Native habitat recovery
The Native habitat recovery in the Parramatta River catchment project aims to expand, restore and manage the extent of native habitats in the fragmented landscapes of the Parramatta River catchment. Using a regional, multi-stakeholder approach the Parramatta River Catchment Group (PRCG) will undertake this collaborative project through a series of distinct stages over a 2 year period. The first phase will involve a species richness study of the fauna that make up a vital part of vegetation communities. Using this knowledge, high priority sites and potential corridors will be identified and targeted for on-ground restoration and expansion, linking these communities across the landscape (phase 2). The third phase will deliver targeted biodiversity awareness training to council outdoor staff whose work may impact on terrestrial and aquatic biodiversity.
The project has been made possible through a NSW Environmental Trust grant and involves a number of project partners including Ashfield, Auburn, Blacktown, Canada Bay, Hunters Hill, Ryde, Parramatta and Strathfield Councils, along with Sydney Olympic Park Authority and BirdLife Australia. City of Canada Bay is leading the project on behalf of the PRCG.
Strategically approaching biodiversity, particularly native habitat restoration, at a landscape level is not consistently being undertaken in the Parramatta River catchment leaving many sites as isolated islands within the urban environment. These sites become increasingly vulnerable to impacts such as weed and feral animal infestation, genetic seclusion due to reproductive restrictions, the effects of climate change, and local extinction. In addition, the Parramatta River catchment has one of the highest rates of human population growth in Australia. With the ongoing pressures of urban consolidation, these vitally important areas of native habitat require a strategic, catchment-wide management approach to ensure their ongoing survival. Identifying and establishing key linkages between these remnant sites provides a critical stepping stone for nomadic fauna species moving between core areas of habitat such as the numerous national parks and nature reserves both north and south of the catchment.
When addressing habitat restoration, much of the focus is placed on vegetation. However, vegetation communities co-exist with the fauna that inhabit and symbiotically sustain them. There is an increasing number of studies within the scientific literature to suggest that approaching restoration from the perspective of fauna diversity and abundance is equally important and a potentially more responsive and strategic method of managing biodiversity.
The project will approach habitat restoration on a landscape scale through the development of a catchment-wide fauna species richness study. The study will provide a sound scientific foundation on which to identify and prioritise sites of high biodiversity value. The project will also incorporate the latest vegetation mapping to assist in determining key corridors and linkages between priority sites.
The project will provide a strategic view of where to invest future resources for biodiversity preservation and enhancement across the catchment and will ultimately benefit all residents and visitors to the Parramatta River catchment, by improving the health and vitality of the local environment in which they live, work and play.