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Unlocking the secrets to maintaining healthy waterways

Local waterways came alive in November for a number of community groups and landholders fortunate enough to participate in the guided river kayak tours conducted by Northern Tablelands Local Land Services (LLS).

The tours, facilitated by Ivan Lackay and Andrew Walsh from the Northern Tablelands LLS Environment Team, provided the local community with a unique opportunity to explore the wildlife and ecology of Lake Inverell and the Macintyre River.

Ivan Lackay invited Harry White, Aboriginal Communities Officer to accompany a group of Aboriginal men and boys from the Inverell High School Clontarf Academy on the tour.  Harry offered an insight into relevant cultural artefacts, including a discussion and display of various weapons and tools from the area.

Sharing his wealth of knowledge about the waterway’s aquatic inhabitants, wildlife ecologist Phil Spark also accompanied the group and assisted participants in identifying the creatures that they may otherwise have overlooked.

“Most of the group were amazed by the abundance and variety of fish, invertebrate and vertebrate species, geckos, frogs, bats, snakes and lizards,” Ivan said.

“The group also heard from Phil about the number of species that are endangered, which came as a surprise to many. There is a pair of nesting White Bellied Sea Eagles along the river. To see them is a rare treat – and we did. Learning about the species that have disappeared encourages participants to further appreciate the value of native vegetation, wildlife habitat and water quality,” said Ivan.

The highlight of the tours was the opportunity to view the waterways from a unique perspective.

“Floating quietly on the water provides a different experience from walking along the river bank, allowing for a deeper appreciation and understanding of the riparian environment,” said Ivan.

“These tours, funded by the NSW Government through NSW Catchment Action, help the community to value river health and its importance to the ecosystem as a whole, particularly water quality balanced with agricultural production,” Andrew Walsh said.

If you are interested in improving the waterways on your farm, please contact the Environment Team to discuss options for your project.  Contact Andrew Walsh, Senior Land Services Officer, Northern Tablelands Local Land Services on 02 6720 8318.

Media contact: Annabelle Monie 0429 626 326.