Although they are pretty quiet about it, in a letter to local newspapers last week occasional SERCA spokesperson Sean Burke referred to an additional $5,473,600 from the Biodiversity fund going to the Southern Rivers Catchment Authority for two koala projects.
Devised to strengthen the other NSW government agency initiative, the limited details indicate one is to “ . . . Reverse the degrading trend of the Bega River catchment (1939 km2) to river recovery by rehabilitating strategic reaches with potential for high conservation & high recovery outcomes, as per Bega River Rehabilitation Plan (the String). Support inter-agency efforts to return koalas to the Bega Valley by building a connected private land network of viable koala habitats using Koala Carbon Forests, enhanced remnant grassy woodlands & consolidate habitat nodes using clusters of past landcare projects (the Pearls).”
And the other “Focus to conserve, connect & rehabilitate habitat of iconic threatened fauna species: koala & long-nosed potoroo. Priorities are habitat conservation & rehabilitation in fertile riparian zones & enhanced connectivity to patches of endemic vegetation (> 5ha).”
Talking on ABC radio about the other $1.9m to stop logging OE&H spokesperson Mike Saxton referred to the possible need for ‘silviculture’ and planting trees in areas with poor eucalyptus regeneration.
In applying for and being successful gaining funding the OE&H and FNSW are acknowledging, for first time, that there is only one koala ‘population’ on the ‘far south coast’ and that logging is a threat. In addition the reference to poor regeneration confirms the OE&H are happy to continue approving FNSW logging plans, even though they have failed to abide by the Forestry Act and the Australian Forestry Standard.
Still to be acknowledged is the soil issue, extensive canopy dieback, its association with poor regeneration and the negative impacts of Bell-Miner Associated Dieback in previously ‘fertile riparian zones’.
The Australian governments climate change plan does suggest funding will “target emerging technologies and innovative management practices” but in the interim the map below indicates what 2,670ha looks like (solid yellow) in Murrah and Mumbulla SF, relative to active koala survey sites (blue dots) and other historical impediments to logging.