Thursday 23rd November 2017
Mayor to light community Christmas tree in Corbett Plaza
Thursday 23rd November 2017
EPA infringement notice for RRC asbestos breach
Wednesday 1st November 9:00am - Thursday 30th November 6:00pm
Southern Highlands Arts Festival
Tuesday 7th November 6:00pm - Tuesday 28th November 7:30pm
Men's Health Month
This short film showcases the valuable work being undertaken to conserve our koala population in the Southern Highlands.
The Southern Highlands Koala Conservation Project was established by Wingecarribee Shire Council in partnership with the NSW Office of Environment & Heritage in 2014.
The project was initiated following a major bush fire in October2013 that burnt over 15,000 hectares of bushland to the north of the Shire. Within days of the fire, Council began receiving reports of koalas appearing in backyards and being struck by vehicles on the Hume Highway. These reports surprised many local residents, including long-serving Council staff, many of whom were unaware of the local presence of koalas.
Recognising there was very limited available information about the Shire's koala population, Council approached the NSW Office of Environment & Heritage's (OEH) Threatened Species team seeking expert advice on how Council might help manage its koalas. It soon became clear that not only was the Southern Highlands home to a significant koala population, but this population had also been largely overlooked in terms of research and conservation efforts.
Following an initial 5-day survey and pilot study funded by Council's Environment Levy, the Southern Highlands Koala Conservation Project was formally established with the overarching goals of providing a clear direction for the long-term conservation of koalas in the Southern Highlands and making this the best understood koala colony in NSW. A set of clear objectives were also set:
|Community engaged in koala conservation & corridor planning.||Ongoing - massive increase in community sightings due to publicity & engagement activities|
|List of local feed tree species, including those suitable for planting in rehabilitation projects.||Complete, but further research would be beneficial.|
|Accurate assessment of koala population size & health.||Population estimated at over 3,000 koalas, the largest population in southern NSW.|
Health: Approx 70-80% have chlamydia.
Ongoing monitoring required to keep track of overall numbers & health.
|Map of key koala habitat & corridors||Currently in development (Green Web)|
|Development of a Comprehensive Koala Plan of Management for the Southern Highlands||Listed as a priority in the NSW Dept of Planning’s Southern Tablelands Regional Plan 2036.|
|List of threats, including particular hazards such as road fatality black spots and potential ameliorative measures.||Hotspots identified on Hume Highway and discussions with RMS requesting wildlife exclusion fencing & underpasses.|
Electronic signs alerting motorist to koalas went live in September 2017.
In March 2017, the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage confirmed that, based on the data collected by the project, it was estimated that over 3,000 koalas reside in the Southern Highlands, making it the largest koala population in southern NSW and representing around 10% of the total koala population in the State.
The project continues to generate significant publicity and was recognised as a finalist in the 2017 Local Government NSW Excellence in the Environment Awards in the category of Natural Environment Protection & Enhancement: On-Ground Works.
Please report ALL sightings or evidence of activity (scats, scratchings, bellowing, etc) to the Koala Hotline 4868 0888 or by messaging the Southern Highlands Koala Facebook page.
If the koala appears injured call Wildlife Rescue South Coast 0418 427 214 or WIRES 4862 1788
Do not attempt to pat a koala! They may look cuddly, but koalas have sharp claws and can be aggressive if threatened. Stay a safe distance away to take photos.
WSC Koala hotline brochure (PDF, 300kB)
Learn more about koalas (NSW Office of Environment & Heritage)
For further information about the Southern Highlands Koala Conservation Project, please contact Council's Environmental Projects Officer on (02) 4868 0813 or email Joe.Stammers@wsc.nsw.gov.au