Huge Murray-Darling wetland saved by $55M sale to conservationists

Huge Murray-Darling wetland saved by $55M sale to conservationists

Almost the entirety of the Great Cumbung Swamp will be saved after The Nature Conservancy Australia ('TNC) purchased two major cattle stations for $55 million.

In a joint venture with Tiverton Agriculture, TNC has purchased the Juanbung and Boyong cattle stations in western NSW, along with the properties' water rights.

The $55 million purchase is the most valuable private conservation-focussed purchase in Australia's history and will protect almost the entire extent of the Great Cumbung Swamp from conversion to irrigated cropping.

The Great Cumbung is one of the most important wetlands in the Murray-Darling Basin and is home to 131 bird species and more than 200 plant species.

TNC country director Rich Gilmore says the purchase of the land is more important than ever, especially in light of the disturbing news about the health of the Murray River and its wildlife.

"Today, more than ever, we need science-based, pragmatic solutions that deliver benefits for people and nature," says Gilmore.

"If we are to save the Basin's rivers and the communities that depend on them, conservationists, irrigators and Governments must come together and act with courage, urgency and optimism."

Tiverton director Nigel Sharp says TNC and his company intend to use the land in a responsible manner, promoting sustainable agriculture and developing the local economy with new jobs in the area.

"We look forward to managing this outstanding property and exploring future sustainable land use options such as carbon, biodiversity offsets and stewardship, and ecotourism," says Sharp.

The Great Cumbung will be managed in conjunction with the 87,000-hectare Gayini Nimmie-Ciara property, which was purchased for conservation by the NSW Government in 2012 and is now managed by TNC and Nari Nari Tribal Council.

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