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NPA welcomes Koala-ity Nature Reserve in the Southern Highlands

The National Parks Association of NSW (NPA) welcomes an addition to our reserve system: a 402ha nature reserve on the bank of the Wollondilly River in Canyonleigh. This new reserve is strategically placed between Blue Mountains and Morton National Parks.

The acquisition was informed by the Southern Highlands Koala Conservation Project, a collaboration between Wingecarribee Shire Council, NSW Office of Environment and Heritage and community volunteers and landholders.

The Southern Highlands Koala Conservation Project has been tracking Koalas and mapping their habitat and feed trees since 2013 in response to devastating bushfires. They estimate that the Southern Highlands hosts a population of 3,000 Koalas, approximately 10% of the state’s population.

While welcoming the announcement the NPA called on the government to finalise and release its Whole of Government Koala Strategy to protect koalas from logging, land clearing and urban development.

As the Office of Environment and Heritage’s website states: “Koala populations are under increasing pressure and have declined in NSW by an estimated 26% over the past 15 to 21 years. Without active intervention, this level of decline is likely to continue…and threats will be exacerbated by climate change.”

“Habitat protection is the most effective way to protect threatened species, like our Koala,” said NPA CEO Alix Goodwin.

“It is reaffirming to see that partnerships, like the Southern Highlands Koala Conservation Project, can put their research into action resulting in a gazettal of a new national park.

“We also commend Wingecarribee Shire Council’s conservation work with surrounding private landholders: encouraging both vegetation conservation and land for wildlife agreements.

“This cross-tenure approach to habitat protection is vital to Koala conservation is NSW.”

NPA has been running ‘Who’s living on my land?’ workshops with Wingecarribee Shire Council since 2015 to help private landholders discover what species are on their property using infrared cameras.

“Many landholders participating in our workshops have subsequently joined the council’s Land for Wildlife program, adding hundreds of hectares of quality bushland to the Southern Highlands’ conservation network,” said Ms Goodwin.

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Poll shows strong support for new koala national parks an opportunity for the NSW Government

Should we create national parks to protect koalas from logging and land clearing?

According to a recent poll in the NSW seats of Lismore and Ballina the answer is a resounding YES with 68.3% of participants in Lismore and 71.9% in Ballina in favour.

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Will the Coalition degazette the Murray Valley National Park and cement its anti-environment reputation?

Oisín Sweeney, Senior Ecologist, National Parks Association of NSW

This article first appeared on John Menadue – Pearls and Irritations website on 25 September 2017.

This article follows on from Ross McDonnell’s article on the Murray Valley National Parks in issue 61 (3) Spring 2017

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Sydney’s own Lake Pedder Campaign

$1 BILLION dam project to flood Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area

Keith Muir, Director, Colong Foundation for Wilderness

There is a very good reason that large dams have not been built in NSW for the last 30 years. Dams, by their very nature, have devastating impacts on the natural environment. Inundation of protected areas, water starvation of downstream ecosystems and cold-water pollution of waterways are just some of the many environmental impacts dams have.

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Creature Feature: Lace Monitor, Goanna

Samantha Newton, Executive committee member, National Parks Association of NSW
The Lace Monitor (Varanus varius), or Lacie as it’s commonly known, is a large, tree-dwelling, lizard that often surprises bushwalkers by suddenly appearing halfway up a tree, or walking through a campsite. The surprise comes from their large size (1-2 m) which is perhaps magnified by their long tail, and often seemingly stealthy movement. Lace Monitors are carnivorous, and can move fast.