Queensland’s Second Special Wildlife Reserve is Announced – National Parks Association of Queensland

Queensland’s Second Special Wildlife Reserve is Announced

Author: Karin Cox

Photography: Courtesy of Department of the Premier and Cabinet

On Saturday 1 June, the Miles Government announced that Bush Heritage Australia’s 8000-ha Edgbaston Reserve, in the Lake Eyre Basin near Longreach, will soon be declared the state’s second special wildlife reserve, after the safeguarding of Pullen Pullen Reserve as a special wildlife reserve in 2020.

Like national parks, special wildlife reserves receive legal protection from incompatible land uses such as commercial timber harvesting, grazing or petroleum and mineral resource extraction. These private protected areas are a crucial part of Queensland’s Protected Area Estate and are vital to conserving biodiversity.

Edgbaston Goby
The critically endangered Edgbaston Goby

Edgbaston protects 26 plant and animal species found nowhere else on Earth – including the critically endangered red-finned blue-eye (Scaturiginichthys vermeilipinnis) and Edgbaston goby (Chlamydogobius squamigenus) – freshwater fish found only in the Great Artesian Basin springs. Edgbaston has also been the cornerstone of new species discoveries, including 15 types of plants and the yet-to-be-described Edgbaston shrimp and amphipod.

The announcement follows the state government’s 31 May assurance of protections for Australia’s groundwater reserves, legislating to permanently ban carbon capture and storage activities within the expansive Great Artesian Basin.

“The Miles Government has now taken a leadership decision to bring forward a legislative ban on these types of projects in the Great Artesian Basin to ensure that there are no future attempts at this type of storage in this essential water resource. Our decision will remove any doubt and ensure the Great Artesian Basin’s protection for generations to come,” stated Environment Minister Leanne Linard.

The state government reached the agreement to protect Edgbaston with Bush Heritage Australia (BHA) and Bidjara Traditional Owners, and its formal declaration as a special wildlife reserve is scheduled to take place later in 2024.

Queensland remains the only state in Australia to provide national park-level protections on private land through the special wildlife reserve class of protected area. Learn more about special wildlife reserves here.

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