Port Stephens Council and community groups establish koala street trees under Environmental Trust

A project to establish 10,000 street trees has entered its final days.

Port Stephens Council has coordinated the project that was designed to help koalas move through the suburbs more smoothly.

“This is the final stage of our three year project to establish urban koala corridors across the Tomaree Peninsula,” the council’s natural resources coordinator Les Seddon said.

“We’re excited to have reached our target of over 10,000 trees planted, many of them mature trees.”

The project received funding three years ago from state government’s Environmental Trust.

Council staff, community groups and school children have contributed to the program.

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“Koalas need to be able to move safely between habitats,” Mr Seddon said.

“By planting specific types of trees in key areas, we can ensure that our local koala population will have both safe pathways and an important food source.”

The project was subject to careful planning. The locations were determined using records of where koalas are, and where they tend to travel.

The council collated the data to create corridors north and south, as well as east and west, that connect key koala habitats across the Tomaree Peninsula.

“The locations have been determined to provide safe pathways for koalas between key habitats, getting them off the ground and away from hazards like cars and dogs,” Mr Seddon said.

“A council arborist has selected only those trees most suitable for the project based on growth characteristics, site specifications, low maintenance requirements and value as preferred koala feed trees.”

Council workers have been busy in the final push.

“Planting has been taking place over the past few weeks, and will continue until Thursday (May 10),” Mr Seddon said.

“Street trees are a valuable asset which are actively monitored and cared for by council.”