Funded by the Foundation for National Parks and Wildlife .
The grant is for a 3 year project described below.
The project involves the following activities:
- Nesting boxes
- Bush regeneration including weed control
- Activities supporting the recovery of threatened species, populations and/or ecological communities
- Feral animal control as part of a coordinated program
Project background information
My husband (now deceased) and I (the property owner) commenced restoration of Koala Gardens when we purchased the property in 2010. Since 2011 I have been paying professional regenerators to assist me in my personal effort to restore and enhance the habitat and maximise opportunities to preserve threatened species.
Through small funding grants provided by Lismore City Council 700 mixed species trees were planted in 2011 and 2012 with a 90% success rate.
In 2015 a 25th Anniversary Landcare Grant became the catalyst for transforming the vision for the property. The property is a fundamental part of wildlife corridors in Tuckurimba. As part of the designated climate change corridor, it is also identified as important for long-term resilience.
A Property Management Plan was developed in 2015 to inform and guide future regeneration and habitat protection activities. The property has been described as having high ecological value, providing connectivity between north and south. An unexpected direct outcome was the decision to register a conservation agreement on the property. The agreement was registered with LPI NSW on 15/11/2016 and effective from 06/10/2016. Lodgement INV C858396
As noted in the conservation agreement biodiversity assessment developed by OEH, through Consultant David Charley, the property contains habitat for fourteen threatened fauna species and three threatened flora species. (Hairy Joint Grass, Thorny Pea, Sweet Myrtle, Wompoo Fruit-Dove, Rose-crowned Fruit-Dove, Little Lorikeet, Red-backed Button-Quail, Pale-vented Bush-hen, Grey-crowned Babble, Koala, Squirrel Glider, Grey-headed Flying-Fox, Southern Myotis, Little Bentwing-bat, Greater Broad-nosed Bat, Eastern Long-eared Bat, Spotted-tailed Quoll.) Confirmed on site are the Koala, Little Lorikeet and Hairy Joint Grass.
Over 2000 native trees have self sown and been nurtured as they have grown. These are predominately forest red gum and pink bloodwood.
The property owner began daily monitoring of koalas on the property using nose pattern recognition to identify individuals in 2014. Data is collected in a relational electronic database and reports are refined annually, providing information about the colony. January 2017 saw record-breaking sighting numbers on the property with 90 koala sightings, where the previous year there had been 19. The high sighting numbers have continued and there are 8 resident koalas using the property. This information including photos is also used for community engagement and education via the KoalaGardens popular Facebook page.
Topography affects the presence of the open eucalypt canopy with diverse herbs, native grass and scattered shrubs in the understorey. Further down the gully, in the south east of the property, the species composition shifts to dry rainforest. The sclerophyll vegetation is associated with Aboriginal land management along walking trails in the Northern Rivers. This cultural landscape needs active maintenance as the lack of burning and removal of livestock is leading to an expansion of trees and shrubs. Consequently, without management, there could be a loss of grass habitat including that of the Hairy Joint Grass, which tends to appear in open areas near soaks.
The outcomes of this project are to ensure professional strategic management techniques as described in the Property Management Plan are followed to improve the stability of the ecosystem; and provide breeding opportunities for two threatened species – Little Lorikeet and Squirrel Glider.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PROJECT
The property owner already carries out a comprehensive weed control and maintenance work program on the property and will continue to do so in the future going forward. Project funding will be used to add to the personal commitment already made to pay a professional regenerator to attend the property. Works subject to this grant application and ongoing work on the property will be informed by the comprehensive activities plan that has been developed by experts at Southern Cross University, professional regenerators and ecologists involving:
- Eradicating weeds in western zone, which is identified as the highest priority as it is an in situ weeds source.
- Team prep day including hand control around native trees
- Spray remaining weeds
- Maintenance sprays at appropriate intervals
- Specialised weed control in sensitive areas such as rainforest and amongst young native trees including:
- Monthly spot spraying and hand removal in paddock areas
- Bi-monthly spot spraying and hand removal inside rainforest and gullies
- Tri-monthly spot spraying and hand removal in rainforest during winter.
- Hand clearing and stem injection of vines and woody weeds as required.
- Advising the property owner on priorities and strategies to be taken between each paid visit. This will empower the property owner to carry out routine weed control through expert advice and consultation regularly.
- Strategic placement of nesting boxes in consultation with Ross Goldingay of Southern Cross University. Ross has and will continue in an advisory capacity to provide pro bono email and phone support. Environmental Science student will install nesting boxes with the property owner as field assistant as follows:
- Four clusters of three glider boxes, 100m between clusters (twelve boxes)
- Ten individual little parrot boxes scattered across more open areas and into rainforest area
- Monitoring of nesting boxes byEnvironmental Science student , with property owner as field assistant under advice from Ross Goldingay as follows:
- Routine monitoring according to species with extra monitoring visit each year allowed for after severe weather if needed
- Monitoring will be conducted byEnvironmental Science student and field assistant with the use of an endoscope when appropriate for safety and minimal disturbance
- Other Southern Cross University students will be made welcome to observe or assist conducting monitoring activities