KOALA BEACH ESTATE TWEED SHIRE. 20 Years On

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1 KOALA BEACH ESTATE TWEED SHIRE 20 Years On

2 In the early 1990 s the Australian Koala Foundation (AKF) agreed to work with the Ray Group to create a model for koala-sensitive residential development at Koala Beach IN THE BEGINNING

3 THE SITE Around 365 ha in size. Historically a cattle grazing and dairy property with adjoining sugar cane. Cleared in much of the low-lying and undulating terrain, but hilly and wetter sections relatively intact and regrowth in some areas. 24 threatened flora and fauna species identified at the site during ecological assessments.

4 KOALA PLAN OF MANAGEMENT Prepared by the AKF in the mid-1990 s and updated in conjunction with development stages. Based on koala captures, health assessments and radio-tracking. Confirmed koala home ranges extended over much of the bushland on the site, as well as mainly cleared areas with scattered trees.

5 KEY KPOM PROVISIONS Habitat and population management Development focused on previously cleared parts of the site. Protection of home range and single use trees in the development area in local parks and via covenants. Protection and conservation zoning of bushland areas outside the development footprint and handover to Tweed Shire Council. Koala habitat restoration and streetscape plantings of preferred koala food trees.

6 KEY KPOM PROVISIONS Threat mitigation Prohibition on dog ownership. Slow traffic speed of 40 kph. 30 cm gaps under fences for koala movement. Ongoing community involvement through a Wildlife and Habitat Management Committee chaired TSC. Special Environmental Levy on residents to fund implementation of management measures and monitoring programs.

7 KOALA BEACH KOALA MONITORING Commenced in 2005 with 20 SAT monitoring sites and three search transects. Follow-up surveys completed in 2007, 2010, 2012 and Designed to detect trends in population distribution and status. SAT sites located in areas of high and medium quality habitat - greatest likelihood for early change detection.

8 KOALA MONITORING RESULTS SAT SURVEYS All 20 SAT sites positive in 2005, 2007 and 2010, 18 positive in 2012 and Downward 14 sites. Recent upward 5 sites. Mean activity across all 20 sites declined from ~ 51% in 2005 to ~ 21% in SAT sites with greatest increases in recent activity tended to be those nearer to residential areas.

9 KOALA MONITORING RESULTS KOALA SIGHTINGS Koalas sightings from transect searches: 1 x AF with a back young + 1 x S-AM in x AF in x AF + 1 x AM in x AF + 1 x AM in 2012 Zero in Other sightings during monitoring surveys: 7 in in in in in

10 TWEED COAST KOALA POPULATION STATUS Surveys for Council in 2010 estimated a 50% decline in koala occupancy over the previous decade. Fire frequency and intensity identified as a major factor, combined with habitat loss and fragmentation. Council s Tweed Coast Koala Study 2015 recorded declines in the mean SAT activity from ~ 33% in 2010 to ~ 20% in The 2015 surveys indicated a further 50% reduction in occupancy since In April 2016, the coastal koala population between the Tweed and Brunswick Rivers was listed as endangered under the TSC Act 1995.

11 PROGNOSIS FOR THE KOALA BEACH POPULATION? Uncertain given the threats facing the Tweed Coast koalas. Despite declines, the koala population remains widespread across the site. Breeding activity remains. Regular koala sightings continue to be reported by residents. Streetscape trees are now quite large and appear to be well used.

12 IMPORTANCE OF THE KOALA BEACH MODEL The original aim for residents to live with wildlife at Koala Beach remains. Ongoing habitat restoration and monitoring programs continue funded by the Environmental Levy and supported by Tweed Shire Council. The Wildlife and Habitat Management Committee continues to guide implementation of conservation and community education programs. Key measures such as the prohibition on dog ownership have been questioned, but remain. The site is well known in the planning and development industry and is strongly promoted by Tweed Shire Council and the AKF. Koala Beach is likely to play a pivotal role if efforts to foster recovery of the Tweed Coast koala population prove successful.

13 "You must be the change you wish to see in the world. Mahatma Gandhi THANK YOU FOR LISTENING Questions?

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