MidCoast Council has outlined the steps it will take to repair and restore sensitive estuary and coastal eco-systems in the wake of last year's devastating bushfires.
The council has received $913,719 under the NSW Government's bushfire affected coastal waterways program to undertake emergency environmental works such as weed removal, propagation and replanting of native species and provision of nest boxes and other habitat measures.
"The bushfires that swept through the Mid Coast region in late 2019 have had a significant impact on the natural environment, with some local populations of species possibly approaching an extinction threshold in this area," a report prepared by council's director of liveable communities, Paul De Szell says.
"Habitat loss and fragmentation as a result of the fires is the main contributing factor to this threshold but can be addressed by ensuring that existing vegetation communities such as littoral rainforest and coastal wetlands are healthy and resilient so they can cope with the added pressure of increased utilisation by native fauna and a myriad of edged effects.
"It is imperative that these areas are maintained in a weed free condition so that they can provide a native seed bank which is critical to maintaining the genetic integrity, structure and composition of these ecosystems."
Council's project funded under the grant aims to restore burnt littoral rainforest, coastal wetlands and other native forest communities located on 2364 hectares of council managed land within 35 reserves in the coastal zone.
The project also aims to increase the resilience of other nearby council managed areas not directly affected by the bushfires by controlling invasive environmental weeds which in turn reduce the threat of weeds re-infesting those areas recovering from the bushfires.
These areas will also provide a refugia for displaced fauna while burnt areas recover.
Council proposes to undertake these projects with volunteer groups such as Manning Coastcare and Hallidays Point Landcare. It will also support the bushfire recovery efforts of other government agencies such as National Parks and Wildlife and wildlife rescue groups such as Koalas in Care.
Across the 35 nominated coastal reserves council plans to undertake:
- Post-fire audits and action planning
- Systematic removal of high priority weeds
- Seed collection, propagation and replanting of local native plant species, including koala food trees
- Installation of nest boxes and other supplementary habitat measures for displaced and affected fauna
- Partipation in on-ground activities by local volunteer groups, and
- Monitoring the recovery of the reserves using photo-points and motion-sensor cameras.
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