On 29 May 2018, the NSW and Commonwealth governments made a groundbreaking announcement about the future management of the Nimmie-Caira property on the lower Murrumbidgee River Floodplains of south-western NSW.

A consortium made up of the Nature Conservancy, the Nari Nari Tribal Council and other partners will take on the future management of the site; 85,000 hectares of former farming land and the largest remaining wetland area in the southern Murray-Darling Basin.

The decision was the next step of the $180m Nimmie-Caira project, an innovative ‘public interest partnership’ which will see this internationally significant wetland site restored, regenerated and protected.

In 2013, the Federal Government acquired 19 privately owned farms and their water rights as part of the Murray Darling Basin Plan, aiming to return environmental water flows to the greater river system. Ownership of the land was transferred to the NSW Government, which put the ongoing land management contract out to tender.

Since June 2014 Biosis has worked closely with the NSW Government on the Nimmie-Caira project, in partnership with Ross Hardie’s team at Alluvium Australia, and more recently, Cassian Drew from Palladium Group. Biosis, Alluvium and Palladium have collectively developed the Land and Water Management Plan that will underpin the property’s future management, guide delivery of environmental water to highly significant wetlands and ensure the protection of important cultural sites. The plan is based on detailed ecological, hydrological and archaeological studies completed by Biosis and Alluvium since 2014.

This highly important site supports a range of threatened plant and animal species and is an important feeding and breeding habitat for colonial and migratory waterbirds.

The Nature Conservancy’s approach to the management of Nimmie-Caira will focus on three key areas: environmental protection, Indigenous engagement, and participation and sustainable development. Some sections of the site have been identified as holding high conservation and cultural heritage values, while others have been approved to support commercial activities including carbon farming, education and low-impact grazing with profits to go back into environmental restoration works.

The Biosis ecology and heritage teams are immensely proud of their contribution to this ambitious and innovative environmental restoration project that will see the site returned to its natural wetland state.

“This has been a once in a career opportunity to work with an amazingly talented group of people on a large restoration project that is truly of landscape scale and will have enduring benefits to the environment and local communities”  Matt Looby, Biosis Senior Ecologist.

Read the NSW Government press release here.

The Biosis team provides high quality advice and innovative solutions from our offices across Victoria and New South Wales. To speak to our ecology, heritage and environmental planning experts about your project, please call the Biosis head office on 03 8686 4800.