Illawarra's threatened flora, fauna in spotlight

The Illawarra greenhood orchid.

The Illawarra greenhood orchid.

Saving the region's threatened plants and animals was the hot topic for 25 community groups and agencies at a brainstorming session this week.

The organisations came together in Kiama for the Office of Environment and Heritage's (OEH) Saving Our Species workshop, which aims to find ways to conserve species under threat.

OEH's senior team leader for ecosystems and threatened species in the Illawarra, James Dawson, said the region was home to several unique plants and animals facing habitat loss.

"There are about half a dozen threatened plants that are only found in the Illawarra and northern Shoalhaven subtropical rainforest," he said.

"Plants like the Illawarra irene, the Illawarra greenhood orchid and the Illawarra zieria are all under threat, along with plants found in lowland grassy woodland along the coast, so that's all part of our work."

The OEH has already been actively working with the community to address threats to native species, including feral animals and land clearing. But Mr Dawson said the office was now keen to streamline its activities, ensuring all organisations were working together on a long-term goal.

"The program aims to build consortiums of stakeholders all working together to get large-scale funding and recovery programs; we really want to see groups working co-operatively," he said.

Mr Dawson believes the office's work is critical in ensuring the future of the region's environment.

"I want my kids to see the same plants and animals I grew up loving and for their children to have the same thing; we all have a responsibility to look after our environment," he said.

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