BANKING ON IT: Catherine Conroy encourages residents to come and help plant native reeds.
BANKING ON IT: Catherine Conroy encourages residents to come and help plant native reeds.

Planting project ready to begin

THE southwest has been hit hard by dry conditions, but one group is striving to help protect wildlife caught up in them.

Southwest NRM is launching the Ward River regeneration project and encouraging Murweh locals to pitch in and get in touch with nature at the community planting day on April 29.

The project aims to replant 750 reeds and water-based species of plants around the Ward River watering hole in Charleville, to help preserve the waterway and the species it supports.

Southwest NRM project officer Catherine Conroy said the planting day would help to boost the ecosystem, while allowing residents to learn about outback nature.

"Our event is part of a project that we have received funding for from the Queensland Government under the natural resources regional investment program,” Ms Conroy said.

"It's concentrating on the Ward River waterhole because it is an important drought refuge. It's a permanent waterhole that forms when the river is disconnected.

"It's a high impacted area - when you go out there, there is no leaf litter, there is a lot of bare ground, which is also caused by people camping in the area.

"The project is mainly addressing water quality and sedimentation, because the problem at the moment is run-off from overland flow causing the waterhole to slowly fill up with sediment.

"We are trying to restore some of the bank vegetation by planting two species of native reed, an aquatic plant that grows on the water's edge.

"We're hoping to get people to come along and tell them a bit about the watering hole and what is special about it.

"With the planting, we will hopefully be creating more habitat for the residing species, including the fish.

"The plants will also act as a filter to stop some of the sediment from running into the watering hole.”

Ms Conroy said plenty of emu, kangaroo and bird species were to be seen around the watering hole. There had also been sightings of the rare squatter pigeon.

She encouraged all those interested in attending the community planting day to contact Southwest NRM for more information.

The event will start from 10am at the Ward River watering hole on April 29.