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May 11, 2021

Rare good news for endangered Pottsville koalas

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A koala in a newly planted tree shows how restoring koala habitat can help populations recover. Photo Tweed Shire Council
A koala in a newly planted tree shows how restoring koala habitat can help populations recover. Photo Tweed Shire Council

A new $270,000 project koala in the Pottsville Wetland offers the first glimmer of hope for the endangered species in the area for some time.

At an onsite announcement earlier this week, NSW environment minister Mark Speakman said the NSW Environmental Trust would provide a grant of $99,283 over three years towards the project.

Tweed Shire Council will fund the balance through a cash and in-kind contribution of $170,000.

The project aims to encourage community involvement to help protect and restore koala habitat,

Council’s community and natural resources director Tracey Stinson welcomed the sate government funding.

‘The Tweed Coast’s koala community was recently declared endangered by the NSW Scientific Committee, which just highlights the importance of projects such as this,’ Ms Stinson said.

‘Pottsville Wetland is a unique environmental asset at the back door of the Pottsville community that provides critical habitat for the declining Tweed Coast koala population,’ she added.

‘As part of this project, we will encourage the active involvement of neighbours of the Pottsville Wetland and the broader community, so we can work together to protect and enhance Pottsville Wetland and its koalas.’

‘As a bonus, this project will also benefit a host of other threatened species and Endangered Ecological Communities at this site as well as complementing similar actions Council is undertaking across 268 hectares of its adjoining coastal koala reserve system at Pottsville,’ she said.

The project aims to:

  • Increase primary koala habitat within and adjacent to the Pottsville Wetland
  • Reduce threats to koalas from domestic dogs
  • Reduce threats to other threatened fauna (such as ground nesting birds) from foxes and cats
  • Improve habitat condition and reduce weeds
  • Improve fire management
  • Involve the community and schools through koala conservation activities

This project will form part of the overall Comprehensive Koala Plan of Management, which council hopes will help the Tweed Coast koala population recover to more sustainable levels over the next 20 years. For more information see www.tweed.nsw.gov.au/Koalas

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  1. The Threatened Species Conservation Society Inc wishes to thank the Tweed Shire Council and NSW Environment Minister for financial assistance towards mitigation of not only the threats that the Pottsville Wetlands Black Rocks koalas currently face but also what they will face in the future if the proposed Dunloe Park urban development (up to 6,000 people) and Kellehers Road as the link to the coast are approved.

    The Pottsville Wetlands – Black Rocks koala population is one of 3 cells on the coast identified by the Tweed Coast Koala Habitat Study 2011. This cell ‘is the key to the southern corridor and is therefore particularly important to the survival of the Tweed coast koala as a whole, especially as the corridors are effectively cut off to the north’ [Dr Phillips, 7/3/2015].

    TSCS suggests that the most effective investment that can be made towards giving the Pottsville Wetlands – Black Rocks koala population the best chance of survival would be to revegetate the Black Rocks sports field in order to remove this 4.67ha koala-impactive gap in the middle of the Pottsville Wetlands, and also to remove the 1.5km of exposed koala habitat along the edges of the sports field and access road.

    This gap would then be replaced with a 4.67ha large primary koala food tree sanctuary in the middle of the Pottsville Wetlands at the junction of 3 koala linkages, and facilitate the dispersal of gene diversity which will provide a significant contribution to combating inbreeding and disease. The small vulnerable koala population could then be ‘left in peace, nurtured and allowed (or even assisted) to recover to more sustainable levels and create an ecologically important habitat block that will make a meaningful contribution to the recovery needs of the Tweed Coast koala population’ [Dr Steve Phillips, 21/3/2016].

  2. Well then Tracey why not revegetate Black Rocks sports oval? Lock the gate permanently and you will create a large habitat block in the middle of a critical corridor and protect koalas from dogs and human-caused episodic noise events that lead to fatal chlamydia. Don’t just talk about it, do it!!! We’ve already lost 6 koalas to chlamydia adjacent to the sports field and council has clearly no comprehension that paramotoring, petrol-fuelled model aeroplanes, trail bikes and hooning, along with all the koala-impactive (not to mention osprey and bush-stone curlew impacting) activities.
    Then again maybe this is just another feel-good story with no substance designed to make council look good so no tough questions are asked? Questions like why did Tweed Coast koalas become extinct on your watch?
    And you could have done more but you didn’t – why not?
    See http://www.blackrockskoalas.org for more.


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