Celebrate habitat restoration with a tree planting day

A special tree planting day is being held next month to celebrate 24 years of the Capertee Valley Regent Honeyeater Recovery Project.

The Regent Honeyeater is listed as critically endangered with an estimated population of just 400 birds remaining in the wild.

The Capertee Valley, north of Lithgow, is currently the most important breeding area in the country for the Regent, and BirdLife Australia volunteers and local landholders have played a leading role in the restoration of their habitat. 

Volunteers began the first plantings to restore habitat back in 1994.    

“They were all quite small and scattered all over the valley, because they were the only type of sites we could get,” explained Birdlife Australia Project Committee Chair, Iain Paterson.

“As time went on, we were getting offered more properties and we were finding people who wanted to plant bigger areas.”

In 2010 the former Hawkesbury-Nepean Catchment Management Authority (CMA) became involved in the project which was then inherited by Central Tablelands Local Land Services in 2014.

Over the years the Land Rover Owners Club of Sydney, the Taronga Youth at the Zoo Program, and many landholders in the Capertee Valley have contributed to habitat restoration efforts.

Local landholder April Mills has been an active participant, working with the volunteers who travelled from far and wide to rehabilitate the natural environment.

“I’m really grateful to these people who came away from their homes and spent weekends in the valley, doing the digging, and the hard work,” she said.  

“It’s been extraordinary how this project has changed the landscape, which before was empty.”

Over 125,000 trees and shrubs have been planted across more than 260 hectares in the valley to recreate Regent habitat since 1994.

“We conservatively estimate that volunteers have given over 2500 hours of their time each year over the past eight years. That's 20,000 hours since we started funding the recovery efforts in 2010, and far more across the total life of the project,” said Huw Evans of Central Tablelands Local Land Services.

As the trees mature over the next thirty to forty years, they will substantially extend breeding habitat for the Regent Honeyeater which will be vital for the recovery of the species.

“We are already finding other threatened and declining woodland birds are using the plantings, such as Hooded Robins, Brown Treecreepers, Diamond Firetails, Speckled Warblers and Black-chinned Honeyeaters to name just a few.”

Volunteers will head to the Capertee Valley on May 5 to plant approximately 3000 trees and shrubs. The final planting will be celebrated with a dinner at Glen Alice that evening, followed by the launch of a video showcasing the life of the project.

The Capertee Valley Regent Honeyeater Recovery Project is supported by Local Land Services with funding from the Australian Government.

For more information about Regent Honeyeater recovery in the Capertee Valley contact Senior Land Services Officer Huw Evans on 02 6350 3117 or huw.evans@lls.nsw.gov.au