Land improvement project benefits grazing productivity and endangered finch

The head of a project designed to support dwindling populations of Black-throated Finch located on grazing properties in North Queensland has said that it is also benefiting pasture cover and productivity.

NQ Dry Tropics’ Conserving Black-throated Finch Habitat project, funded by the Australian Government’s National Landcare Programme, is putting nearly $85,000 towards managing weeds such as lantana and chinee apple, and installing fencing on four grazing properties in the Townsville area.

NQ Dry Tropics’ Protecting Biodiversity Project Officer Jaymie Rains said that Black-throated Finches can thrive on well-managed grazing properties.

Ms Rains said: “Black-throated Finches are small grain eating birds whose only remaining habitat is in small areas of North Queensland.”

“They prefer native grass seeds, but will eat some introduced pasture grasses.  Weeds are a particular problem for both finches and livestock as they reduce the amount of available feed.

“We have been working closely with the landholders and an ecologist to assess finch habitat condition on each property and develop site-specific management plans to help them thrive.

“We are conducting ongoing monitoring, and aim to increase finch populations across 10,000ha of habitat by 2030.

“It is a happy coincidence that introducing best management practices on grazing properties can also support finch communities”, Ms Rains said.

The two-year project will run until June 2018.