Key Result/Vision: A clean environment, with high biodiversity and ecosystem integrity.
Goal 1: A thriving natural environment which is preserved and protected and its biodiversity fostered and rebuilt.
Goal 2: A community that is well informed and educated about environmental issues.
(Note: The issue of environmental sustainability of course underlies the entire Sustainability Plan.)
News and Updates...
Bushfires and Birds - How You Can Help
Bushfires are devastating our wildlife and their habitats. Some birds manage to escape the heat and flames but will be displaced and starving. You may be seeing more birds in your gardens and local areas.
What can we do to help? More info here
Richmond Birdwing Butterfly Project
In late November 2020, about 3 weeks after the start of the Mt Nardi bushfire emergency we saw a huge number of Richmond Birdwing Butterflies appear all over our catchment area and it is thought they fled the forest for lack of food and/or to escape the fires, the heat and smoke. How many of the vines upon which their larvae are totally dependant have survived the catastrophe is as yet unknown. The vines must be mature (min 7-10 years old) and have fresh new growth to support the caterpillars when they hatch. Hopefully enough butterfies made it back to the vines in time to lay their eggs. We are watching out for a possible second hatching arund March 2020. In the meantime if you know of any mature vines it is worth keeping water up to them and mulching them if you are able to.
Contact the Nimbin Environment Centre for info about sourcing the vines to plant at your place.
Top 5 Biodiversity Tips for Nimbin
Nimbin has one of the highest levels of biodiversity in NSW. This is at least partly due to over 40 years of habitat restoration by Nimbinites. BUT with so many species under threat across Australia it is more important than ever to protect and enhance Nimbin’s biodiversity.
Our current targets are the Richmond Birdwing Butterfly—of which there are several remant pockets around Nimbin, and habitat for Mountain Brushtail Possums and gliders in particular. Possums and gliders need up to 6 dreys each to survive. Mountain Brushtails are the largest possums in the world and are specific to this region and SE Qld. They require large nests and are at high risk of vulnerability due to habitat loss.
Our Top 5 Biodiversity Tips are:
Be a RESPONSIBLE pet owner. Control your dogs at all times. Make sure your cat is de-sexed and either keep it indoors or invest in an outdoor cat run — domestic cats can have a devastating effect on local wildlife.
PROTECT habitat. That old dead gum tree might look like firewood to you, but it is probably an apartment block for wildlife. It can take up to 100 years for hollows to form in gum trees.
THINK TWICE before felling your old trees.
REPLACE nesting habitat: Install nest boxes wherever you can to compensate for the loss of nesting habitat in our area. For hints on how to make nesting boxes see the Wildlife Preservation Society of Qld or the WIRES NR websites.
PLANT species which promote local wildlife. Koalas, possums and gliders all rely on eucalypts. Possums and gliders also rely on wattles - leave your Sally Wattles to grow.
Plant insect attracting and nectar producing plants for a variety of wildlife.
ENCOURAGE Richmond Birdwing Butterflies by planting the Birdwing Butterfly Vines and removing Dutchman’s Pipe vines. For more info see the Richmond Birdwing Butterfly Conservation Network website.
Richmond Birdwing Butterfly Vine - plant these.
Sustainable Living Hub - One of the main ideas to emerge in this context again relates to the Sustainability/Demo house idea, and the 7 Sibley St project is now well underway.
Biodiversity - baseline data - in the process of looking at biodiversity issues we have identified that there is no baseline data specific to our bioregion and as a result it is almost impossible to track biodiversity, species decline or general environmental health, which in turn limits the community’s ability to identify or develop focussed strategies to maintain or increase local environmental health.
In the most recent Community Sustainability survey we asked a question about a range of species in the catchment area.
As a rule, flora is most commonly used by scientists and researchers as indicators of environmental health, however we asked about fauna rather than flora as most people can more accurately and reliably identify birds and animals than plants. However, some of the species listed are difficult to identify so these results are qualified on that basis. We provided a picture board for participants with images and descriptions of the animals, birds and reptiles listed, to assist people in the identification process.
We are very glad to see how much wildlife respondents have observed within 500m of where they live (in the 6 months period prior to the survey), including some of the rarer or hard-to-see species as follows:
Platypus - 18%
Regent Bower bird – 33%
Lyrebird – 5%
Feather tail glider – 6%
Birdwing butterfly – 8% (we will be investigating this further since this butterfly is critically endangered, to see if there is scope to build on the existing population)
Koala – 24%
43 Nimbinites recorded 148 koalas during the great koala count in November 2013. A pretty good result since that was a period of bad weather and many of the koalas which had been very active in the weeks before (and the weeks after!) the count period went fairly quiet. It seems even the Nimbin koalas resist the census! The count will happen again next year. By comparison, 53 respondents to our own Community Sustainability Survey reported they had seen a koala within 500m of where they live in the past 6 months, which is a similar result. See the map below of the Nimbin koalas located. Map Courtesy of the Great Koala Count, National Parks Association of NSW.
Coal Seam Gas - the local CSG-free roads survey was conducted by a group of volunteers (not by NNIC) in 2012. The survey had one of the highest participation rates in Nimbin's recent history, including the census.
The survey covered almost every resident (1,830 people) of each of the 42 roads of the Nimbin Valley inc the Lismore-to-Nimbin road from Terania St, and through Booerie Creek and Goolmangar. The survey covered to the end of Stoney Chute Rd, and from Nimbin to the end of Blue Knob Road, but did not include the rest of the Nimbin catchment in the Barkersvale, Wadeville and Uki areas...these are being done separately.
Over 98% indicated they are opposed to CSG development in the Nimbin valley.
To learn more about the CSG-free roads surveys as well as lots of other stuff about CSG in the Northern Rivers...see CSG-free NR website here.