CAMPBELLTOWN KOALA POPULATION
Many studies and reports into the regional contextuality and connectivity of the koala populations in Campbelltown and Appin have been undertaken by various levels of Government and have been the subject of long-term community interest.
Read the ‘Conserving Koalas in the Wollondilly and Campbelltown Local Government Areas’ or visit Campbelltown City Council’s ‘Koalatown’ website for further information on the local koala population.
To sustain the growth and health of the Campbelltown koala population, Lendlease are embedding five key koala principles into the new Mount Gilead community.
Key Koala Principles
- Deliver a net positive benefit and legacy for the Campbelltown koala population
- Enhance connectivity between the Georges and Nepean Rivers
- Making Appin Road safer for people and koalas
- Educate our residents and visitors
- Play our part in Campbelltown’s Koala-town advocacy
Continual grazing of livestock erodes the ecological value of the native bushland. Removing grazing and implementing bushland rehabilitation programs, will result in enhancement of moderate quality bushland areas, while protecting areas of existing high-quality bushland areas will result in an overall increase in quality native vegetation across the site. Independent reviews of the overall changes to the quality and size of bushland areas across the site post development and the subsequent deviations to the theoretical koala carrying capacity of the site in development and non-development (continued agriculture) scenarios, predicts a net increase in the koala carrying capacity of the land.
The predicted increases to the extent of koala habitat and the resulting carrying capacity on the Mount Gilead property are achieved by the commencement of active conservation management in May 2020, which will:
- Restore areas of cleared land in registered and proposed biobank sites in Stage 1 and Stage 2 respectively, to higher quality remnant vegetation
- The return of tree canopy to derived grassland/shrubland in biobank areas
- Plant new koala browse species (Forest Red Gum, Grey Box, Grey Gum and White Stringybark) and other species indicative of Cumberland Plain Woodland and Shale Sandstone Transition Forest in open space areas
The basic ecological principle of wildlife habitat networks and corridors, involves linking and improving connectivity between patches of core habitat in a fragmented landscape. Accordingly, wildlife corridors must provide functional connectivity for the target flora and fauna species to move through the fragmented landscape to larger core habitat patches.
The five kilometres corridor between the Nepean and Georges Rivers, is regionally a critical connection to secure the long-term survival of Campbelltown’s koalas: our conservation strategy protects and enhances this key wildlife corridor through the project. The Woodhouse and Nepean Creek wildlife corridor follows narrow creeks highly incised through the sandstone escarpment, currently as narrow as 100 metres.
Connectivity will be enhanced in the following ways:
- The Woodhouse & Nepean creek corridors will be protected in land tenure and extensive bushland restoration will see substantive improvements in the quality of the bushland
- Connectivity corridors will be expanded, so the minimum width is double to 200 metres
- Crossing structures will be installed across Appin Road
- Native vegetation areas on the Eastern side of Appin Road, controlled by Lendlease will be protected in land tenure
By securing the corridor between the Nepean and Georges Rivers, a greatly enhanced connectivity outcome will be secured in comparison to the published position of the NSW Government, where koalas will need to travel to Appin before a safe opportunity to cross Appin Road.
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Read the Corridor Reports and Conserving Koalas in the Wollondilly and Campeblltown Local Government Areas.
As well as posing safety concerns for motorists, Appin Road is one of the most pressing threats to the koala population; each year three to four koalas are victims of vehicle strikes. In addition to the ongoing safety concerns for motorists, Lendlease acknowledges the potential increased risk for vehicle strikes during the construction of the road upgrade.
To minimise risks to koala and to retain connectivity across Appin Road, Lendlease will install wildlife exclusion fencing along Appin Road and is seeking approvals to install steel koalas bridges at Noorumba Reserve and Beulah Reserve to retain connectivity. The bridges will be delivered in the first phase of work on Appin Road, with a fauna survey program studying the effectiveness of the koala bridges to be undertaken once the bridges and fencing is in place.
To enhance connectivity across Appin, Lendlease is proposing a long-term solution by constructing a 40-metre long underpass to further improve connectivity between the Nepean and Georges Rivers, as part of the creation of the Woodhouse and Nepean Creek wildlife corridor.
Future residents play an important role in growing Campbelltown’s koala population, by practicing responsible pet ownership. To support our residents, Lendlease has funded a series of educational programs on the benefits of responsible pet ownership and at Figtree Hill, all off-leash dogs parks will be fully fenced and signage in open space areas will remind residents and visitors about the importance of protecting native animals.
Our youngest residents also have an important role to play. Lendlease is providing educational opportunities for local students through great programs such as StreamWatch & National Tree Day; in partnership with wildlife rescue and care groups.
In partnership with leading conservation organisations, Lendlease is establishing koala corridors, bushland restoration programs, wildlife monitoring and other training and volunteer initiatives, that will provide residents and visitors with opportunities to be actively involved in the conservation of koalas. By increasing awareness and understanding about koalas, Lendlease is encouraging residents and visitors to become advocates for the health and growth of Campbelltown’s koalas.
If you’re interested in becoming an advocate for Campbelltown’s koalas, register to become a Campbelltown Koalatown supporter here or if you would like to volunteer within the local area visit the Conservation Volunteers Australia website.