Funding was received in 2016 through the NSW Environmental Trust to restore Koala habitat and connectivity between remnants on public land in East Lismore. The project, Enhancing refuges & corridors for threatened species in Lismore, is funded for three years and covers seven sites with a total of 28 hectares targeted for restoration works. The total value of the project is $99,000.
This project will take a strategic approach to increasing habitat connectivity between Koala populations surviving on the urban fringe from Southern Cross University (SCU) to the Wilson River. By minimising risks to dispersing koalas and facilitating movement between core koala habitats, genetic integrity will be maintained, with an aim of establishing a more resilient population. The protection of this corridor connection is assured due to linkages being formed between protected reserves and areas that are too steep or flood prone to warrant development.
Immediate success will see a reduction in weed densities enabling unrestricted movement by Koalas between food trees. It is anticipated that there will be an increase in Koalas using the SCU to Wilson River riparian corridor with greater habitat connectivity between urban & rural populations. Success will be evident when current and proposed koala corridor projects begin to link. Long term success would see a gradual decline in the number of koalas coming into care suffering from stress related disorders and trauma caused by dogs and motor vehicles.
Green Army are assisting by planting Koala Food Trees in areas void of vegetation and by distributing Koala Facts and Responsible Dog Ownership brochures to homes adjoining the SCU estate.
Community and school education forms an important component of the project. Landowners adjoining restoration areas will be encouraged to be proactive in the fight to minimise weeds, specifically ‘garden escapees’. Three schools, all with Koalas in their school grounds, will be involved. These schools are Albert Park, Wilson Park and Wyrallah Road Public Schools.
Project partners are Southern Cross University, Lismore City Council, NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, Lismore Workers Golf Club and Rous Water.