There's lots of activity on the bend of Tenterfield Creek in Jubilee Park behind the high school at the moment to entice back wildlife to the area, and families have an opportunity this Sunday to pitch in.
Ozfish Unlimited scored $15,000 from the Federal Government's Communities Environment Program to protect the Purple Spotted Gudgeon, the last-known wild population of which can only be found in Tenterfield waterways.
Ozfish's Michael Davey said the Gudgeon along with platypus and many other natives were once common in that stretch of the creek, and the project aims to create an environment to welcome them back. He said it's also the first spot many visitors stop at when arriving in Tenterfield so it's important to make it an attractive feature of the township.
The project will eventually see a 300 metre stretch of the creek and surrounding park land improved through bank stabilisation, re-vegetation, weed control and the prevention of excess sedimentation.
Work is already underway with around 500 natives in the ground, thanks to a contract with Gunimaa Nursery. The grant also pays the wages of two workers hired through the nursery for planting and maintenance work, initially for 50 hours.
"But we've scrimped in other areas and hope to extend that out to 150 hours," Mr Davey said.
"It's created some employment, so it's good for everybody."
This project is rolling out alongside a second one funded by a $48,000 Environmental Trust grant received by Tenterfield Shire Council to remove built-up sand from the creek.
Mr Davey said the Jubilee Park section is just stage one of a four-stage project to see the creek rehabilitated right down to the Naas Street bridge, with the stretch from the Tenterfield Bowling Club to the bridge posing a particular challenge.
Ozfish is committed to maintaining the newly-planted trees for three years, and Mr Davey is keen to have this visual reminder of the progress being made. In addition to tree planting and dredging he said there are factors like not mowing right up to the creek edge, to leave some habitat for creek-dwelling creatures.
The Tenterfield chapter of Ozfish is enjoying a surge of family memberships of late, in fact the highest membership rate in the country, according to Mr Davey. He puts this down to local families being keen on activities they can do together, as evidenced by the great support shown for ongoing Ozfish events.
Members and any member of the public can get their hands dirty down at the creek behind the high school this Sunday, August 2 from 10am for the Community Tree Planting Day, to help with this important project.