This is branded content for Landcare Australia.
ACT volunteers restoring and regenerating Namadgi National Park in the devastating aftermath of Black Summer are inspiring take up of new $50,000 Landcare Led Bushfire Recovery Grants.
Over the last 12 months, 1000 residents have expressed interest in assisting bushfire recovery with activities including weed management, habitat restoration sediment/erosion control, flora and fauna assessments and water quality monitoring, undertaken by Landcare ACT in partnership with Southern ACT Catchment Group.
And 'getting their hands dirty' has been a cathartic experience for many.
"Our volunteers feel empowered," Landcare ACT CEO Karissa Preuss said.
"They've been able to make a real difference in Namadgi where so many people have felt helpless.
"It's been a really emotional experience for our people to get on the ground and get their hands dirty in their beloved park."
Southern ACT Catchment Group Executive Officer Martine Franco said the interest in working in the damaged areas of Namadgi has already been incredible.
"We've always known how passionate Canberrans are about Namadgi," Ms Franco said.
"One thousand people expressed interest as soon as restoration events were advertised and since then we have had six events, almost all at full capacity," she said.
"We have been doing weed removal which some people might think this is strange, but one of the biggest risks after fire is weed infestation.
"We have covered 15.2 hectares since we started with more on the way."
Ms Preuss added: "This work has positive outcomes for volunteers.
"We are hearing it means a lot to them to help make a difference in their local environment, especially after a tough year of bushfires, hazardous smoke and the pandemic" she said.
And with applications now open for the Landcare Led Bushfire Recovery Grants, offering $50,000 for Black Summer habitat restoration work, Ms Preuss encourages other environment organisations to apply.
"In the ACT more than 80 per cent of Namadgi National Park and numerous rural properties were burnt out during the Black Summer bushfires of 2019-2020," she said.
"This Landcare Led Bushfire Recovery Grants Program gives community and landcare groups the opportunity to contribute to much needed regeneration and restoration projects, building on the recovery efforts already underway in the area."
Along with Landcare ACT, eligible groups in regions impacted by the Black Summer fires can land bushfire recovery grants up to $50,000 thanks to the new 2021 Landcare Led Bushfire Recovery Grants program funded by the Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment.
Recently announced by Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley, the $14 million program is supporting recovery projects in seven government designated regions impacted by the Black Summer bushfires in Queensland, New South Wales, the Australian Capital Territory, Victoria and South Australia.
Areas include rainforests of South-East Queensland (QLD), rainforests of the NSW North Coast and Tablelands (NSW), Greater Blue Mountains and World Heritage area (NSW), forests of the NSW South Coast (NSW), alpine environments across ACT, NSW and Victoria (NSW and VIC), forests and coastal ecosystems of East Gippsland (VIC) and Kangaroo Island (SA).
In addition to funding of up to $50,000, landscape-scale partnerships working together on bushfire recovery projects can also access funding of up to $300,000.
National Landcare Network Chief Executive Officer Jim Adams said that the $14 million bushfire grants program will be delivered by a ground-breaking alliance between the National Landcare Network, the Landcare peak bodies in Queensland, New South Wales, the Australian Capital Territory, Victoria and South Australia, together with Landcare Australia.
Mr Adams said: "The Landcare Led Bushfire Recovery grants program will mobilise, build capacity, increase participation and support for landcare networks and groups, farmers and landowners, Traditional Owners, and other groups involved in community led environmental activities in the most vulnerable bushfire impacted regions."
Dr Shane Norrish, Chief Executive Officer for Landcare Australia said the Landcare Led Bushfire Recovery Grants will benefit landscape restoration, improve biodiversity and support community resilience.
Dr Norrish said: "Commencing along the east coast from South East Queensland and the NSW north and south coasts, to Australia's alpine areas, East Gippsland and Kangaroo Island, the grants program will be co-delivered by all the Landcare organisations who will work together to support project applicants, coordinate a wide range of high-impact on-ground community and environmental projects over the next 12 months for community landcare.
"Most importantly, they will reinforce and drive the incredible efforts already undertaken by the work of dedicated and passionate volunteers."
The grants program is jointly managed by Landcare Australia and the National Landcare Network, delivered in conjunction with Queensland Water and Land Carers, Landcare NSW, Landcare ACT, Landcare Victoria, and the Landcare Association of South Australia to mobilise, build capacity, increase participation and support Landcare and community groups, landowners, land managers and other partners for improved delivery of bushfire recovery actions.
The program has been supported by the Australian Government's Bushfire Recovery Program for Wildlife and their Habitat.
Applications will remain open until June 16 with successful applicants notified late June.
To apply and for further information visit www.landcareledbushfiregrants.org.au
- Article by Landcare ACT.