CSGL22050 – Protecting and creating EPBC species habitat in a climate refugia 


Project Brief:

Habitat loss and fragmentation are major threats to our ecosystems, and impact on our fauna and flora, including the 3 EPBC listed black cockatoos (Carnaby’s, Baudin’s and Forest Red-tailed) and Western Ringtail Possums (WRPs). Climate change is another major problem. Reduction in vegetation leads to a reduction in the buffering effects that vegetation can provide. Farmers are receiving record high prices for meat which is driving higher stocking rates, increasing damage to unfenced remnant vegetation, and driving new vegetation clearing. We know cockatoos are foraging and breeding in this area, but we have no idea how much or where breeding is occurring. We have not had the capacity to locate breeding sites. We have been advised a number of our cockatubes are now considered to be poorly located. Additionally the first 15 cockatubes (300mm) which we installed are not ideal for cockatoos as they are now considered too narrow, and, if used will cause damage to their tails. The birds are known to be fussy and are far less likely to use the narrow tubes. Adding weight tothis new information, late last year the first successful breeding in a cockatube we installed occurred. This happened in a well located 400mm cockatube. Another problem is off-target species use of cockatubes. Lack of knowledge continues to influence environmental outcomes. Engaging the community through workshops, activities and events increases knowledge of environmental threats, and allows them to make better informed decisions about all aspects of property management.

The overall goals of this project are to:
• protect habitat and increase native plantings for 3 black cockatoo species and WRPs;
• provide nestboxes for cockatoos, possums and other wildlife
• engage with, empower and provide useful education opportunities for community members and school groups
• collect and share information/data on black cockatoo nesting in this area with relevant agencies
• increase our network of landholders undertaking environmental works

• support local businesses

The outcomes achieved will be:
• 76ha of remnant vegetation will be protected;
• 23.91ha of revegetation will be planted;
• 23km of stock exclusion fencing will be installed
• 36 landholders will be engaged, assisted and empowered across 17 properties to undertake the above works
• 15 cockatubes (300mm) will be replaced with larger 380mm
• Poorly located cockatubes will be relocated
• Repurpose removed nestboxes and trial installation of alternate nestboxes for ducks andpossums
• Set up a network of interested community members to provide information on cockatoo movements during breeding season allowing better tracking, leading to higher probability of locating breeding sites

• Run 16 education events

Why this project is important
It builds on TCG’s past efforts and previous projects which have developed a network of engaged community members. As a small catchment with small landholdings, 2km of fencing and 1ha of revegetation has been all we could reliably estimate achieving in one year. This would generally be over 4 or 5 different properties. This year our call for expressions of interest for revegetation and fencing works received an unprecedented response. It clearly demonstrates to us the increased reach we have achieved and also changing attitudes. We feel it is very important to utilise this momentum, and assist people to achieve their aims, while at the same time improving environmental outcomes. Even with funding, the works come at a cost of time and/or money to the landholders, so support is critical.
Protecting remnant vegetation and planting revegetation helps the whole community by providing ecosystems services, mitigating climate change, improving aesthetics and mental health. 

This project directly assists and engages:
• 38 landholders across 17 properties,
• engages the community with cockatoo and possum conservation
• provides a range of workshops and opportunities to learn about and appreciate our native flora and fauna
• enables and empowers landholders to contribute towards a better climate trajectory and species recovery.

The workshops and field days are designed to provide educational and networking opportunities, continue to build a sense of community and increase community knowledge or environmental works.

• sites visited and documented (photos, mapping),
• site and target species specific revegetation mix selected
• suitable stock exclusion fencing installed
• site works/weed control and planting completed

• sites inspected and documented

Cockatube assessment, maintenance and where necessary relocation with advice/training provided by Sam Rycken, Birdlife (habitat loss, loss breeding hollows, lack of knowledge), installation of duck and possum boxes

Out of breeding season:
• cockatubes assessed, 300mm tubes replaced with large tubes insitu or relocated, in line with current best practice – south side of trees, unobstructed flight path, tubes angled*, ladder facing upward* (*mitigate risk of duck death, remains found in narrow tubes)
• possum and duck nestboxes installed near cockatubes with evidence of duck and possum use,
• monitor duck/possum boxes for use assessing location, height and design

• 300mm cockatubes repurposed, creating two or more nest boxes

Breeding season:
• attempt to locate nest sites
• encouraging community reporting of cockatoo whereabouts
• encourage community to act as lookouts at times of day cockatoos are known to return to nesting sites

• use information gathered to better inform search for nest trees

Workshops, networking and educational opportunities (lack of knowledge, habitat loss, fragmentation)
• cockatoos information sessions
• nestbox building
• plant it and they will come – schools-based environmental education
• collaborative repurposing nestboxes – TCG with SAC Rangers

• revisiting revegetation sites – what works, what doesn’t

This project is supported by funding from the Western Australian Government’s State NRM Program.