Council recognised for environmental efforts with awards

Cobar Shire Council staff Stephen Poulter, Mayor Lilliane Brady, Melissa Gunn and Peter Vlatko with the two awards recently presented to council in recognition of their environmental efforts in the community.

Cobar Shire Council has been recognised for its environmental efforts with two Local Government awards.

Council received the awards under the 2016/2017 Excellence in the Environment Awards program run annually by Local Government NSW which aim to recognise the outstanding achievements by NSW councils in managing and protecting the environment.

Council’s planning and environment manager Stephen Poulter said Cobar Shire Council was recognised for its Boxthorn Pulling Project on public reserves and an environmental education project which focused on teaching our local school children about recreational water quality, particularly at the Newey Reservoir.

The awards provide councils with an opportunity to demonstrate not only to their community but to other councils that they are endeavouring to provide good environmental projects and services.

“It is an acknowledgement from our local government peers and, given that our council has been awarded in categories over much larger and better resourced councils, we are incredibly happy with the result,” Mr Poulter said.

Cobar Shire Council was successful in the Invasive Species Management category for a Division A council (a council with a population of less than 30,000) for their project of the removal of African Boxthorn weed.

Council staff first mapped the weed infestation in a  local reserve and developed a removal strategy, which was the use of a mechanical Boxthorn puller.

The Boxthorn puller minimized soil disturbance and opened up the vegetation to allow grass and ground species to regenerate the area.

Council has been engaging with reserve users and the community about the importance of preventing the spread of African Boxthorn.

Council also won the Division A Communication, Education and Empowerment Award for council’s regional water quality education program which focused on the Newey
Reservoir with council organising field trips for local school children to learn about water quality.

“Our environmental education project was carried out in conjunction with Cobar Public School and Cobar High School,” Mr Poulter said.

The school children were taught about testing methodologies and what influences test results.

“We do not believe we would have enjoyed this awarded success without their great efforts.

“Despite the completion of this project, both schools have continued to test water, which we are incredibly excited by,” Mr Poulter said.