Saving Australia's Smallest Fish

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Endangered Australian fish gets $3.5M survival boost with Bush Heritage property purchase

ANCIENT artesian springs boasting arguably Australia’s most endangered fish species have been saved for future generations with the purchase of a Central Queensland property by conservation group Bush Heritage Australia.

Redfin Blue-eye pair. Image © Bush Heritage Australia.

Bush Heritage Australia will spend $3.5 million (AU) on the purchase and ongoing management of the 8,100 hectare Edgbaston Station, near Longreach.

Edgbaston’s unique artesian spring network, fed by pure million-year-old spring water from the Great Artesian Basin, has allowed for the survival of the world’s only remaining population of the endangered Redfin Blue-eye (Scaturiginichthys vermeilipinnis) – Australia’s smallest freshwater fish.

Evolutionary Niches

Additionally, the springs are the only known home of a number of other species of fish, snails, plants, and a crustacean. Edgbaston is a property which emphasizes the spectacular evolutionary niches that have been created in Australia.

Bush Heritage Australia’s vision is to protect one per cent of Australia’s most important conservation land by 2025.

Bush Heritage Australia CEO Doug Humann said the acquisition of Edgbaston would assist in the protection of the significant plants and animals in the area.

“Edgbaston has exceptional biodiversity value and Bush Heritage is proud to own, manage and protect such an important Australian landscape,” he said.

“This purchase will allow us to closely manage the health of Edgbaston’s incredible artesian springs, which support a variety of life forms unique to the region.”

Edgbaston Station was purchased with funding from the Australian Government’s recently concluded Maintaining Australia’s Biodiversity Hotspots program, which contributed $1.324m. Assistance with the acquisition was also received from the Qld Department of Natural Resources and Water and the Qld Department for Sustainability, Climate Change and Innovation.

“This achievement would not have been possible without the financial support of the Australian Government and Bush Heritage’s dedicated volunteers and donors,” Mr Humann said. “We need further support from the public and the government in coming years if we are to make our vision of protecting Australia’s unique animals, plants and their habitats a reality.”

Working with Iningai People

Located in Central Queensland, 140 km north-east of Longreach, Edgbaston Station is a pastoral lease of 8,100 hectares. It is the traditional country of the Iningai people with whom Bush Heritage will be working to understand and protect the cultural values of the property. The property’s grasslands, woodlands and wetlands also provide habitat for a range of migratory and other birds.

Situated in the upper catchment of the Pelican Creek which flows into the Thompson River and Lake Eyre, Edgbaston’s network of more than 50 artesian springs is home to an extraordinary diversity of life forms found nowhere else on the planet.

Bush Heritage Australia, which was founded in 1990, is a not-for-profit organisation that protects Australia’s unique animals and plants and their habitats.

It owns and manages 31 reserves throughout Australia covering almost 1 million hectares. Bush Heritage Australia’s goal is to protect more than 7 million hectares by 2025 through ownership, management and partnership.

From a release by Bush Heritage Australia.

Bush Heritage Australia Edgbaston Reserve

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