Noosa targets koala protection
WILD dogs will be targeted as part of a multi-pronged approach to improve protection for koalas in Noosa.
A draft, five-year Noosa Shire Koala Conservation Plan which aims to improve survival rates, increase habitat, reduce the impact of both wild and domestic dogs, improve education and boost research is now open for six weeks of public comment.
One study as part of the Moreton Bay Rail Project at Amcor found a single dog responsible for 58 cases of koala deaths in one month.
While the example is considered unusual the Noosa conservation plan recommends existing wild dog strategies be directed in and around the mapped priority Koala Habitat Areas.
Where legal mechanisms allow, Noosa Council will continue to apply development control, with the aim of avoiding and mitigating impacts on koalas.
It says improved understanding of the distribution and abundance of koalas will enable a more informed response when assessing developments.
Mayor Tony Wellington said there were important vegetation linkages that cross jurisdictional boundaries.
"Noosa Council will need to work with Sunshine Coast Council and Gympie Shire Council to help protect this habitat," he said.
The council last year engaged the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC) and Detection Dogs for Conservation, to conduct surveys on Council reserve and on Land for Wildlife (LFW) properties to determine the presence of koalas.
The university is now researching the long-term sustainability of koalas and has applied to the Noosa Biosphere Foundation and the Commonwealth for additional funding to progress its work.
The region's total koala population remains unknown but recent sightings have been recorded at Peregian Beach, Weyba, Sunshine Beach, Noosa National Park, Tewantin, Tewantin National Park, Tinbeerwah, Cooroibah, Cootharaba, Doonan, Lake Macdonald, Ringtail Creek, Yurol Forest, Pomona, Cooran, Kin Kin and Woondum National Park.
There has also been a verified sighting on the Noosa North Shore.
Koala numbers have plummeted in South East Queensland due to loss of habitat and impact of urbanisation.
In the 20 years from 1996 number on the Redlands, Logan, Brisbane Koala Coast have fallen 68%.
Individual tree protection provisions are expected in the next iteration of the Noosa Plan and the council will pursue higher penalties for illegal land clearing.
The draft plan also proposes a five-year $100,000 program of habitat tree planting.
Mr Wellington said the draft plan followed extensive consultation with key stakeholders, such as koala protection and environment groups and members of the public.
"The Draft Noosa Shire Koala Conservation Plan details more than 20 actions to help achieve these aims," Mr Wellington said.
"These include an audit of current koala infrastructure such as protective fencing. Council support for University of the Sunshine Coast local koala research will be ongoing."
He said the draft plan also promoted Land for Wildlife programs, Voluntary Conservation Agreements and other incentives to encourage private landowners to help protect koala habitat.
"The actions we take to protect koalas will also improve biodiversity in the local area by assisting non-target species," Cr Wellington said.
"We look forward to hearing from residents across the Shire. It can be as simple as reporting koala sightings to Council."
To read the Draft Noosa Shire Koala Conservation Plan 2016, find out more and have a say, visit libraries, visit yoursay.noosa.qld.gov.au or telephone Council on 5329 6500.