Work begins on the Kamilaroi Guda Koalas Project
North West Local Land Services would like to announce that on ground work will begin this month on the Kamilaroi Guda Koalas project. The project was officially launched by Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley with local member for Parkes Mark Coulton back in November 2021.
$1 million worth of investment is going towards this project which is targeted at increasing and enhancing koala habitat to provide refugia in a changing climate. Gunnedah’s koalas have been in serious decline since at least 2008 largely attributed to prolonged heatwaves in summer and drought. It is thought that with stressed and dehydrated animals, this may be influencing the rate of infections of chlamydia and therefore further population declines.
To mitigate these impacts, this project was developed to target an area that will be important for koala populations in a changing climate. The area between Carroll and Gunnedah adjacent to the Namoi River has been identified as the target due to proximity to permanent water and existing remnant native vegetation. By enhancing these areas, this will give the koala population the best chance of survival and recovery. Project activities include:
- 15 hectares of revegetation to include additional shelter species and diversity of size and age of trees
- 260 hectares will be treated to reduce priority weeds that impact koala movement
- Provide permanent and safe water for koala and wildlife drinking
- Remediating riparian areas for improved habitat and access to river for koalas
- On ground work will be predominately on crown land such as travelling stock reserves with a smaller amount being on private land.
The project has a significant cultural heritage component which includes the employment of an Aboriginal Community Support Officer who will work closely with the community to increase awareness and engagement in the project and about koalas. Initial consultation with the community recognised that the Kamilaroi/Gamilaary word for koala should be used, hence including the word ”guda”. Cultural heritage surveys will be conducted over project sites where there will be any ground disturbance such as tree planting. There will also be opportunities for aboriginal communities to get out on country and assist with fauna surveying with an ecologist. Other cultural activities such as cultural burning will be considered where appropriate.
In addition to the improvement of habitat for koalas, the work on TSRs will maintain and improve the quality and usage of these areas. Again, proving that it is possible for native species to thrive in agricultural landscapes if managed.
All work will be completed by June 2023.
For more information, please contact Angela Baker, Senior Land Services Officer, Gunnedah on firstname.lastname@example.org or 0429 368 693
This project is supported by North West Local Land Services, through funding from the Australian Government’s Environment Restoration Fund.
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