Key areas of koala habitat in the Lismore area will be restored with the help of volunteer Green Army participants.
Tregeagle Landcare, which has operated for 25 years, has received a $20,000 federal government grant to restore ridges leading to Tucki Tucki and Boggy Creeks, as well as lowland rainforest along the creek at Connor Road, Tregeagle.
The Tregeagle restoration project will improve existing koala habitat and connectivity as well as rejuvenate eucalypt and rainforest ecosystems and improve water quality in the creeks.
Tregeagle Landcare president Jim Kinkead said the projects would help provide local koalas with ‘a safe and undisturbed breeding and feeding highway’.
‘We will also use some of the grant funding for a field day that will engage school children, landholders and others to learn and become involved in Landcare activities at Tregeagle,’ he said.
Meanwhile, two Green Army projects will assist Lismore’s south-eastern koala population, which is struggling to survive from a lack of genetic diversity and the constant threat of habitat loss, dog attacks, road injuries and disease.
One new Green Army team will work with Friends of the Koala in their plant nursery to grow koala food trees.
These trees will be given to people who wish to expand koala habitat on their properties and help increase connectivity.
The team will also undertake weed control and tree planting at the Southern Cross University campus and help out with community education events and koala counts.
Friends of the Koala Trees Officer Mark Wilson said one of the biggest threats to koalas was loss of habitat and the Green Army team would provide a great boost to the creation of koala habitat on the north coast.
‘The loss of their bushland habitat often forces koalas into small ‘pockets’ of trees surrounded by houses, dogs and roads,’ Mr Wilson said.
‘The aim of the project with the Green Army is to try and link these pockets of habitat to provide wildlife corridors and enable safe movement of koalas and other native animals.’
The second Green Army team will work with Lismore City Council to control invasive weeds, which limit koala movements and block access to food trees.
The participants will be planting trees and learning plant propagation as well as attending local community Landcare events.
The three projects are supported through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program and the Australian Government’s Green Army Program.
Page MP Kevin Hogan announced the projects today.
‘I congratulate the Tregeagle Landcare group for this very impressive project to restore koala habitat and provide numerous other environment benefits for our community,’ Mr Hogan said.
Green Army is voluntary and participant receive accredited training and are paid an allowance. They participant for 30 hours per week.
Green Army projects are also currently operation from Byron Bay and Ballina. Applications will open soon for participant in the next round of projects. Details at http://www.envite.org.au/Green-Army-Intro.html