The Illawarra has been included in a strategy to restore and strengthen a conservation corridor along the NSW coast.
Area environmental volunteers met at Sublime Point yesterday for the launch of the Illawarra/Shoalhaven leg of the Great Eastern Ranges Initiative, aimed at limiting the potential impacts of climate change, invasive species, land clearing and other environmental changes on a 3600-kilometre corridor from western Victoria to far north Queensland.
Rob Dunn, CEO of Great Eastern Ranges initiative, said the work would protect and improve corridor and landscape connections from the Royal National Park to Batemans Bay. The NSW Government announced funding of $4.4 million for the initiative in December 2011.
Of this, the Illawarra-Shoalhaven leg has been allocated $325,000 over three years, including $225,000 to employ a facilitator.
Mr Dunn said the initiative would "add value" to conservation work being carried out by existing environmental volunteers, and would encourage more volunteers to become involved.
Existing green spaces could be improved to attract migrating bird species, for instance.
"What you see is not the whole story," Mr Dunn said.
"In certain areas it's about building the resilience of the vegetation."
The ranges are Australia's longest and least fragmented north-south mountainous landscape, valued for the wide range of refuge for plants and animals to adapt or move as the climate changes.
Environment minister Robyn Parker was to launch the Illawarra-Shoalhaven partnership yesterday but was replaced by Heathcote MP Lee Evans because of a flight cancellation.
Ms Parker said in a statement the section had the support of about 30 area organisations.
"Corridors play a critical conservation role.
"While national parks provide excellent habitat for native species, many animals require an even greater landscape for migration, foraging and robust genetic diversity."