Roads, Rates and… Butterflies

Posted by on Jan 8, 2013 in Blog

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We worked with Bathurst Regional Council on the brand for Bathurst and we see the Bathurst Copper Butterfly in the news recently:
Saving butterflies doesn’t sound like council business, but when the local area is the only place in the whole world that the butterfly exists, then it becomes a local priority! The Bathurst Copper Butterfly, Paralucia spinifera, is one of Australia’s rarest butterflies. It is not only limited to the area between Bathurst and Hartley in the NSW Central Tablelands, it is also restricted to elevations over 900 metres. To make things more complicated, it only lives on one species of native plant, and its lifecycle relies on a special relationship with an ant!
Saving this unique insect sounds like a difficult task, but Bathurst Regional Council, with help from the Local Government and Shires Associations of NSW (LGSA) Roadside Vegetation Implementation Project, has taken up the challenge. In the same way as Koalas in Gunnedah and Superb Parrots in Boorowa, Bathurst has recognised the importance of protecting local biodiversity for a sustainable future for its local community.
It might surprise many that councils across the state are the most significant public investors in protecting our environment and managing our natural resources in NSW. In fact, Local Government invests more than the State and National Governments combined.
So why did Bathurst Council get involved in the first place? A major part of the butterfly’s habitat occurs in vegetation along local roads and Council recognised the opportunity to make a difference. Council launched the Bathurst Copper Butterfly Roadside Vegetation Implementation project to help stabilise, protect and enhance the butterfly population.
The project aims to improve the condition of native vegetation along priority roads and increase local habitat value, with an ultimate goal of improving the threatened species status of the butterfly from endangered to vulnerable on the State’s threatened species list.
Widespread weed control along 26 kilometres of high conservation value road reserves and targeted revegetation is being undertaken to connect existing fragmented butterfly sites. Specific and innovative revegetation strategies have had to be implemented to take into account the interesting fact that the butterfly is never found more than 10 metres away from its favourite native Blackthorn shrub. The normal practice of using tree guards on new plantings has also been changed, as the butterfly prefers juvenile or stunted plants and guards may restrict access to the plants.
Geoff Hudson, reprinted from LGNSW Local Agenda

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