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Project: Lower Murrumbidgee – Gayini (Nimmie-Caira), NSW

The Gayini Nimmie-Caira property is approximately 84,000 hectares of freehold land covering open lignum floodplain in the lower Murrumbidgee Valley between Hay and Balranald, making it one of the largest single private holdings in the Riverina bioregion. The area is unique in containing large areas of continuous lignum through key floodways which support nationally-significant colonial nesting waterbird rookeries. The Lower Bidgee wetland system is the largest wetland in the Murrumbidgee Valley, and is listed on the Directory of Important Wetlands of Australia. It contains river redgum and black box forests and woodlands, as well as grasslands and chenopod shrublands, and is also home to a range of threatened species, including the largest known population of the endangered southern bell frog in NSW.

Gayini has been home to the Nari Nari people for over 60,000 years, and this gives it a rich and important history. We are working with the Nari Nari to assist and support them as they return these significant areas of occupation across the property to an improved and protected condition.

Project purpose:

Project timeline:

Our vision is that nature at Gayini Nimmie-Caira thrives, and that the traditional peoples of Gayini Nimmie-Caira heal its lands and waters. In return, Gayini Nimmie-Caira heals its people, so they can enjoy culturally, socially and economically sustainable and fulfilling lives.

10 years and beyond

Our approach

A consortium of partners will lead the rehabilitation and rejuvenation of Gayini. Our goal is for Gayini to be an exemplar of Indigenous-led, culture-based enterprise that sustains healthy Country, responsible agriculture, education, research and independent Indigenous livelihoods.  The consortium brings together leading science and conservation, Traditional Knowledge, community partnerships, and a long history of sustainable agriculture to deliver a world’s best approach to the holistic management of land and water at Gayini.  A Land and Water Management Plan has been developed to guide activities over the next 10 years.

Outcomes

The overarching land and water management objectives for the Gayini are to:

  • protect, maintain and enhance environmental values such as floodplain vegetation, bird habitat and southern bell frog populations
  • protect, maintain and enhance Aboriginal Cultural Heritage values 
  • create economic value from Gayini whilst maintaining and enhancing environmental and Aboriginal Cultural Heritage objectives.
Smoking ceremony to mark the handover of Gayini Nimmie -Caira.
River red gums on floodplain at Gayini Nimmie Caira.
Black box woodland at Gayini Nimmie Caira.
Water flowing across the Gayini Nimmie-Caira floodplain.

In 2019, we successfully gained funding from the Save our Species program of the NSW Environmental Trust to save the Australian Painted Snipe & other wetland dependent threatened species in Gayini wetlands.

The project aims to  protect and conserve the Australian Painted Snipe and other threatened wetland dependent species, including the Freckled Duck, Blue-billed Duck and Australasian Bittern across the lower Murrumbidgee landscape. To address critical threats, this project has identified and overseen water regimes for three key wetlands in the Gayini floodplain. The last two years of the program has seen excellent results, with Australasian Bitterns increasing in number and nesting has been confirmed. Breeding has also been confirmed for the Blue-billed Duck, and the Freckled Duck has been recorded using the wetlands across both years. Unfortunately, the Australian Painted Snipe remains illusive and we are using a number of monitoring techniques to endeavour to confirms its presence in these vast wetlands!

The Nari Nari land managers have contributed hugely to this project through improved land management which has seen the destruction of 1000’s of pigs, foxes, feral cats and deer, all species that can destroy nests, prey on eggs and young, alter and degrade wetland habitat and also kill adult birds.

This project will continue to run until 2023, in which time numbers of these waterbirds will have improved due to improved management and water delivery.

The program is being funded  by the NSW Government through a partnership between the Saving our Species program and the Environmental Trust.

Australian painted-snipe ©Chris Tzaros. Birds, Bush and Beyond.
Freckled Duck ©Chris Tzaros, Birds Bush and Beyond
Blue-billed Duck ©Chris Tzaros. Birds, Bush and Beyond.
Australasian Bittern ©Chris Tzaros. Birds, Bush and Beyond.

Our Partners:

For more details, please contact:

Deborah Nias, Chief Executive Officer
📞 0417 287 651
✉️ deb.nias@mdwwg.com.au