STORMS and housing developments across the Tomaree Peninsula have slowly eaten into the Port koala population’s food tree supplies.
To help turn this around, Port Stephens Council will hold a series of working bees in March and April where koala food trees will be planted in Nelson Bay, Salamander Bay and Anna Bay.
“One of the keys to protecting the Tomaree koala populations is access to appropriate habitat,” a spokesman for the council’s environmental team said.
“Koalas live in our urban area and, for this reason, we must maintain a usable urban vegetation corridor network.
“Council reserves form the back bone of these corridors, providing food and refuge that is otherwise in short supply.
“Koalas must be able to access established food trees and we must ensure the next generation of trees are growing through.”
Port Stephens has one of the most significant population of koalas in NSW, which was highlighted during the Examiner’s Koala Crossroads campaign in 2016.
However, the Port’s koalas face environmental problems that includes the dwindling of their food trees.
While it is not the first time the council has run koala habitat working bees, it is the first for tree planting.
Port Stephens Council received funding through the NSW Government’s Environmental Trust Program for its Tomaree Peninsular Urban Koala Corridor Enhancement Planting Project, which is what the working bees are part of.
This project will aim increase specific koala habitat corridors in existing reserves by planting food and habitat trees.
It will also provide more koala feed tree stocks for wildlife carers to gather edible leaf to be used in the rehabilitation of sick and injured koalas.
The council is calling on the community to help them plus Nelson Bay West Parkcare, Soldiers Point-Salamander Bay Landcare and Anna Bay-Birubi Point Parks and Reserves to reinvigorate vegetation corridors by donning a pair of gloves and helping to plant trees.
Tree planting will begin at Bagnalls Beach on March 15, then within the native flora gardens in Nelson Bay on March 23.
Next month, planting will happen at Eastern Bagnalls Beach (April 3), Salamander Bay Sports Complex (April 12) and Hannah Reserve in Anna Bay (April 27).
For more information or to join a tree planting working bee phone the council on 4980 0255 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.