News / Community / Education / 2nd March 2022
From vision to reality: Green light for Castlereagh River project
The vision to see the Castlereagh River restored is one step closer, with a grant of almost one million dollars recently being awarded to the project.
Warrumbungle Shire Council was successful in a funding application and will receive $899,000 from the Healthy Rivers grants.
The idea of rejuvenating the section of river between the two weirs has long been championed by Council mayor, Ambrose Doolan.
Cr Doolan has been instrumental in pushing forworktobedoneina bid to attract and keep visitors in Coonabarabran longer.
In welcoming the grant, Cr Doolan said it was a matter of the community coming together for a good cause that had created the latest positive outcome.
“It’s one thing to talk the talk - it’s another to be able to make something happen,” he said.
“And the only reason its happened is because of the partnership with like-minded people and community organisations that have come together.
“Wes Leedham and David Hall put together the grant application, so they need to be congratulated for doing such a good job.”
The mayor said there were only positives to come out of the recent news, with flow-on effects benefiting the whole town of Coonabarabran.
He said not only will the area be more attractive to travellers, but the funding means the town and its residents will also directly prosper.
“A large percentage of the grant money is meant to go to wages and also to buy local goods for the project,” Cr Doolan said.
“So, not only will the town benefit by having an attractive river, it will also create jobs and provide work for locals.”
Funds will be available in 90 days from the grant announcement and Cr Doolan said he expects work to begin shortly after that period.
But he said the group, made up of different community organisations, was not stopping there, and he expects more grants applications to be submitted in the coming months.
“When you look at getting earth-moving equipment in, it starts eating into that money pretty quick, so one thing that has been discussed with everyone is that we will be looking to apply for more grants in the future,” Cr Doolan said.
Wes Leedham, from the Warrumbungle National Park Environmental Education Centre, said the work funded under the grant will be a follow on from the concerted effort Coonabarabran Landcare has put in for the last 30 years.
“Coonabarabran Landcare has rehabilitated a majority of the upper Castlereagh River, upstream of Coonabarabran township,” he said.
“Coonabarabran Landcare undertook a previous project in 2011-12 to control tree weeds in the upper Castlereagh River.
“In 2017 to 2019 Coonabarabran Landcare did successful stages one, two and three of the ‘Upper Castlereagh River Exotic Vegetation Removal’ project, funded by Fish Habitat Action grants.
“A further small grant in 2020/21 extended and consolidated this work toward the upper town weir.
“These project stages have revealed that the Castlereagh River through the town of Coonabarabran is a hot spot for woody weeds and this will need several years of work to improve fish habitat and also make the river more accessible for community to appreciate.”