S2S is governed by a Working Group of nine organisations including Nature Conservation Trust of NSW (Facilitator host), Charles Sturt University, Holbrook Landcare Network, Murray Local Land Services, CSIRO, Australian National University, Parklands Albury Wodonga, Albury Conservation Company, and the NSW Government’s Office of Environment & Heritage. Drawing from the Working Group’s breadth of expertise and resources, S2S has a strong focus on biodiversity research, on-ground conservation action, and community engagement and capacity building. The partnership is guided by the ‘S2S Strategic Plan’ and ‘S2S Principles for Collaboration’ agreement. The Working Group meets quarterly to share information and experiences with the goal of identifying opportunities for strategic collaboration.
The S2S project area encompasses the whole of the Alpine, South Eastern Highlands and South West Slopes bioregions within the Murray River and Billabong Creek catchments from Culcairn to Corowa in the west, to Tumbarumba and Tooma, to Kosciuszko National Park in the east. The area includes box-gum woodlands, riverine forests and floodplains, and dry foothill forests. Land and water resources support diverse agricultural enterprises, including cropping, grazing, forestry, and horticulture. The area contains a highly fragmented network of box-gum woodlands, a nationally endangered vegetation community. This habitat network supports over 100 threatened species, and also provides the basis for broader landscape restoration efforts, including revegetation. S2S has undertaken a Conservation Action Planning process identifying seven priority landscapes within the project area to focus effort, with the anticipation that biodiversity outcomes will be maximised.
Since 2007, S2S has secured around $3 million in funding support from Government (Federal and State), Philanthropic trusts, and corporate businesses. S2S is currently sustained through NSW Government’s Environmental Trust funding, including supporting the Facilitator position, recognised by the S2S WG as critical in maintaining cohesion and momentum.
Around 400 hectares has been protected under NCT conservation covenants under the S2S Covenanting Program through funding from the NSW Government’s Environmental Trust. A further 100 hectares is currently in negotiation in the Woomargama and Jindera priority landscapes.
In 2012, S2S secured $2.3 million over 5 years through the Federal Government’s Biodiversity Fund for the ‘S2S Bushlinks Project’. Bushlinks is being managed by Holbrook Landcare Network in collaboration with the partnership and involves large-scale revegetation on farms to enhance and improve connectivity of habitat in S2S priority areas. To date around 500 hectares of revegetation has either been completed or is scheduled for completion in 2014.
S2S has delivered a number of innovative community engagement activities, included hosting a ‘Biodiversity on Farms” Field Day (2010), production of a film on the Eucalypts of S2S called ‘Snow Gums to River Reds’ (2012), hosting of two BioBlitz events (e.g. Woomargama 2013), and conducting an amateur short film competition on the theme of biodiversity called ‘BioFlix’ (2013).