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More staff and funding for TSRs in Eastern Murray Region

Travelling Stock Reserves (TSR) in the eastern Murray will get a boost with the appointment of Phill Falke to increase the number of TSR Rangers at Murray Local Land Services along with the announcement of funding from the NSW Government for TSR management.

Murray Local Land Services has received $90,000 from the NSW Environmental Trust under its Environmental Restoration and Rehabilitation Grants Program. The money will be used for restoring biodiversity and connectivity on TSRs in the eastern Murray region, including assessing and managing weed infestations on key reserves. The project will be delivered in collaboration with the Slopes to Summit Connectivity Partnership (part of the Great Eastern Ranges Initiative), local landholders and community groups.

TSRs are important for a range of reasons including their value as a feed reserve in times of drought, flood, fire and other emergencies; their social and cultural values and their role as'biodiversity hotspots' in the landscape. TSRs contain some of the state's most intact patches of remnant vegetation and were identified as important biodiversity assets during community consultation for the NSW Murray Biodiversity Management Plan.

Phill says that he's looking forward to talking with landholders and community members who neighbour TSRs or are interested in their management.

"I want to tap into local knowledge so we can work together on the best way to manage these reserves to ensure that they are there for everyone's benefit into the future.

TSR on the urban-rural fringe are particularly tricky to manage says Phill. "Together we need to find a balance between conservation of the native plants and animals that find refuge in these areas with their large habitat trees, and appropriate use by the public".

"We want to increase understanding of what is appropriate and what is not. TSR's are for passive recreation such as walking, bird watching and picnics. They are not a source of firewood or somewhere to go four wheel driving or motorbike riding.

"TSR's play a really important role in connecting patches of native vegetation to water sources and other larger areas of vegetation, acting as stepping stones, as well as being home to a diverse range of protected wildflowers, birds, animals and their food sources".

Phill will be working over a wide area on TSRs in an area bounded by the Murray River, from Howlong, north to Walbundrie across to Henty and up to the Upper Murray.

He grew up in the Albury area, so it's a bit of a homecoming after working as a Landcare Facilitator in the Wimmera District of western Victoria.

"I grew up on a farm near Walla Walla, so farming and the landscape are in my blood. I'm really glad to be able to work in my home community, for my young family to get to know the border region, and to get the chance to contribute to its sustainability," he added.

The job will not be without its challenges, however. "With about 140 TSR's in the Albury, Walla Walla, Holbrook, Jingellic and Tumbarumba districts to care for, there's a lot to do, but the new funding will make a big difference in what can be achieved", Phill said.

Phill can be contacted at Murray Local Land Services on 02 6040 4210 or phill.falke@lls.nsw.gov.au

For further information or interview: Phill Falke, Murray LLS, 02 6040 4210 or
Juliet Cullen, Communications Officer Murray LLS 02 6051 2252 juliet.cullen@lls.nsw.gov.au