Bolivia Hill upgrade project seed collection


A rare and endangered wattle species unique to Bolivia Hill has been the focus of a seed collection project aimed at ensuring its survival – all in the name of roadwork.

Roads and Maritime Services worked with Northern Tablelands Local Land Services to collect seed from the native Bolivia Wattle as part of work to upgrade the New England Highway at Bolivia Hill.

A Roads and Maritime spokesperson said “we are committed to ensuring the preservation of sensitive environmental communities. The identification of this important plant during environmental assessments for the work provided an opportunity for us to work with the local community to arrange seeds to be gathered and stored for the future.”

Northern Tablelands Local Land Services collects and stores more than 400 native seeds under scientific licence with the seedbank available for the Northern Tablelands and North West regions, for revegetation and tree planting activities.

Northern Tablelands Local Land Services Seedbank Manager, Ivan Lackay, is passionate about the survival of the Bolivia Wattle and being a local Aboriginal community member, is delighted to facilitate employment for young Aboriginal people in the protection of the species.

“The Bolivia Wattle is unique to the area it grows – on Bolivia Hill between Glen Innes and Tenterfield. It is the only population of this particular wattle in Australia,” Mr Lackay said.

“The Inverell Aboriginal Men’s Group took part in a professional seed collecting course in 2015 to learn species identification, seed collection methods and seed storage and was engaged to collect the rare and endangered wattle species.

“The five men have been observing the Bolivia Wattle trees regularly to monitor flower show and seed setting so when the seed pods started to open, they were ready to harvest the seeds. The seeds were then cleaned and stored for future use.

“This sort of species insurance is essential to the longevity of an iconic species like the Bolivia Wattle and the Northern Tablelands Local Land Services seedbank is ideal for storing and protecting this valuable seed. It has also enabled these young Aboriginal men to get back on country and practice traditional land management,” Mr Lackay said.

The detailed design for the project is progressing with tenders to deliver the upgrade expected to be called in 2017.

NB: High res images available on request


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