Bush Collaboration for Australia’s ‘Hidden’ Species
24 July 2014 at 10:52 am
A corporate, government and Not for Profit partnership will result in the world’s largest nature discovery project, Bush Blitz, being ramped up to broaden the search for Australia’s least known plant and animal species.
Bush Blitz has been extended until 2017 with $12 million in funding from the Federal Government, BHP Billiton’s Sustainable Communities Foundation, with each contributing $6 million in partnership with conservation NFP Earthwatch.
“To keep our habitats healthy we’ve got to know what species habitats contain and Bush Blitz is helping to fill in those crucial gaps in our knowledge,” Federal Parliamentary Secretary for the Environment, Senator Simon Birmingham, said.
“Since 2010, Bush Blitz has discovered more than 700 new species, including a water-walking wolf spider in the Kimberley and a native truffle in Victoria.
“This new funding will send teams of researchers to ‘blitz’ dozens more remote areas throughout Australia, uncovering their hidden biodiversity and discovering hundreds of species that are completely new to science.
“The great success of Bush Blitz wouldn’t be possible without all three partners and I thank Earthwatch and BHP Billiton Sustainable Communities for their vision and continued commitment,” Senator Birmingham said.
Expedition teams scour the bush, waterways and even go underground in their quest to deepen scientific knowledge of our unique plants and animals.
Earthwatch Australia CEO Professor David McInnes said the Bush Blitz partnership to discover, document and describe Australia’s unique flora and fauna was providing essential information to help manage and protect some of Australia’s most fragile and precious ecosystems.
“Bush Blitz surveys have already located more than 350 species listed as threatened, vulnerable or endangered, and more than 700 species of weeds and feral animals,” Prof McInnes said.
“Bush Blitz is a great example of citizen science, where teachers and BHP Billiton employees help world-class scientists to conduct their research in the field. These expeditions are life-changing experiences that transform how participants think about science and biodiversity.”
BHP Billiton’s President, HSE, Marketing & Technology, Mike Henry, said the company was committed to supporting initiatives that make a positive contribution to the environment and benefit the broader community.
“This unique partnership brings together BHP Billiton’s commitments to biodiversity, the environment and communities. That’s why we’ve extended our partnership with Bush Blitz by providing funding for the second phase of the program,” Henry said.