$254,000 to Protect Koalas Throughout Byron Shire
PROTECTION OF koalas and improving their habitat will be a primary focus of Byron Shire Council over the next three years thanks to $140,000 in grants from the NSW Government through its Environmental Trust and the Saving our Species program.
Clare Manning, Byron Shire’s Biodiversity Officer, said the grants will be supported with a $114,000 contribution from Council and will fund the Byron Habitats Corridors project.
“Koalas have been recorded over much of the shire and like populations in other parts of NSW, their future is precarious because of habitat loss or fragmentation and the threat from road-strikes, domestic dogs and bushfire,” Ms Manning said.
“Koalas are listed as Vulnerable and are a protected species under the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974 and the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Conservation Act 1999,” she said.
“To be able to allocate $254,000 directly to koala conservation is a win for our community which places a high value on koalas.
“A koala habitat study in 2012 identified five areas of significant koala activity on the coast at Brunswick Heads, Tyagarah, Myocum, West Mullumbimby, West Byron as well as populations in the hinterland around Federal, Goonengerry, Wilson Creek and Montecollum,” she said.
Byron Shire Council’s Comprehensive Koala Plan of Management, which was adopted in August 2016, aims to create a minimum of 200ha of koala habitat by 2020 and these NSW Government grants will allow for 10ha of habitat restoration and wildlife corridor enhancement.
“This land stretches from Shara Boulevard at North Ocean Shores to west Mullumbimby, Tyagarah and Bangalow and an important part of this project will be to encourage private land owners to work with Council to improve koala habitat,” Ms Manning said.
“At Bangalow we will be working on revegetating land at our sewerage treatment plant which will be a key link in the koala and wildlife corridor,” she said.
“The grant money will also be used for community education programs designed to reduce koala road strike and improve responsible dog ownership.
Byron Shire Council is employing a part-time project officer to work on the Byron Habitats Corridors project.