The origins and evolution of the Tweed’s amazing Gondwanan rainforests as well as details on how Council is helping to manage threatened species in the Shire will be the subject of a free community event next week.
As part of efforts to raise awareness of the Tweed’s threatened species, Council will host the free session on Friday 16 September from 5.30 pm at the Tweed Regional Museum in Murwillumbah. The event will detail the plight of the Tweed’s threatened species and the work being undertaken to conserve them.
The night will showcase a range of speakers including botanist and ecologist Dr Robert Kooyman, PhD candidate at the University of the Sunshine Coast Aaron Brunton, Council’s Biodiversity Projects & Planning Officer Marama Hopkins and Tweed Regional Museum curator Erika Taylor.
Discussion will include:
the origin, evolution and assembly of our amazing Gondwanan forests
an example of how we are managing one important threatened species vital for the health of these forests
research being undertaken to model the impacts of climate change on one local threatened plant species to help us conserve it into the future.
Spaces are limited and bookings are essential. Light refreshments provided. Please book online at tweed.nsw.gov.au/native-plants-wildlife.
The event will follow the marking of National Threatened Species Day on Wednesday 7 September which is a timely reminder of the need to protect the Tweed’s threatened species including, koalas, Bush Stone-curlews, platypuses and flying-foxes.
The day is noted across the country to raise awareness of plants and animals at risk of extinction and Council’s dedicated staff have achieved great results in their efforts to protect the Tweed’s internationally significant environment.
Since 2009, 281 grants under Council’s Biodiversity Grant Program have restored 300 hectares of habitat on private land. The program has helped conserve iconic threatened plant and animal species such as the koala, grey-headed flying fox and Coolamon rainforest tree.
Additionally, since its launch in 2013, Council’s Land for Wildlife program has helped 202 private landholders conserve around 15% of the Tweed’s natural habitat. This habitat provides a home for dozens of threatened plant and animal species and several threatened ecological communities.
To highlight how important the environment is to Council and the community, more than 350 people recently helped shape the future of the Tweed’s natural environment by participating in a community survey.
Council’s Senior Program Leader – Biodiversity Scott Benitez Hetherington was appreciative of the level of interest from the community.
“The input from these surveys will be used to prepare a new conservation strategy for the Tweed that will set our plan to protect our natural environment, manage our land and deal with conservation issues,” Mr Benitez Hetherington said.
“At Council, our commitment is to work together with the community to reduce our impact on the natural environment and especially our threatened species. This National Threatened Species Day is an opportunity to draw attention to many of our native species who need our help.”
Some examples of Council’s work in this area include:
Council has been working with landholders and community groups to plant more than 55,000 trees providing 62 hectares of new koala habitat since adopting the Tweed Coast Koala Plan of Management in 2015. And koalas are using them! Monitoring has shown koalas to be using around 80% of the sites, some as soon as 18 months after planting.
Through monitoring and active management of the Tweed population of Bush Stone-curlews by Council and the community, these unique, threatened, ground nesting birds have seen a positive increase in breeding pairs and number of chicks surviving. Last breeding season a total of 41 breeding pairs were identified – a significant increase on the 31 pairs recorded during the previous season. Council is providing enhanced habitat at 4 known breeding and foraging locations on the coast for these iconic birds.
Platypuses are listed as ‘near threatened’ in Australia however, there is little information on the animal’s population size or trends in the Tweed. Council’s River Health Grants have invested more than $2 million across 200 properties since 2006 to restore riparian vegetation and manage bank erosion throughout the Shire. These projects have led to water quality and habitat improvements and help protect platypus habitat.
In the Tweed, we are lucky to have grey-headed flying-foxes which are recognised as ‘vulnerable’ to extinction, and black flying-foxes helping pollinate our trees and disperse seeds to regenerate forests. Over the past 3 years, Council has received State and Federal funding to restore more than 6 hectares of lowland rainforest habitat in collaboration with landholders, improved and created more than 1 hectare of forest at Cudgerie Reserve, Pottsville for flying-foxes to roost and feed in, and is working with a landholder and Tweed Landcare at Kynnumboon to create and restore 4 hectares of foraging and roost habitat over the next 8 years.
Call Friends of the Koala on 02 6622 1233 to report a sick or injured koala or report koala sightings at tweed.nsw.gov.au/koalas. Report sightings of Bush Stone-curlews at tweed.nsw.gov.au/bush-stone-curlews.
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