Referral guidelines dogged by poor data

The Australian Government recently released for public comment its draft referral guidelines for the Koala in Queensland, NSW and the ACT. Curiously the draft adds to the complications of separating coastal and inland koalas by using the 800mm rainfall average rather than bio-regions and suggests pretty well everywhere is suitable koala habitat.

A points system is proposed where an action that rates a score of 8 or more requires a referral and it would appear the Dignams Creek Highway re-alignment fits that criteria. Applicants are to source information from Australian Koala Foundation map although their tree species preference data for the bio-region is unverified and it appears they have withdrawn their mapping for the area from the map.

Another source of information is koala records over the past decade from the NSW Bionet websiteThere are 236 koala records on Bionet during that time in the NSW part of the bioregion, 9 of these are from Dan Lunney’s community survey and are unverified, three from FCNSW in Bodalla SF and one from the OE&H on Brown Mountain. The bulk records (213) are within the catchments from Dignams to Wapengo with another ten south of Wapengo down to Tanja.

bionetnsurveys

 

The map above shows the original RGBSAT survey locations – small black dots, those with koala pellets – red dots and the Bionet records -yellow dots that not only greatly outnumber the original survey results, they are also all in completely different locations.

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