren’t currently in any other national park, as well as 30 threatened species, including the Australian bustard and eastern fat-tailed gecko.
With such a unique landscape, there are plans for Avenel to become a new visitor destination (possibly open by mid-2022!), with the creation of campgrounds, 4WD tracks, and walking trails. Road trip anyone?
The 45,534 hectare Koonaburra Station is home to around 20 threatened animal species, like the Mallee fowl and Major Mitchell cockatoo and features expansive water systems crucial for the survival of the local fauna.
There are plans for a massive feral animal management program to be rolled out to help regenerate the native flora, including two endangered ecological communities on the property.
Feature photo thanks to Joshua J Smith