Earlier this year, Council was successful in securing a 40ha parcel of private rural land at Brimbin into public ownership.
This property fronts the ecologically significant Dawson River, conserving a tract of riparian vegetation which helps to maintain the water quality within the Dawson River and the Manning River Estuary. It also protects an area of potential acid sulfate soils, which if disturbed, can have harmful impacts on water quality and aquatic ecology. Good water quality is also essential to maintaining the productivity of a number of industries within the Manning River Estuary including oyster farming, commercial fishing and tourism.
The Brimbin property contributes to the protection of biodiversity, forming part of a vast ecological corridor which is recognised by ecologists as a ‘Biodiversity Hotspot’. The property contains a diverse range of vegetation types and provides potential habitat for a number of threatened species including squirrel gliders, brush-tailed phascogales, koalas, glossy-black cockatoos and powerful owls. It also supports one of the largest populations of the endangered narrow-leaved red gum (Eucalyptus seeana), a favoured koala food tree.
Obtaining the support of Council to purchase the property at Brimbin was based on one of the fundamental principles of best-practice environmental management, which is to "protect first and restore and rehabilitate second". This approach is based on the evidence that it is almost always more cost effective to protect rivers in good condition, rather than undertaking long term, expensive and often complex restoration and rehabilitation activities.
The allocation of funding in the past has been heavily focussed on rivers where degradation was visible, rather than those in good condition, however much greater emphasis is now placed on the lower cost option of preventing the deterioration of rivers and catchments.