Whiteheads Creek Landcare Group is coordinating a 12 months project focused on woodland rehabilitation, nest-box installation and community education. The project's official title is 'Threatened Gliders & Tuans of the Strathbogie Ranges', but locally it's the 'Whiteheads Creek Nest-boxes for Wildlife' project.
What local environmental issue/s does this project address?
The Strathbogie Ranges region is a regional stronghold for two Threatened, tree-hollow dwelling, marsupial species: Squirrel Glider (Petaurus norfolkensis) and Brush-tailed Phascogale, aka Tuan, (Phascogale tapoatafa). These arboreal marsupials need tree hollows for breeding and nightly refuge. Many forests and woodlands in the region lack trees of a suitable age and size, thus limiting the habitat available to these two cuties. Landholder communities in the Ranges are increasingly 'new residents', who may have very little experience of local bushland areas and the shy native animals that still survive in our district.
What are the project objectives?
The project was launched at the 2013 AGM of the Whitehead's Creek Landcare Group. Guest speaker, David Wakefield (at center, above pic) of Strath Creek Landcare spoke, and presented a fascinating slide show, about the value of nest-boxes for local wildlife. David then showed an inspirational short film about the Focus on Fauna project conducted in the Strath Creek and Flowerdale districts, following the Black Saturday fires in 2009. This was all a great introduction to the new Whitehead's Creek Nest-boxes for Wildlife Project.
The objectives of this new project are:
- Raise community awareness of these and other hollow-dependent fauna.
- To improve a minimum of 25 ha of forest and woodland habitat for Squirrel Gliders and Brush-tailed Phascogales on private and public land by installing a minimum of 50 nest-boxes (two per hectare).
- Collect local records of these species and other hollow-dependent fauna and submit to DEPI's Victorian Biodiversity Atlas
- Revegetate/rehabilitate 1 ha of forest/woodland that will benefit these threatened species.
How can landholders participate in the project?
The project will coordinate a local nest-box project that will:
- Train landholders how to install, check and maintain nest-boxes.
- Share 'how to' information about nest-boxes.
Deliver six community activities (night-walks/presentations).
- Organize a community planting day for the revegetation activities.
- Encourage landholders to collect records, esp photographs, of the target (& other fauna) species.
What are the anticipated environmental and community benefits of the project?
Squirrel Gliders and Tuans are unique and Threatend members of the Forest-Woodland fauna of the Goulburn Broken Catchment. The benefits of this project include:
- Improved habitat quality for local populations of these species, particularly in young, hollow-poor habitat.
- Improved understanding of the distribution and conservation status.
- Addressing the strong community interest in the protection of these species and their habitat.