Bungawalbin Community Bushfire Recovery projects are underway to assist wildlife and habitat recovery after the bushfires of 2019-2020. Fire burnt through almost the entire Bungawalbin area in Richmond Valley LGA devastating the local community and habitat for threatened species and ecological communities.
Jimmy Malecki, President of Bungawalbin Landcare said “Fire burnt close to my house and we were fortunate to save it. Much of the wildlife could not be saved from the fires. Now Bungawalbin Landcare members and the local community are working to restore natural areas after the bushfires to bring back habitat for our native animals.”
Grant funding from the Australian and NSW Governments has been assisting bushfire recovery since 2020. Bungawalbin Community Bushfire Recovery projects are supporting weed and feral animal control over more than 12,000 ha of public and private land.
World Wide Fund for Nature-Australia (WWF-Australia) is also supporting bushfire recovery in the Bungawalbin area through its Regenerate Australia program.
Tanya Pritchard, Landscape Restoration Project Manager with WWF-Australia said “The bushfires have left species like koalas fighting for their very survival. We’re confident we can turn around the sad decline of this Aussie icon on the east coast, but it will take a huge effort and cross-sectoral partnerships to restore and protect habitat, including critical landscapes in the Bungawalbin region.”
Craig Faulkner, Principal Ecologist with ReconEco is leading the feral animal management component of the project. Craig said “Feral pigs, foxes and wild dogs can be a major threat to wildlife, particularly threatened species. Our work has been reducing the numbers and impacts of vertebrate pests in the Bungawalbin area. This assists recovery of native wildlife populations, particularly threatened species like the emu that is unique to the area.”
Dewayne Edwards, Bush Regeneration Team Leader with Minyumai Land Holding Aboriginal Corporation (MLHAC) said “Since the bushfires both weeds and native plants have regrown. We have been working to control weeds, including Lantana and Cat’s Claw Creeper, so that native plants can provide habitat for wildlife.”
Minyumai bush regenerators are from the local Bandjalang Traditional Owners of the Bungawalbin and surrounding area. The area has deep cultural significance and is home to many endangered plants and animals.
Dan Cox, Restoration Ecologist with Envite Environment, said “The Bungawalbin area has one of the highest areas of fauna biodiversity in north-east NSW. Threatened species include the Regent Honeyeater, Glossy Black-Cockatoo, Koala, Yellow-bellied Glider, Spotted-tail Quoll, Long-nosed Potoroo, Grey-headed Flying-fox, Golden-tipped Bat and Giant Barred Frog. The project is contributing to long term recovery of these and additional threatened species (12 plants and 46 animals) and 4 ecological communities listed as threatened in NSW. The area also includes habitat for the North Coast Emu population which is close to local extinction with less than 100 birds remaining.
Landholders are gaining skills and knowledge to manage natural areas after bushfire by working alongside Envite Environment and Minyumai professional bush regenerators.
People interested in bushfire recovery can contact Maree Thompson at Envite Environment on 0428116895 if they would like to take part in upcoming community workshops or find out more about the bushfire recovery work underway in the Bungawalbin area.
These projects are supported by the Australian Government’s Bushfire Recovery for Wildlife and their Habitats.