The Nature Conservancy Australia (TNC) is delighted to support the acquisition of Comeroo Station by the NSW Government, adding 37,423 hectares of high conservation value land to the national park estate.
“TNC, with support from the Wyss Foundation, is proud to assist the NSW Government in the long-term protection of Comeroo, north-west of Bourke,” Alison Rowe, TNC’s Managing Director, said, “this is an important milestone for conservation and biodiversity in NSW and in Australia.”
“Comeroo contains a diversity of habitat, including alluvial floodplains and swamps with permanent waterholes, ephemeral wetlands, grasslands, woodlands and shrublands which support a variety of plants and animals, including three NSW and nationally endangered ecological communities,” she said.
Minister for the Environment for NSW Penny Sharpe said this addition to the NSW national parks estate will protect vital wetlands in the Cuttaburra basin, part of the Paroo and the Warrego floodplains and some of NSW’s and Australia’s best waterbird breeding sites.
“Wetlands are some of the most endangered ecosystems on the planet, which is why this acquisition is so important,” she said.
The purchase of Comeroo by the NSW Government was made possible thanks in part to the generous funding provided to The Nature Conservancy by the Wyss Foundation.
“The Wyss Foundation is proud to support the efforts of Indigenous Peoples and local communities in NSW working to protect, manage, and sustain wildlife and wild places,” said Molly McUsic, President of the Wyss Foundation. “The purchase and protection of Comeroo illustrates how local communities across Australia are contributing to the global goal of protecting at least 30 percent of the Earth’s lands and ocean by 2030.”
More than a quarter of Comeroo Station forms part of the Yantabulla Swamp, a mosaic of channels and wetlands which has been identified as the most important water bird breeding site in north-west NSW. It consistently supports over 40,000 waterbirds and over 30 species of waterbirds and, when flooding, provides breeding sites for ducks and colonial waterbirds. This includes the Freckled Duck which is listed as vulnerable in NSW and other waterbird species protected under international treaties.
TNC’s Senior Advisor, Global Protection Strategies, Dr James Fitzsimons, said that the addition of the property to Australia’s network of protected areas is a significant achievement for conservation in Australia and for Australia’s commitment to protecting 30% of land, freshwaters, and ocean ecosystems by 2030, also known as the 30x30 target.
“The nationally-important Yantabulla wetlands are a key feature of Comeroo. The property is located in the Mulga Lands bioregion, which has some of the lowest levels of protection in NSW, so the addition of this property to the national parks estate is significant.
“It builds connectivity with the new Brindingabba National Park and a number of private protected areas in the region, allowing for the increased protection of the conservation values of the wetland system. It also enables wide ranging animals and plants to move and adapt to changing environmental conditions, forming a corridor of more than 90,000 ha,” he said.
In 2022 TNC, with generous contributions from the Wyss Foundation and artist Haley Mellin’s Art Into Acres initiative through Re:wild, supported the purchase of Brindingabba by the NSW Government and the creation of Brindingabba National Park.
“TNC is proud to have worked in partnership with the NSW Government and the Wyss Foundation on the protection of Comeroo. These types of partnerships will be critical to achieving large-scale protection outcomes and helping meet the 30x30 target in Australia,” Dr Fitzsimons said.
The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organisation dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we focus on getting things done efficiently and with the greatest positive impact for conservation. We’re a trusted organisation working in more than 70 countries and territories around the world on innovative solutions to our world’s toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. To learn more about The Nature Conservancy in Australia, follow us on Facebook.