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Gilbert’s potoroos and black cockatoos to benefit from State Government grants for local conservation projects

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A Gilbert's potoroo. Laurie Benson
Camera IconA Gilbert's potoroo. Laurie Benson Credit: Laurie Benson/The West Australian

Environmental organisations in the Great Southern will share in $7 million worth of WA Government grants to boost conservation projects.

The State Government last month announced the recipients of the 2022 Community Stewardship Grants for 57 community-driven environmental projects.

The Gilbert’s Potoroo Action Group will receive $260,387 to protect the critically endangered Gilbert’s potoroo, which has an estimated population of just 120 individuals across four sites.

Gilbert’s Potoroo Action Group chairman Dr Alan Needham said the funding would be used to engage local Indigenous people to share knowledge of the marsupial’s distribution before European settlement.

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It would also allow the group to undertake environmental DNA studies of previously surveyed areas to find the below-ground fungus the potoroos feed on.

Dr Neeham said the studies aimed to identify suitable habitats for potoroos and could lead to the introduction of new sites they could be moved to in order to bolster their population.

Save the Black Cockatoos campaign coordinator Patrick Cullen said the number of Carnaby’s was declining sharply because of land clearing.
Camera IconSave the Black Cockatoos campaign coordinator Patrick Cullen said the number of Carnaby’s was declining sharply because of land clearing. Credit: Philippa Beckerling/Supplied/RegionalHUB

“These fungi only survive in certain soil types and in certain vegetation types, and the associations between the fungi that are eaten by the potoroos and the plants is going to be one of the focuses of the studies that this grant is funding,” Dr Needham said.

The Torbay Catchment Group will receive a grant of $243,485 to combat climate change-related environmental impacts and fund conservation projects to preserve western ringtail possums and black cockatoos.

The Wilson Inlet Catchment Committee will be given funding to set up an Owingup Kent Grower Group and for the rehabilitation of 2.2ha of bush area near the Torbay Hall.

More than $34,700 will go to the Shire of Plantagenet for the implementation of a multi-industry feral pig control program, in partnership with the Binalup Aboriginal Corporation.

The biggest grant in the region, at $388,700, will go to North Stirlings Pallinup Natural Resources to protect existing vegetation, and plant new vegetation to boost soil health, improve waterways and create corridors for native species.

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