Our work in the Hunter River estuary concentrates on improving the health and extent of fisheries and other wildlife habitat that has been degraded or lost in the estuary over 200 years. To do this, we manage water and water flows and restore native vegetation on three sites in the Hunter River estuary. We endeavour to conserve threatened species, manage pests and demonstrate suitable agriculture techniques for managing our wetlands.
We use applied research to help assess, monitor and guide management activities. In non-wetland areas we are restoring vegetation to increase the size and biodiversity of small patches of indigenous trees and shrubs that have survived past ravaging by livestock. Not surprisingly many of these remnants contain thorny species such as Thorned Cockspur. The revegetation helps to provide protection from the sun and winds, habitat for birds and other animals and serves as a link to other natural vegetation in the surrounding wetland areas. Some wildlife sightings on City Farm include Black-necked Stork, Buff-banded Rail and Latham Snipe to mention the less common. City Farm also supports a wide diversity of frog species.
Retaining natural vegetation: It pays to keep natives on site
Leaving natural or native vegetation creates windbreaks and shelter belts without having to wait years for planted trees and shrubs to grow.
Natural vegetation provides habitat for a wide range of native plants and also a variety of birds and other animals that eat large numbers of insects and rodents. This way maintaining biodiversity can play a vital role in pest management on a farm without costly chemicals.
Areas of well-managed natural vegetation not only increase the individual numbers of existing resident native species but may further increase biodiversity by attracting species such as Bowerbird and Swamp Wallaby that are no longer found on the site.
Having said that, the first Swamp Wallaby seen on Ash Island for more than 150 years was sighted on City Farm on June 22, 2005.
To compliment the existing natural vegetation City Farm has added nearly ten thousand native trees and shrubs to link and enhance the habitat potential of the farm.