Gary and Damien with Council’s Community Conservation Officer Linda Thomas.

Local Bush Backyard participants get grant for biodiversity work

07 Feb 2020

Local land owners, Gary and Damien, have always been passionate about the environment and joining the Bush Backyards program gave them access to Council support for their ongoing work to restore native habitats on their North Katoomba property. 

In 2019, they were invited to participate in the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program, through Greater Sydney Local Land Services and were successful in obtaining a $10,000 grant (over two years), in the form of professional bush regeneration teams who target bird and wind-spread weeds on public and private land in partnership with the Katoomba-Govetts Creek catchment group.

The grant will be used to look specifically at land alongside Katoomba Creek and will help control weeds in the Katoomba Creek system, which will rehabilitate the creek habitat and protect the National Park downstream. While most of the public land in this area is being actively managed for weed control by Council and Bushcare group volunteers, weed populations on private land still pose a threat to the bushland and creek system.

With the grant behind them, Gary and Damien are able to coordinate their work with other local sub-catchment volunteer groups to proactively and strategically manage and eradicate weeds spread by birds and wind that have a negative impact on native bushland and wildlife.

Mayor Mark Greenhill said it’s exciting to see locals taking the work they’ve done with Council to a whole new level.

“We know our community is dedicated to protecting our environment and biodiversity, but seeing individuals like Gary and Damien take up that mantle to do more, reminds me of how special and unique our community is,” Mayor Greenhill said.

Catchment groups bring together Bushcare and Landcare groups, along with other community conservation volunteers within a sub-catchment area, to promote and pursue a shared vision for environmental outcomes in their local area.

Council’s Community Conservation Officer Linda Thomas said: “The broader Bush Backyards scheme provides support, advice, workshops and training opportunities to landholders who are committed to conserving native plants, animals and bushland on their properties.”

Gary and Damien’s grant will allow them to take this work to the next level, an opportunity they are very excited about, saying “this is such a great initiative. We’ve worked hard over the years to restore and maintain the property and this has been a fantastic opportunity for us to spend time working alongside these expert teams, and get a much better idea of what we should and shouldn’t be doing on an ongoing basis.
“Learning from them how best to manage the biodiversity on the property hopefully means that we’re well on the way to restoring the land back to its original state, and also bringing back the wildlife who depend on it,” they said.

Rob Leslie from Greater Sydney Local Land Services was equally as delighted saying: “The catchment groups are achieving fantastic results. By working together in this coordinated way, the local volunteers are maximising their impact. This project will protect the important biodiversity of the catchment and improve ecological condition across the landscape.”

More information about Bush Backyards and how you can get involved is available on Council’s website at 

Photo: Gary and Damien with Council’s Community Conservation Officer Linda Thomas.

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