Bitterns In Rice Project
Bridging the gap between agriculture and wildlife conservation in the Murray-Darling Basin
Since 2012, the Bitterns in Rice Project has been uncovering the secrets of Australia’s ‘Bunyip Bird’ – the globally endangered Australasian Bittern – and raising awareness of its plight. We now know there is a breeding population using NSW Riverina rice crops that can reach well into the hundreds, which is remarkable. There are probably only about 2500 individuals remaining in three countries: Australia, New Zealand and New Caledonia.
The Bitterns in Rice Project has developed Bittern Friendly Rice Growing Tips and established a long term research and monitoring program with the support of hundreds of rice farmers. You can read more detail in this September 2014 article; Once Bittern Not Shy Of Rice. The Bitterns in Rice Project recently raised $65 000 in a crowdfunding campaign to satellite track bitterns. Where the population goes after harvest is a mystery.
For the latest updates, click on the links below.
The Bitterns in Rice Project is a collaboration between the Rice Growers’ Association of Australia and Birdlife Australia, with key support from the Riverina Local Land Services, Norman Wettenhall Foundation, Coleambally Irrigation, Murrumbidgee Field Naturalists Club, the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation, the Murray Local Land Services, Murray Irrigation, Murrumbidgee Irrigation, Murrumbidgee and Coleambally Landcare, and the New South Wales Office of Environment & Heritage.
The key findings from the 2012-2013 season can be found in this RIRDC report: Bitterns in Rice: a pilot study of the endangered Australasian Bittern (Botaurus poiciloptilus) and its use of rice crops.
Bitterns Boom In Rice is a short film produced in 2013.