Hawks Nest and Tea Gardens Endangered Koala - (Phascolarctos cinereus) Population

 
Hawks Nest and Tea Gardens Endangered Koala - (Phascolarctos cinereus) Population
Approved NSW
        Recovery Plan

Hawks Nest and Tea Gardens
    Endangered Koala
  (Phascolarctos cinereus)
        Population
           July 2003
© NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, 2003.

This work is copyright. However, material presented in this plan may be copied for personal use or published for educational
purposes, providing that any extracts are fully acknowledged. Apart from this and any other use as permitted under the
Copyright Act 1968, no part may be reproduced without prior written permission from NPWS.

NSW Department of Environment and Conservation
43 Bridge Street
(PO Box 1967)
Hurstville NSW 2220
Tel: 02 9585 6444
www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au

Requests for information or comments regarding the recovery program for the Hawks Nest and Tea Gardens Endangered Koala
Population are best directed to:
Hawks Nest and Tea Gardens Koala Recovery Co-ordinator
Threatened Species Unit, North East Branch
NSW Department of Environment and Conservation
Locked Bag 914
Coffs Harbour NSW 2450
Tel 02 6651 9460

Cover illustration: Koala, with the Singing Bridge joining Hawks Nest and Tea Gardens in the background.

Illustrator: Lyn Skillings

This Recovery Plan should be cited as follows:

NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service 2003, Approved Recovery Plan for the Hawks Nest and Tea Gardens Endangered Koala
(Phascolarctos cinereus) Population, NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service, Hurstville.

ISBN 0 7313 6700 6
Approved Recovery Plan                                       Hawks Nest and Tea Gardens Koalas

Recovery Plan for the Hawks Nest
and Tea Gardens Endangered Koala
(Phascolarctos cinereus) Population

Foreword
This document constitutes the formal New South Wales State Recovery Plan for the Hawks Nest and Tea
Gardens Endangered Koala Population and, as such, considers the conservation requirements of the
population. It identifies the actions to be taken to ensure the long-term viability of the population in nature
and the parties who will undertake these actions.

The Hawks Nest and Tea Gardens Koala Population is listed as an Endangered Population under the New
South Wales Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995. The Hawks Nest and Tea Gardens Koala Population
is known from, and in the immediate vicinity of, the towns of Hawks Nest and Tea Gardens in the Great
Lakes Local Government Area. Property within the boundary of the Hawks Nest and Tea Gardens
Endangered Koala Population is held under a variety of tenures, including national parks estate, crown
reserves and private and freehold land. Some of this land is designated SEPP 14 – Coastal Wetland and
SEPP 26 – Littoral Rainforest.

The future recovery actions detailed in this Recovery Plan include habitat protection and rehabilitation,
protection of existing Koalas and community education and awareness.

It is intended that this Recovery Plan will be implemented over a three year period. Actions will be
undertaken by the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service and Great Lakes Council with support from
the Hawks Nest and Tea Gardens community.

LISA CORBYN                                                                 BOB DEBUS MP
Director-General                                                            Minister for the Environment

Department of Environment and Conservation (NSW)                                                    Page i
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Table of Contents
Foreword ............................................................................................................................................i
Table of Contents...............................................................................................................................ii
1 Introduction ...............................................................................................................................1
2 Legislative Context......................................................................................................................1
  2.1    Legal status .....................................................................................................................................................................1
  2.2    Recovery plan preparation and implementation..................................................................................................1
  2.3    Relationship to other legislation..............................................................................................................................2
3 Species Information .....................................................................................................................3
  3.1    Description and taxonomy.........................................................................................................................................3
  3.2    Distribution....................................................................................................................................................................3
  3.3    Land tenure ....................................................................................................................................................................5
  3.4    Habitat.............................................................................................................................................................................5
  3.5    Ecology.............................................................................................................................................................................6
  3.6    Ability of population to recover ...............................................................................................................................6
4 Threats and Management Issues ...................................................................................................7
  4.1    Current threats..............................................................................................................................................................7
  4.2    Potential threats ...........................................................................................................................................................8
5 Previous Recovery Actions...........................................................................................................9
  5.1    Tree preservation..........................................................................................................................................................9
  5.2    Habitat mapping and environmental studies..................................................................................................... 10
  5.3    Dog control.................................................................................................................................................................. 10
  5.4    Wildlife rehabilitation groups................................................................................................................................ 10
  5.5    Public awareness......................................................................................................................................................... 10
  5.6    Catchment management ......................................................................................................................................... 11
6 Proposed Recovery Objectives, Actions and Performance Criteria..................................................11
7 Implementation.........................................................................................................................16
8 Social and Economic Consequences ............................................................................................16
9 Biodiversity Benefits..................................................................................................................16
10 Preparation Details....................................................................................................................16
11 Review Date .............................................................................................................................17
12 Acknowledgments.....................................................................................................................17
13 References.................................................................................................................................17
14 Acronyms Used in this Document ..............................................................................................19
15 Implementation Schedule...........................................................................................................20
Appendix 1 Public Authority Responsibilities ....................................................................................22
Appendix 2 Summary of Advice from the NSW Scientific Committee .................................................23
Appendix 3 Koala Habitat Definitions...............................................................................................24

Figures
Figure 1. Location of the Hawks Nest and Tea Gardens Endangered Koala Population.............................................4
Figure 2. Recognised road mortality blackspots for the Koala in Hawks Nest...............................................................9

Tables
Table 1. Estimated costs of implementing the actions identified in the Hawks Nest and Tea Gardens
         Endangered Koala Population Recovery Plan..................................................................................................... 20

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Approved Recovery Plan                                     Hawks Nest and Tea Gardens Koalas

1     Introduction                                      requirements for both the matters to be addressed by
                                                        Recovery Plans and the process for preparing
The Koala (Phascolarctos cinereus Goldfuss 1817) is a   Recovery Plans. This Recovery Plan satisfies these
large arboreal folivore that occupies a wide but        provisions.
fragmented range in eastern Australia. In New
South Wales (NSW) it is listed as a Vulnerable          The TSC Act requires that a government agency
Species under the Threatened Species Conservation Act   must not undertake actions inconsistent with a
1995 (TSC Act).                                         Recovery Plan. The actions identified in this plan
                                                        for the recovery of the Hawks Nest and Tea Gardens
The Hawks Nest and Tea Gardens Koala Population         Endangered Koala Population are the responsibility
is listed as an Endangered Population under the TSC     of the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service
Act. Threats to this population include habitat         (NPWS) and Great Lakes Council (GLC). Other
destruction and fragmentation, mortalities from         public     authorities    may       have     statutory
vehicle collisions and attacks by domestic and wild     responsibilities relevant to the conservation and
Dogs (Canis familiaris) (NSW Scientific Committee       protection of the Hawks Nest and Tea Gardens
2000a). This document constitutes the formal            Endangered Koala Population. Public authorities
Recovery Plan for the population. It identifies the     with core legislative responsibilities relevant to the
actions to be taken to ensure the long-term viability   protection and management of the Hawks Nest and
of the population in nature and the parties who will    Tea Gardens Endangered Koala Population and its
undertake these actions.                                habitat are listed in Appendix 1.
The attainment of this Recovery Plan’s objectives is    The Threatened Species Conservation Amendment Act
subject to budgetary and other constraints affecting    2002 states that an approved Recovery Plan must
the parties involved. The information in this           include a summary of advice given by the Scientific
Recovery Plan is accurate to June 2003.                 Committee with respect to the plan, details of any
                                                        amendments made to the plan to take account of
This Recovery Plan is supplementary to the              that advice and a statement of the reasons for any
Statewide Recovery Plan for the Koala (‘the             departure from that advice. This summary is
Statewide plan’), which was exhibited in February       provided in Appendix 2.
2003, and should be consulted for broader
information regarding recovery of the species in        Critical Habitat
NSW.                                                    The TSC Act makes provision for the identification
                                                        and declaration of Critical Habitat for species,
2     Legislative Context                               populations and ecological communities listed as
                                                        Endangered. Once declared, it becomes an offence
2.1   Legal status
                                                        to damage Critical Habitat (unless the action is
The Koala is listed as Vulnerable on the TSC Act        specifically exempted by the TSC Act) and a Species
and as Rare on the South Australian National Parks      Impact Statement (SIS) is mandatory for all
and Wildlife Act 1972.                                  developments and activities proposed within
                                                        Critical Habitat.
The Hawks Nest and Tea Gardens Koala Population
was listed as an Endangered Population on the TSC       To date, Critical Habitat has not been declared for
Act in 1999. It was the second Koala population to      the Hawks Nest and Tea Gardens Endangered Koala
be listed as Endangered in NSW following the listing    Population under the TSC Act. An assessment of
of the Pittwater Local Government Area (LGA)            Critical Habitat will be undertaken as part of the
Population in 1998.                                     recovery actions included in this plan.
2.2   Recovery    plan         preparation      and     Key Threatening Processes
      implementation                                    As of June 2003 there are 16 Key Threatening
The TSC Act and the NSW Threatened Species              Processes listed on Schedule 3 of the TSC Act. Of
Conservation Amendment Act 2002 (hereafter referred     these, ‘clearing of native vegetation’, ‘high frequency
to jointly as the TSC Act) provide a legislative        fire resulting in the disruption of life cycle processes
framework to protect and encourage the recovery of      in plants and animal and loss of vegetation structure
Endangered and Vulnerable Species, Endangered           and composition’ and ‘invasion of native plant
Populations      and     Endangered      Ecological     communities by Chrysanthemoides monilifera (Bitou
Communities in NSW. Under this legislation the          Bush)’ are relevant to the Hawks Nest and Tea
Director-General of National Parks and Wildlife has     Gardens Koala Population. In addition to these Key
a responsibility to prepare Recovery Plans for all      Threatening Processes, a range of other processes are
species, populations and ecological communities         recognised as threatening the survival of Koalas in
listed as Endangered or Vulnerable on the TSC Act       the Hawks Nest and Tea Gardens area.
schedules.     The TSC Act includes specific
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Approved Recovery Plan                                         Hawks Nest and Tea Gardens Koalas

Consultation with indigenous people                        Act) or licensed by the NPWS under the NPW Act
Local Aboriginal Land Councils, Elders and other           or TSC Act.
groups representing indigenous people in the areas
                                                           Owners of private property with significant habitat
where the Hawks Nest and Tea Gardens Koala
                                                           values for the Hawks Nest and Tea Gardens Koala
Population occurs have been identified and copies of
                                                           Population may enter into Voluntary Conservation
the draft Recovery Plan were sent to them. It is the
                                                           Agreements (VCAs) under the NPW Act whereby
intention of the NPWS to consider the role and
                                                           the NPWS can provide assistance in the protection
interests of these indigenous communities in the
                                                           and management of these values on the property.
implementation of the actions identified in this
                                                           Properties under VCAs may qualify for rate
plan.
                                                           exemptions.
Licensing
                                                           Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979
Any activity not requiring development consent
                                                           This Act provides for the consideration of the
under the NSW Environmental Planning and                   Hawks Nest and Tea Gardens Koala Population in
Assessment Act 1979 (EP&A Act) or the NSW                  land use planning issues. Areas providing important
Native Vegetation Conservation Act 1997 (NVC Act),         habitat for the Hawks Nest and Tea Gardens Koala
which is likely to harm the Hawks Nest and Tea             Population can be protected under appropriate
Gardens Koala Population, or damage its habitat,           environmental zoning in Local Environmental
requires a licence from the NPWS under the                 Plans prepared under Part 3 of the EP&A Act.
provisions of the TSC Act or NSW National Parks            Certain State Environmental Planning Policy
and Wildlife Act 1974 (NPW ACT) as a defence               Policies (SEPPs) (Part 3 EP&A Act) also affords a
against prosecution. If the impact is likely to be         level of protection to some areas of the Hawks Nest
significant, a SIS is required.                            and Tea Gardens Koala Population habitat. These
                                                           include SEPP 14 and SEPP 71.
Other conservation measures
The TSC Act includes provision for other measures          Consent and determining authorities are required to
that may be taken to conserve the Hawks Nest and           consider potential impacts on the Hawks Nest and
Tea Gardens Koala Population and its habitat,              Tea Gardens Koala Population and its habitat when
including the making of a Stop Work Order or Joint         considering an activity or development proposal
Management Agreement.                                      under Part 4 or Part 5 of the EP&A Act. An action
                                                           included in this Recovery Plan is the preparation
2.3     Relationship to other legislation                  and dissemination of environmental impact
Additional legislation relevant to the conservation        assessment guidelines for the Hawks Nest and Tea
and recovery of the Hawks Nest and Tea Gardens             Gardens Koala Population, to assist consent and
Koala Population in NSW includes the following:            determining authorities and environmental
                                                           consultants in undertaking tests of significance
•     National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974;                under Section 5a of the EP&A Act.
•     Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979;
                                                           Where a consent or determining authority considers
•     Local Government Act 1993;                           that a proposed development or activity may result
•     Native Vegetation Conservation Act 1997;             in a significant effect on the Hawks Nest and Tea
                                                           Gardens Koala Population or its habitat, a SIS is
•     Rural Fires Act 1997; and                            required to be provided and approval cannot be
•     Rural Fires and Environmental           Assessment   granted without the concurrence of the Director-
      Legislation Amendment Act 2002.                      General of National Parks & Wildlife.

The interaction of the above legislation with the          Clause 2 of Provision 10 of the Great Lakes Local
TSC Act with respect to the Hawks Nest and Tea             Environmental Plan (LEP) (Great Lakes Council
Gardens Koala Population is varied. The most               1996) states that a person must not carry out or
significant implications are described below.              permit or direct or cause any ringbarking, cutting
                                                           down, topping, lopping, removing or wilful
National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974                       destruction of any tree or trees to which a tree
The NPW Act is administered by the NPWS. Under             preservation order applies without the consent of
this Act it is an offence to ‘harm’, or knowingly          the Council. Clause 10 of Provision 10 defines a tree
‘damage the habitat of’ the Hawks Nest and Tea             as:
Gardens Koala Population. Certain circumstances            •   vegetation that exceeds three metres in height
may provide a defence from prosecution, including              or, in the case of a cabbage tree palm (Livistona
where actions are approved under the EP&A Act or               australis), that exceeds 0.5 metres in height; or
NSW Native Vegetation Conservation Act 1997 (NVC

Department of Environment and Conservation (NSW)                                                    Page 2
Approved Recovery Plan                                       Hawks Nest and Tea Gardens Koalas

•   vegetation with a trunk girth of 0.3 metres or       Rural Fires Act 1997
    more at one metre above ground level; or             The NSW Rural Fires Act 1997 requires that all
•   all species of mangrove, regardless of size.         parties involved in fire suppression and prevention
                                                         must have regard to the principles of ESD when
Local Government Act 1993                                exercising their functions and when preparing Plans
The NSW Local Government Act 1993 (LG Act)               of Operations and Bush Fire Risk Management
requires councils to have regard for the principles of   Plans. Consideration of the principles of ESD must
ecologically sustainable development (ESD).              include the conservation of biological diversity and
Section 8(1) of the LG Act requires a council to         ecological integrity. Within this, consideration
manage, develop, protect, restore, enhance and           must be given to the impact on threatened species
conserve the environment of the area for which it is     and their habitats, including the Hawks Nest and
responsible, in a manner that is consistent with and     Tea Gardens Koala Population.
promotes the principles of sustainable development.
                                                         Rural Fires and Environmental Assessment
This includes the integration of biodiversity
                                                         Legislation Amendment Act 2002
considerations into the decision-making process.
The LG Act also requires that Recovery Plans be          The NSW Rural Fires and Environmental Assessment
taken into account when preparing management             Legislation Amendment Act 2002 amends the RF Act
plans for community land.                                and several environmental assessment-related Acts.
                                                         This Act provides for mapping bush fire prone lands
Native Vegetation Conservation Act 1997                  and the development of a Bush Fire Environmental
The clearing of native vegetation in NSW is subject      Assessment Code. This code is aimed at
to consent from the Department of Infrastructure,        streamlining the assessment process for hazard
Planning and Natural Resources (DIPNR) in                reduction works. To this end, the code will include
accordance with the NVC Act. This Act is                 general ameliorative prescriptions and, in some
integrated with the EP&A Act, and requires that          cases, species-specific prescriptions. Threatened
threatened species such as the Hawks Nest and Tea        species and their habitats are one of the items
Gardens Koala Population are taken into account by       considered in the code.
DIPNR when considering clearing applications
under Part 4 of the EP&A Act.                            3     Species Information
Where an activity or development that may impact         3.1   Description and taxonomy
upon the Hawks Nest and Tea Gardens Koala                The Koala is the sole member of the family
Population or its habitat is not subject to approval     Phascolarctidae. It is a folivorous arboreal marsupial
under the EP&A Act, an approval may nevertheless         with large furry ears and a vestigial tail. Fur colour
be required under the NVC Act or the TSC Act.            varies from pale grey in the northern parts of its
These approvals should also take this Recovery Plan      range to grey-brown in the south (Martin &
into consideration.                                      Handasyde 1995). The Koala also varies in size
                                                         across its range, from an average of approximately 6.5
Exceptions apply where the proposed activity or          kilograms in Queensland to approximately 12
development is classed as exempt or is undertaken in     kilograms in Victoria. Male Koalas can weigh up to
accordance with previously approved Regional             50% more than females (Martin & Lee 1984).
Vegetation Management Plans or Property
Management Plans. Exemptions not adopted under           3.2   Distribution
a Regional Vegetation Management Plan which may
                                                         The Hawks Nest and Tea Gardens Endangered Koala
result in the harm or pick of threatened species
                                                         Population is known from, and in the immediate
require an approval under the TSC Act.
                                                         vicinity of, the towns of Hawks Nest and Tea
The townships of Hawks Nest and Tea Gardens fall         Gardens in the Great Lakes LGA (Figure 1). The
within the Karuah-Great Lakes Regional Vegetation        population extends in the south-east to Yacaaba
Management area. The committee for this                  Head and in the south-west to the peninsula west of
management area has been formed and a Regional           Winda Woppa. The population extends in the west
Vegetation Management Plan is currently in               and north-west to the outskirts of the builtup area of
preparation.                                             Tea Gardens, including the Shearwater Estate, where
                                                         it is bound by Toonang Drive. The population
Landholders may enter into Property Agreements           extends in the north to an east-west line three
with DIPNR whereby government assistance can be          kilometres north of the northern boundary of the
provided to protect significant native vegetation.       Hawks Nest Golf Course. Occasional sightings have
                                                         been made outside these boundaries.               The
                                                         population is bounded in the south and east by the
                                                         ocean (NSW Scientific Committee 2000a).

Department of Environment and Conservation (NSW)                                                   Page 3
Approved Recovery Plan                                                                Hawks Nest and Tea Gardens Koalas

                                                                                                                           Myall Lakes
                                                                                                                            National
        M
                                                                                                                             Park
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               Ro
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                                             D   ri ve
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                                                                                                  Br
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                                                                                            Mun
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                                                                   y
                                                                  M

                                                                                      Hawks
                                           Tea
                                           Gardens                                       Nest
                Corrie Island
                Nature
                 Reserve
                                                  Winda
                                                   Woppa

                                   Po r t
                                                         Stephens

                           N
                                                                                                                 Yacaaba Head
                                                                                                                  (Myall Lakes
                                                                                                                   National Park)

            1              0                             1 Kilometres

Figure 1. Location of the Hawks Nest and Tea Gardens Endangered Koala Population

Department of Environment and Conservation (NSW)                                                                                    Page 4
Approved Recovery Plan                                      Hawks Nest and Tea Gardens Koalas

The Myall River represents a major barrier to the       •   soil nutrients;
movement of Koalas between the eastern Hawks            •   climate and rainfall; and
Nest side of the river and the western Tea Gardens
side. There are historic records of Koalas swimming     •   patch size, patch isolation and disturbance
the Myall River at Pipers Creek, and animals have           history.
been recorded crossing the Singing Bridge at night
                                                        Possibly the most important factor influencing
(Myall Koala and Environmental Support Group
                                                        Koala occurrence in an area is the suite of tree
unpublished data).      This indicates that some
                                                        species available as habitat. In any one area Koalas
movement of Koalas between Hawks Nest and Tea
                                                        rely predominantly on varying combinations of
Gardens may occur.
                                                        primary and/or secondary habitat (see Appendix 3).
Some limited movement may also be occurring
                                                        Because of the extent of loss of Koala habitat, all
between the Hawks Nest and Tea Gardens Koala
                                                        remaining areas of primary habitat are of high
population and other populations nearby. Myall
                                                        conservation value. Remnant Koala populations
Lakes National Park to the north of Hawks Nest and
                                                        may rely heavily on secondary habitat in areas where
the Fame Cove area to the west of Tea Gardens
                                                        primary habitat has been removed or is naturally
represent a potential source of Koalas, although the
                                                        very localised.
level of interaction is unknown.
                                                        Favoured feed tree species (primary feed trees)
There is evidence that Koala populations in the
                                                        within Koala habitat are of great importance for the
lower Hunter, including the Hawks Nest and Tea
                                                        conservation of Koala populations. Koalas will utilise
Gardens Population, are declining due to pressures of
                                                        other tree species (secondary feed trees) if primary
clearing of habitat, habitat fragmentation, sand
                                                        feed tree species are not present or occur at low
mining, urban development, road kills, Dog attacks
                                                        densities. However, the carrying capacity of an area
and disease (Knott et al. 1998; Lunney et al. 1998;
                                                        with only secondary feed tree species present is
NSW Scientific Committee 2000a).
                                                        inevitably lower (Reed et al. 1990). Primary and
3.3     Land tenure                                     secondary feed trees are fundamental to Koala
                                                        survival.
Property within the boundary of the Hawks Nest
and Tea Gardens Endangered Koala Population is          Previous studies indicate that several tree species are
held under a variety of tenures. These include some     used to varying degrees by Koalas in the urban and
areas of national parks estate and crown reserves,      rural areas of Hawks Nest and Tea Gardens. In
however the majority of the land is held under          particular, Swamp Mahogany (Eucalyptus robusta)
private and freehold tenure.                            and Tallowwood (E. microcorys) are species identified
                                                        as being of primary importance to the Koala
Some of the land within the boundary of the Hawks       population. Other tree species native to the area
Nest and Tea Gardens Koala Population is                utilised to a lesser extent by Koalas include Broad-
designated SEPP 14 – Coastal Wetland, SEPP 26 –         leaved Paperbark (Melaleuca quinquenervia), Blackbutt
Littoral Rainforest and SEPP 71 – Coastal               (E. pilularis), Red Bloodwood (Corymbia gummifera),
Protection. This may afford certain areas of Koala      Flooded Gum (E. grandis) and Smooth-barked Apple
habitat a degree of formal protection.                  (Angophora costata) (see Wildthing Environmental
                                                        Consultants 1997; EcoPro 1998; ERM Mitchell
3.4     Habitat
                                                        McCotter 1998; Phillips & Callaghan 1998; Myall
Koalas inhabit a broad range of eucalypt forest and     Koala and Environmental Support Group pers.
woodland communities including coastal forests,         comm.).
woodlands of the tablelands and western slopes and
riparian communities of the western plains (Phillips    Koalas in Hawks Nest and Tea Gardens have been
2000). Other communities with eucalypt emergents        recorded utilising tree species that are not native to
such as rainforest, swamp sclerophyll forest, heath     the local area but are present in the landscape as
and shrubland can also be important habitat to          horticultural introductions. Species recorded include
remnant Koala populations (C. Moon pers. comm.).        Mugga Ironbark (E. sideroxylon), Lemon-scented
The likely importance of such communities for           Gum (Corymbia citriodora) and Narrow-leaved Black
shelter and movement is accentuated in a highly         Peppermint (E. nicholii).
fragmented landscape (J. Callaghan pers. comm.).
                                                        The importance of Swamp Mahogany to Koalas in
A variety of factors influence the quality of forest    the Hawks Nest area is supported by studies on the
and woodland communities as habitat for Koalas          population of Koalas on Tilligerry Peninsula on the
(Reed et al. 1990) including:                           southern side of Port Stephens (Berghout, Cork &
                                                        Clulow unpublished data; Berghout 1993) and by the
•     the species and size of trees present;
                                                        Australian Koala Foundation (AKF) on the

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Approved Recovery Plan                                       Hawks Nest and Tea Gardens Koalas

Quaternary deposits in Port Stephens LGA (Phillips        Young reach independence at about 12 months,
et al. 2000). In many respects, the habitat (eucalypt     although they can remain in the mother’s home
forest associations) on Tilligerry Peninsula is very      range for a further two to three years (Mitchell &
similar to the systems in and around Hawks Nest.          Martin 1990). After this period, young animals
The Tilligerry Peninsula study showed a strong            disperse to establish their own home range.
correlation between Koalas and Swamp Mahogany in          Dispersal distances generally range from 1-11
swamp forests and Forest Red Gum (E. tereticornis) in     kilometres (Gall 1980; Mitchell & Martin 1990),
small habitat patches on more fertile sites along         although movements in excess of 50 kilometres have
drainage lines. This study concluded that the             been recorded (S. Phillips unpublished data).
viability and survival of the Koala population on
Tilligerry Peninsula is dependent on these two            Koalas have been recorded surviving for up to 18
species, with other species acting as marginal food       years in the wild (Martin & Handasyde 1990).
species. The AKF studies in Port Stephens LGA
concluded that E. parramattensis was a primary food       3.6   Ability of population to recover
tree for Koalas in that study area (Phillips et al.       Extinction is largely a population-level process,
2000).                                                    whereby cumulative loss of all populations of a
                                                          species occurs over its entire range (Clark et al.
In general, vegetation on more fertile soils provides     1990). Many Koala populations in coastal NSW are
the most suitable habitat for Koalas, because of the      under threat from activities associated with urban
greater availability of nutrients within leaves. Small,   development. Evidence from other small coastal
fragmented or highly disturbed habitats are less          populations provide a similar scenario to the Hawks
likely to be able to support Koalas in the long-term      Nest and Tea Gardens Population, where declines
(Reed et al. 1990).                                       have been occurring over long periods of time due to
                                                          a slow process of attrition (see Moon 1990; Smith &
3.5   Ecology                                             Smith 1990; Lunney et al. 1996, 2002).
The Koala diet consists primarily of eucalypt leaves.
These leaves are low in nutrients and energy but          Declines can initially be linked to a long history of
high in indigestible components such as lignin and        habitat destruction and modification through such
cellulose, and toxic compounds such as essential oils     agents as urban development, sand mining,
and tannins (Cork & Sanson 1990). Koalas are able         inappropriate fire regimes, weed invasion, tree
to cope with this diet because they have a low            dieback and golf course construction. Factors linked
metabolic rate, low nutrient requirements and a           to urban development lead to an increase in
complex digestive tract. A preference is shown for        mortality and a decline in habitat quality and
juvenile leaves, which contain less tannin, phenolics     quantity. The population remains vulnerable to the
and fibre and more moisture and nitrogen (Pahl &          cumulative impacts of further clearing and
Hume 1990; Cork & Sanson 1990). Koalas save               degradation of habitat and corridors in the area. If
energy by remaining relatively inactive, resting for      not managed, such clearing and degradation can
much of the day and generally becoming most active        restrict Koala movement and reduce the viability of
in the first few hours following sunset (Mitchell &       the population even further by preventing
Martin 1990).                                             recruitment of individuals from other areas.

Each Koala has an established home range, the size        Population viability analysis of the Iluka Koala
of which will vary according to the quality of the        Population by Lunney et al. (2002) suggested that
habitat, the number of feed trees and social factors      managing a small Koala population solely with the
(Sharp 1995). In a stable Koala population breeding       aim of increasing survivorship and breeding rates is
associations exists in which the home ranges of           not enough to ensure recovery. Once identified
individuals overlap (Martin & Handasyde 1995).            threats are managed, immigration is of considerable
Koalas maintain fidelity to their home range that         importance in maintaining and rebuilding the
may last throughout their life (Sharp 1995).              population. The ability of the Hawks Nest and Tea
                                                          Gardens Koala Population to recover ultimately lies
The breeding season for Koalas on the lower north         with the protection and restoration of suitable
coast of NSW is approximately August to February          habitat and linkages within the defined population
(Leathley et al. 2001a), with a peak in Koala             area and surrounding areas. This would enhance the
movement occurring from September to October (C.          effectiveness of natural dispersal processes, leading
Moon pers. comm.).                                        to a larger, integrated population that is not
                                                          physically or genetically isolated from other
The gestation period for the Koala is 35 days.            populations in the surrounding region.
Following birth, the young remains in the pouch for
six months. On leaving the pouch it remains               Therefore, successful recovery requires management
dependent on its mother for several months and            of the Koalas at the regional level. If the probability
rides on her back.                                        of recruitment is very low or non-existent, the

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Approved Recovery Plan                                       Hawks Nest and Tea Gardens Koalas

population may persist in the short to medium term        the past, provided the most valuable habitat for
because of the relative longevity of individual           Koalas. The ongoing loss of habitat areas has forced
Koalas, rather than the maintenance of a stable           Koalas into areas of lower quality habitat which are
population. However, the population remains               unable to support equivalent densities of animals.
extremely vulnerable to localised extinction in the
medium to long term.                                      Land clearing in the Hawks Nest and Tea Gardens
                                                          area has led to the fragmentation of much of the
A population in decline requires management before        remaining Koala habitat. Such fragmentation results
it reaches the point where such management is             in Koalas spending an increased amount of time
ineffective and recovery not possible (see Lunney et      travelling over open ground, leaving them more
al. 2002). For the Hawks Nest and Tea Gardens             susceptible to Dog attack.
Koala Population to recover the understanding and
support of the broader community is required.             Habitat loss and fragmentation due to road
Given that community perception of population             construction not only decreases available habitat,
decline will often lag significantly behind the actual    but also leads to an increase in road mortality and
decline event (Lunney et al. 2002), the broader           injury (Sharp 1995; Lunney et al. 1996; ANZECC
Hawks Nest and Tea Gardens community may not              1998).
yet fully recognise the extent to which the
                                                          Where fragmentation reduces or prevents successful
population has actually declined.
                                                          dispersal between populations, the number of
The Public Inquiry held into the ecological               animals in a population may decrease over time.
significance of north Hawks Nest (Carleton 2002)          This can lead to a genetic bottleneck and potential
identified this area as having significant importance     inbreeding depression. It also leaves a population
to the local Koala population and a loss of important     more susceptible to extinction from chance events
habitat in the area would likely result in local          such as wildfire or extreme weather conditions.
extinction of the population.
                                                          Habitat degradation
4      Threats and Management Issues                      Degradation of Koala habitat can occur through
                                                          underscrubbing, alteration of forest structure, weed
4.1    Current threats                                    invasion, tree dieback or senescence, and bushfire.
The Statewide plan (NPWS 2003) outlines the               Underscrubbing, or the clearing of understorey while
threats facing the Koala across NSW. Details on the       retaining the tree overstorey, leaves Koalas
threats relevant to the Hawks Nest and Tea Gardens        vulnerable to Dog attack when moving along the
Population are outlined below.                            ground. Underscrubbing can also stimulate growth
                                                          of weed species, which can, in turn, degrade habitat
The Hawks Nest and Tea Gardens Koala Population
                                                          and impede recruitment of new canopy vegetation.
has declined from at least 21 individuals in 1989 to
as few as 12 in 1998 and is now in immediate danger       In the Hawks Nest area, Bitou Bush invasion is
of extinction (NSW Scientific Committee 2000a).           considered a major problem. The dense habit of this
This decline has been primarily attributed to             invasive weed reduces the ability of Koalas to move
continuing urban development of the area,                 on the ground and access trees, as well as severely
particularly the associated removal of habitat.           impacting on the regrowth of eucalypts.
Urban development creates barriers to movement
and introduces additional threats such as road            Dog attacks
mortality and attacks by Dogs, which have been            Attacks by domestic and wild Dogs are a significant
identified as major factors in the decline of the         cause of Koala death and injury throughout their
population.                                               distribution. Records of domestic Dog attacks on
                                                          Koalas indicate that attacks are often associated with
Habitat loss and fragmentation
                                                          fenced yards within urban and rural-residential
Historically, habitat loss and fragmentation has been     areas. Attacks can also be linked to irresponsible
a significant factor in the decline of Koalas, and this   Dog ownership, aggressive Dog breeds, and roaming
remains the most serious threat facing Koalas today.      Dog packs (ANZECC 1998). Records from Port
                                                          Stephens LGA confirm that Dogs can kill
As far back as 1988, concern was being expressed for
                                                          substantial numbers of Koalas (Lunney et al.
the slow and gradual decline of small coastal Koala
                                                          1999),with the highest number of attacks coinciding
populations due to coastal urban growth (see Lunney
                                                          with the Koala breeding season from August to
et al. 2002). Loss and fragmentation of habitat as a
                                                          February (Leathley et al. 2001a).
result of clearing for agriculture, urban development,
roads and other infrastructure has been particularly      The number of registered Dogs in the Hawks Nest
evident on the more fertile soils, particularly coastal   and Tea Gardens area in 1998/1999 was 246,
floodplains and valleys. These coastal areas have, in

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Approved Recovery Plan                                       Hawks Nest and Tea Gardens Koalas

although the actual number of domestic Dogs               regular assessment of records is required so that
present in the area is probably higher. During peak       ongoing identification of blackspots occurs.
holiday season in the summer months, which
coincides with the Koala breeding season, this            Koalas are likely to be most active during the
number can increase significantly (C. Davies pers.        breeding season from approximately August to
comm.).                                                   February, which coincides with peak holiday periods
                                                          in NSW. Records from the Port Stephens LGA
Seven attacks by Dogs on Koalas were recorded in          indicate that during this period the number of
the Hawks Nest and Tea Gardens area from 1992 to          Koalas hit by cars increases (Leathley et al. 2001b).
2000, resulting in four deaths (Myall Koala and
Environmental Support Group unpublished data). It         Fire
is likely that a number of attacks and deaths go          Wildfires, particularly crown fires, kill and injure
unreported.                                               Koalas. Fires may also reduce or remove shelter and
                                                          available food resources, which can exacerbate the
Road kills                                                impact of other threats such as Dog attack and
Collision with vehicles is a significant cause of death   collision with cars. The presence of refuge habitat
and injury of Koalas throughout their distribution        enables Koalas to escape fires and may provide
(Andrews 1990; Hume 1990; Moon 1995). As more             alternative habitat until the burnt areas have
major roads have been constructed through Koala           regenerated.
habitat this threat has increased. This is of concern
not just in urban areas but at any location where a       Inappropriate fire regimes, such as regular low
regularly used Koala movement path is bisected by a       intensity fuel reduction burns, can alter vegetation
traffic corridor. Busy roads can act as sinks, where      structure and floristics by promoting the growth of
dispersing healthy Koalas move into areas of habitat      fire resistant shrubby species and by reducing
from which the previous occupant has been removed         eucalypt regrowth. In areas where dispersal barriers
by road kill, only to be killed by vehicles themselves    exist and wildfire destroys remnant habitat, local
(Moon 1998).                                              extinction can result.

Whilst data collected by the Myall Koala and              Sustained high frequency fire affects the ability of
Environmental Support Group has led to three              plant and animal species to maintain life cycle
specific areas of Hawks Nest being recognised as road     processes. This can alter the structure of plant
mortality blackspots, all roads within Hawks Nest         communities, thus reducing the quality and
and Tea Gardens are a potential threat to Koalas.         availability of Koala habitat. In particular, high
This is due to the pattern of dispersal of large mature   frequency fire can alter habitat structure and reduce
trees throughout the townships. Recognised                the regeneration of eucalypt species. In NSW,
blackspots in Hawks Nest are shown in Figure 2, and       coastal and urban areas have been identified as
include:                                                  having the greatest likelihood of sustained high
                                                          frequency fire regimes (NSW Scientific Committee
•   the Singing Bridge over the Myall River between       2000b).
    Hawks Nest and Tea Gardens. Koalas may
    utilise this bridge as a link for moving from one     The known fire history of Myall Lakes National Park
    side of the river to the other, although this is      indicates a high fire frequency in the southern
    likely to be a rare occurrence;                       section of the park. In the twenty two year period
                                                          between 1980 and 2002 there were eight fires in the
•   Kingfisher Avenue, Hawks Nest. An identified
                                                          southern-most section of the park. The high fire
    Koala reserve occurs to the north of Kingfisher
                                                          frequency in this section may have led to an
    Avenue as it approaches the Singing Bridge.
                                                          alteration of vegetation types present and increased
    Vegetation from the Koala reserve occurs to the
                                                          the isolation of the Hawks Nest and Tea Gardens
    shoulder of the road, which can lessen visibility
                                                          Koala Population.
    and reaction time of a driver if a Koala attempts
    to cross the road. A Koala movement corridor          4.2   Potential threats
    has been identified from the intersection of
    Kingfisher Avenue and Ibis Avenue for a               Disease
    distance of 100 metres towards the bridge; and        Current information indicates that wild Koala
                                                          populations generally carry Chlamydia bacteria,
•   Mermaid Avenue, which runs parallel to                although many infected animals do not show any
    Kingfisher Avenue.                                    clinical signs of illness. The development of clinical
Koala mortalities due to collisions with cars have        signs of infection may be induced by stress from
also occurred at a number of other locations within       factors such as habitat clearing or disturbance.
the Hawks Nest and Tea Gardens area. Therefore,           Therefore, as urban development encroaches into
                                                          areas of Koala habitat the incidence of stress-related

Department of Environment and Conservation (NSW)                                                    Page 8
Approved Recovery Plan                                                         Hawks Nest and Tea Gardens Koalas

diseases associated with Clamydia infection, such                        Disease associated with infection by Chlamydia is one
conjunctivitis or urogential tract infection, may                        of the more prevalent problems leading to Koalas
increase.                                                                being taken into rehabilitative care in NSW.
                                                                         Clinical signs of infection with this disease include
One of the major consequences of Chlamydia                               wet bottom and conjunctivitis.
infection can be infertility in females, which results
in reduced reproduction (Martin & Handasyde                              Swimming pools
1990). This appears to be the case for a number of                       Although Koalas are able to swim, backyard
isolated populations surviving in degraded habitat                       swimming pools represent a potential threat. If a
where low female fertility, in association with other                    Koala falls into a swimming pool it may be unable to
threats and barriers to immigration and                                  climb out and may drown (Sharp 1995). Currently,
recolonisation, may lead to local extinction of the                      no Koala deaths due to drowning in pools have been
population over time.                                                    recorded for Hawks Nest and Tea Gardens.

                                                                Koala

                                                                               e
                                                                           Ibi s Av
                                                               Reserve
                                                                                                  Hawks Nest
                                                                                                  Golf Course
                                                        Av e
                                               f is her
                                              g
                                           Kin

                                     dge
                              g   Bri                               M erm a
                                                                           id A ve
                         g in                                                              Hawks
                      Sin
                                                                                            Nest
                                     er
                                   iv
                               R
                          ll

                          a
                      y
                  M

                                                                                                                       N

                                                                                          Identified blackspot
                                                                                      0                    500 Metres

Figure 2. Recognised road mortality blackspots for the Koala in Hawks Nest

5     Previous Recovery Actions                                          Great Lakes Council is currently in the process of
                                                                         reviewing the TPO and its application. This review
5.1   Tree preservation                                                  should consider the protection and management of
                                                                         those tree species recognised as Koala food trees
The GLC LEP provides for Tree Preservation Orders
                                                                         within the urban areas of Hawks Nest and Tea
(TPOs) as a mechanism to protect trees in the Great
                                                                         Gardens as well as those trees that may provide
Lakes Council area. Under the LEP, a person must
                                                                         refuge or shelter values for local Koalas.
not carry out or permit or direct or cause
                                                                         Furthermore, it should enact provisions for requiring
ringbarking, cutting down, topping, lopping,
                                                                         the sustainable replacement of food or shelter trees
removing or wilful destruction of a tree or trees to
                                                                         that require removal because of public and property
which a TPO applies without the prior written
                                                                         safety such that a net gain of Koala trees occurs over
approval of Council (Great Lakes Council 1996).
                                                                         time.

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Approved Recovery Plan                                        Hawks Nest and Tea Gardens Koalas

5.2     Habitat mapping and environmental                  5.3    Dog control
        studies                                            The GLC is responsible for enforcing the Companion
Several studies have been undertaken to map                Animals Act 1998 (CA Act) in the Hawks Nest and
vegetation and to investigate threatened species           Tea Gardens area. Under the CA Act, Dogs must be
issues in the Hawks Nest and Tea Gardens area (see         contained within the boundaries of the owner’s
Wildthing Environmental Consultants 1997;                  property or be under effective control by means of a
EcoPro 1998; ERM Mitchell McCotter 1998;                   chain, cord or leash when in a public place. Despite
Phillips & Callaghan 1998). Based on these studies         this legislation and the release of press reports
there have been several attempts to identify Koala         outlining the implications of the CA Act and
habitat and Koala feed tree species. However, a            regular GLC Ranger patrols, many Dogs are not
definitive description of Koala habitat usage in the       appropriately managed.
area has not been made. Despite this, several trends
have emerged from the studies, including:                  The GLC currently has a program in place that
                                                           targets the appropriate control of feral Dogs in the
•     the importance of Swamp Mahogany as a                Hawks Nest and Tea Gardens area.
      primary feed tree species;
                                                           Since 1998 the NPWS has implemented a strategic
•     the importance of vegetation communities             plan for the control of feral Dogs and Dingoes (Canis
      containing Swamp Mahogany and/or Broad-              lupus dingo) within Myall Lakes National Park.
      leaved Paperbark; and
•     the importance of the swamp sclerophyll forest       5.4    Wildlife rehabilitation groups
      communities along the Myall River in north           Wildlife rehabilitation groups throughout NSW play
      Hawks Nest as Koala habitat and as a link            a vital role in the rescue and rehabilitation of injured
      between Myall Lakes National Park and Hawks          and diseased Koalas. Wildlife rehabilitation groups
      Nest township.                                       also play an important role in community education
                                                           and raising awareness. These groups operate under
A Public Inquiry was held in 2001 to examine and           the NPWS guidelines and must be accredited to care
report on the ecological significance of land covered      for Koalas.
by the north Hawks Nest Draft Local
Environmental Study. This area represents most of          The Native Animal Trust Fund and the Great Lakes
the land situated to the east of the Myall River,          Rescue group provide rescue and rehabilitation for
between the builtup area of Hawks Nest township            Koalas in the Hawks Nest and Tea Gardens area.
and Myall Lakes National Park. The inquiry
determined that a substantial area of north Hawks          5.5    Public awareness
Nest is important Koala habitat, and that loss of this     The GLC and the NPWS have prepared an
area would likely result in the extinction of the          information brochure on the Hawks Nest and Tea
Koala population (Carleton 2002).                          Gardens Koala Population. This brochure contains
                                                           information that enables members of the
Key to the findings of this Inquiry was a draft map        community to become involved in the recovery of
produced by the AKF identifying:                           the population.
•     a strip of core Koala habitat to the west of
      Mungo Brush Road;                                    An interpretative sign at the Koala reserve on the
                                                           corner of Kingfisher Avenue and Ibis Avenue
•     secondary Koala habitat in association with core     outlines the threats to Koalas in the Hawks Nest and
      habitat;                                             Tea Gardens area and also explains the importance
•     a small area of core habitat extending to the east   of feed trees.
      of Mungo Brush Road; and                             A regular newspaper column entitled Koala Report is
•     habitat linkages.                                    printed in the Myall Coast Nota, a weekly newspaper
                                                           circulated in the Hawks Nest and Tea Gardens area.
In this instance ‘core’ habitat represents Koala           This column includes reports of Koala sightings and
habitat that has been identified by the AKF as             general information on Koalas in the area. The
‘preferred’ or ‘supplementary’ habitat. This Recovery      column is written by the Koala co-ordinator for the
Plan uses the terms ‘primary’ and ‘secondary’ Koala        Myall Koala and Environmental Support Group
habitat as defined in the Statewide plan (Appendix
3; see also Phillips 2000).                                The Native Animal Trust Fund conduct training in
                                                           Koala rescue and care, as well as public awareness and
The Public Inquiry also recommended that 70% of            educational talks throughout the Hunter region.
mature Blackbutt forest in the area be retained to
provide habitat linkages for threatened species.

Department of Environment and Conservation (NSW)                                                     Page 10
Approved Recovery Plan                                          Hawks Nest and Tea Gardens Koalas

5.6    Catchment management                                 Performance Criterion: A KWG is developed within
Hawks Nest and Tea Gardens fall within the Lower            three months of the commencement of this
North Coast Catchment Management area. The                  Recovery Plan.
Integrated Catchment Management Plan for this               Action 1.3: The KWG will co-ordinate the development
management area was approved in 2002. A first               and implementation of a monitoring program to determine
order objective identified in the plan is the               the effectiveness of management actions.
maintenance and enhancement of viable native
plant and animal populations and communities                The development and implementation of a
(Lower North Coast Management Board 2003).                  monitoring program will allow the ongoing
                                                            effectiveness of management actions to be assessed,
6      Proposed Recovery Objectives, Actions                and management revised if considered necessary.
       and Performance Criteria
                                                            Assessing the status of the population will also be
The initial focus of the actions included in this           incorporated into this monitoring program.
Recovery Plan will be on planning and vegetation            Techniques utilised must be non-contact
mapping. This will establish a framework for                techniques, in order to cause minimal disturbance
ongoing protection and rehabilitation through               and stress to the Koalas.
onground works and further planning.
                                                            Performance Criterion: The monitoring program is
The overall objective of this Recovery Plan is to           developed within six months of the commencement
arrest the decline of the Hawks Nest and Tea                of this Recovery Plan.
Gardens Endangered Koala Population and to return
the population to a position of viability in nature.        Objective 2: To identify and map the distribution
This is expected to take longer than the three year         of Koala habitat in the Hawks Nest and Tea
life of the Recovery Plan.                                  Gardens area

Specific objectives of the Recovery Plan are listed         Action 2.1: The NPWS, with support from GLC, will co-
below. For each of these objectives a number of             ordinate the identification and mapping of Koala habitat in
recovery actions have been developed, each with a           the Hawks Nest and Tea Gardens area, and produce a
justification and performance criterion.                    supporting document.

Objective 1: To co-ordinate the recovery of the             Identification and mapping of urban and rural Koala
Hawks Nest and Tea Gardens Koala Population                 habitat is fundamental to the effective management
                                                            of the Hawks Nest and Tea Gardens Koala
Action 1.1: The NPWS, with the support of GLC, will         Population.
co-ordinate the implementation of the actions outlined in
this Recovery Plan.                                         This mapping should identify and account for:
                                                            •   primary and secondary Koala habitat (as defined
The effective implementation of a recovery program              in Appendix 3);
for a threatened species, population or ecological
community is a complex task. A co-ordinated                 •   individual primary and secondary Koala food
approach is essential to oversee and assist in the              trees outside of mapped primary and secondary
implementation of the actions outlined in this                  habitat;
Recovery Plan in a timely, cost-effective and               •   existing and potential linkages between Koala
efficient manner.                                               habitat within the population boundary;
Performance Criterion: The NPWS, with support               •   existing and potential linkages between the
from GLC, co-ordinates the recovery actions                     Endangered Koala Population and areas of likely
included in this Recovery Plan.                                 habitat external to the population boundary;
Action 1.2: The NPWS and the GLC will develop a             •   habitat buffers where considered necessary;
Koala Working Group (KWG).                                  •   areas of potential Critical Habitat; and
The KWG will consist of a member of the NPWS                •   areas suitable for habitat rehabilitation.
and GLC, and also include two members of the
Hawks Nest and Tea Garden community. The role               Performance Criterion: Koala habitat is identified
of the KWG will be to assist in the implementation          and mapped, and a supporting draft document
of this Recovery Plan, including the identification of      prepared within nine months of the commencement
potential funding sources.                                  of this Recovery Plan.

                                                            Objective 3: To conserve the Hawks Nest and Tea
                                                            Gardens Koala Population in its existing habitat

Department of Environment and Conservation (NSW)                                                        Page 11
Approved Recovery Plan                                          Hawks Nest and Tea Gardens Koalas

Action 3.1: Areas of Koala habitat identified through       external populations is developed and underway
Action 2.1 will be prioritised for active management and    within 10 months of the commencement of this
monitoring and/or conservation by the KWG in                Recovery Plan.
consultation with the local community. This will include
an assessment of the need for a Critical Habitat            Action 3.3: The NPWS, with support from GLC, will
declaration in the Hawks Nest and Tea Gardens area.         prepare survey and assessment guidelines for the Hawks
                                                            Nest and Tea Gardens Koala Population and distribute
Within the Hawks Nest and Tea Gardens area                  them to relevant authorities.
habitat exists that is critical to the survival of the
Koala population. These areas of habitat, and the           A standard methodology with sufficient survey effort
Koalas they support, are priorities for active              should be undertaken when determining if Koala
management and monitoring. Key areas of habitat             habitat is present on or adjacent to an area of
occurring on private land will be considered for            potential development. Presence of the species or its
conservation through such means as Environmental            habitat should trigger implementation of effective
Protection Zones in the Great Lakes LEP, Voluntary          mitigation measures, including protection of
Conservation Agreements, Wildlife Refuges, or               identified habitat, to reduce direct or indirect
through the declaration of Critical Habitat. All of         impacts of any proposed urban development.
these mechanisms are site-specific. The Public
                                                            The survey and assessment guidelines will focus on
Inquiry (Carleton 2002) identified the swamp
                                                            the identification of potential Koala habitat and
sclerophyll communities in north Hawks Nest as
                                                            faecal pellet evidence of habitat use rather than
essential to the continued existence of the Koala
                                                            relying solely on recorded sightings of the species.
population. This should be reflected in appropriate
zoning and management.                                      Performance Criterion: Standard survey and
                                                            environmental assessment guidelines are developed,
Performance Criterion: Key areas of Koala habitat in
                                                            distributed and in use within six months of the
the Hawks Nest and Tea Gardens area are identified
                                                            commencement of this Recovery Plan.
and strategies for management developed; An
assessment to determine the need for declaration of         Action 3.4: The KWG will establish an ongoing program
Critical Habitat has been completed. This process           of blackspot identification (refer Figure 2).
will be initiated within 12 months of the
commencement of this Recovery Plan.                         Death and injury of Koalas on roads often occurs
                                                            where a road bisects the habitat and home range
Action 3.2: The NPWS and GLC will establish a survey        areas of one or more Koalas dispersal corridor.
program to determine if areas to the north and west of
Hawks Nest and Tea Gardens represent a source of new        Performance Criterion: A blackspot identification
individuals into the Endangered Koala Population.           program is developed and management measures
Methods utilised will be low impact and involve the local   discussed within six months of the commencement
community.                                                  of this Recovery Plan.

Immigration is vital in maintaining small Koala             Action 3.5: Subsequent to Action 3.4, the KWG will
populations. Therefore, appropriate monitoring of           develop and implement of a program of works that
the population is essential in order to measure the         integrates strategic streetscaping and traffic calming.
degree of successful immigration and dispersal, as
well as population trends over time.                        This process will be guided by a set of principles
                                                            aimed at increasing the number of feed trees or
If populations external to the Hawks Nest and Tea           habitat in the townships whilst minimising the risk
Gardens Koala Population are a source of                    of vehicle collisions and Dog attacks. These
recruitment of dispersing sub-adults, it is important       principles shall include:
that the movement corridors utilised by these Koalas
                                                            •   planting of appropriate trees in strategic
are protected in order to maintain the Hawks Nest
                                                                positions so as to encourage Koalas towards areas
and Tea Gardens Population.
                                                                where traffic calming devices have been
If populations external to the Hawks Nest and Tea               established;
Gardens Koala Population prove not to be a source           •   using Koala-proof fencing to guide Koalas away
of individuals, it is important that linkages be                from blackspots and toward less hazardous
established in order to return the Hawks Nest and               crossing areas;
Tea Gardens Population to a state of long-term
viability.                                                  •   trialing of structures such as knotted overhead
                                                                rope crossings;
Performance Criterion: A monitoring and research
                                                            •   accounting for driver safety and ensuring that
program to determine the degree of isolation of the
                                                                driver vision is not impaired;
Hawks Nest and Tea Gardens Population from
Department of Environment and Conservation (NSW)                                                     Page 12
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