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Re-engaging youth and restoring degraded bushland at Tilbuster Station

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Pathfinders welcomes funding from Northern Tablelands Local Land Services, through the Brigalow Nandewar Biolinks scheme to fence off a three hectare section of the Tilbuster Ponds, and for the installation of off stream water troughs to keep stock out of this fragile area of riparian bushland.

As the project rolls out young people looking for a new start in life and a chance to gain valuable agricultural skills, will help rehabilitate a degraded section of the Tilbuster Ponds Creek on Tilbuster Station north of Armidale.

Pathfinders will implement the project by training young people in rural skills such as fencing, welding, trough installation, weed and feral animal control, and the revegetation of native habitat.

Charlie Winter, Project Coordinator at Tilbuster Station said “Disadvantaged young people are already working on the property in a range of agricultural, horticultural and trade skills programs such as crop and vegetable production, beef cattle husbandry, fencing, welding and building construction”.

“We’re aiming to build self-esteem and job readiness in young people who have been disengaged and at risk of losing their way.   We’re also trying to instil values of belonging, mastery, independence and generosity, values that these kids may not have previously experienced,” said Charlie.

“With help from Local Land Services, we’re also going to restore a beautiful piece of bushland, currently infested with blackberry, willows and African lovegrass. We’ll be getting rid of the weeds, controlling destructive feral animals such as rabbits, and fencing off the area to stop cattle from eroding the steep banks of the creek.”

The Tilbuster Ponds consist of a series of interconnected permanent water holes with patches of granite boulders along the creek. The rehabilitation site on Tilbuster Station is just a few kilometres upstream of another site at Charleston Willows where rehabilitation has also been underway.

“Restoring these sites will enhance important habitat for rare and endangered native species, particularly as there are some very deep holes in the chain of ponds,” said Northern Tablelands Local Land Services officer, Marty Dillon.

These ponds provide a lasting water source even in times of severe drought, creating a vital refuge for native turtles, lizards, fish and other species in an over cleared landscape,”

“The Brigalow Nandewar Biolinks project aims to expand areas of native vegetation to connect the plains and the tablelands spanning the catchment, and strengthen the links between biodiversity and agriculture.”

The Brigalow Nandewar Biolinks project aims to retain areas of important biodiversity within a working agricultural landscape. There is also a strong focus on maintaining high quality riparian areas and targeting areas for rehabilitation that will improve water quality downstream.

“The Pathfinders – Tilbuster Station project fits very nicely into the Biolinks goal of restoring and preserving important areas of biodiversity and connecting habitat within a working agricultural landscape.”

This Biolinks project is supported by the Australian Government’s Biodiversity Fund and the NSW Government’s Catchment Action NSW.