June 30 - July 20, 2024: Issue 630

Councils' Net Zero Expo: Simplifying solar for home and business

Published June 28, 2024
Missed out on Council's Net Zero Expo?  The presentations from subject experts has been made available in the video below.

Koala genocide continuing at Appin: still no fauna passes in place as habitat destroyed - petition launched to save mallaty creek corridor

Trees have been bulldozed along Appin road in recent weeks to service a developers housing project. 

Videos posted on social media show the landscape along Appin Road has changed overnight. Rows of trees that once provided safety for koalas along Appin road have been bulldozed.

Another video shared shows yet another koala killed beside the road - meaning around 10% of that population has died in the past year alone.

Nearby works have bulldozed core koala habitat, leading the Total Environment Centre to launch a petition to protect the critical habitat and koala corridor at Mallaty Creek. 

''The government plans to fence off Mallaty Creek as part of urban development plans in the Cumberland Plain that we have been fighting for years. This decision threatens the survival of the healthiest koala colony in NSW.' TEC states

''Mallaty Creek is the most direct east-west corridor connecting the Georges River and the Nepean River, recognised by the NSW Government as a Biodiversity Corridor of Regional Significance. This habitat is essential for the survival of koalas, feeding directly into the new Georges River Koala National Park. Despite being recognised by the Chief Scientist in the past and included in the Final Cumberland Plain Assessment Report, the government’s current plans could devastate this critical area.

Our petition urges NSW Environment Minister Penny Sharpe to act now to protect the Mallaty Creek koala corridor by maintaining its current status and enhancing it with additional underpasses along Appin Road. This would significantly improve connectivity for koalas and align with best practice recommendations for wildlife corridors.''

The plan to increase capacity of the once quiet koala thoroughfare by upgrading Appin road from two lanes to four, to help service a 1700-dwelling housing project by LendLease, which states that it will help tackle the NSW housing crisis.

The developer has stated its road works are an important safety measure. "Following approval from Transport for NSW this year, we’ve wasted no time in starting works to upgrade Appin Road to improve safety for motorists and koalas,"

It argues the removal of the trees are in fact a necessary part of the preparation required before the eventual construction of exclusion fencing to keep koalas off the road, and the building of concrete underpasses to allow them to cross underneath, despite the NSW Chief Scientist recommending in 2020 overpasses alike that installed on Mona Vale road.

The works have begun before the underpasses were built and are being carried out without any fauna mitigation measures in place.

The new incumbent government has been presented with information that shows records had not been uploaded to Bionet, miscalculating what wildlife lives in the area, and was missing when the schemes were being considered, has allocated funding for a 'koala hospital' in the area - given grants to the local council to put up signs asking people to reduce their speed - and still the deaths continue because the road was built through the koala habitat, making it easier to access what's left on either side for development. Successive governments at local, state and federal level allow wildlife habitat and the individuals and families of koalas and all other species as 'collateral damage' that may or may not recover its colonies, flocks, swarms, as long as the developments keep going outwards building cheek by jowl infestations of housing for humans.

The koalas that live in the Cumberland Plain region are the only population in NSW that doesn't suffer from chlamydia which causes sterility and death. Their preservation is seen as critical if the state wants to avoid the extinction of koalas within the next two decades.

A parliamentary inquiry in 2020 concluded "urgent action" was needed to avoid the already endangered populations being wiped out, with development causing habitat destruction revealed as the key problem. However, facing pressure to combat Australia's housing crisis, both successive state and federal governments have continued to 'fast-track' projects on land where koalas live.

Australia’s largest wildlife rescue group WIRES has expressed concerns about the design of the underpasses, calling them a “dark choice”. It has accused Transport for NSW of ignoring advice from WIRES, ecologists and the broader community.

The NSW State Government stated on Monday March 18 2024 it has delivered on its commitment to strengthen protection for koalas while helping deliver much-needed housing in western and south-western Sydney, by enhancing the Cumberland Plain Conservation Plan.

The Cumberland Plain Conservation Plan (CPCP) provides up-front biodiversity approvals, removing the need for individual landholders and developers to seek their own biodiversity approval. Both the former Coalition Government and the new Labor government state it speeds up planning processes while giving the community certainty about the future of their area.

Under the just announced 'enhanced' plan, the government states $49 million has been committed to deliver the first stage of a new national park in the Gulguer area to provide critical wildlife corridor connections.

A further $31 million will be used to protect and restore small, isolated patches of rare, at-risk native vegetation in areas such as Orchard Hills, that might otherwise degrade over time.

An additional $22 million will be allocated to fast-track the preservation of around 60 ha of critically endangered Cumberland Plain Woodland.

The changes will come into effect over the next 12 months, the statement announces.
Meanwhile, another koala has been killed by being hit by a vehicle trying to get to its home across the Appin road, where no even temporary fences, underpasses or fauna overpasses  are in place.

Those promised to be built are not even on the horizon in any schedule of works. 

Wollondilly Shire Council announced on June 27, 2024 it has endorsed the Appin Growth Area Contributions Plan to fund $1.53 billion worth of local infrastructure for the area, following a period of consultation where the community and relevant industry members provided feedback on the Plan.

The contributions will go towards transport, open space, stormwater management and community facilities land for a revised estimated population of 55,950 and 18,650 homes in the Appin Growth Area over a 30-year period.

The contributions are based on strategic benchmarks for implementing costs set by the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART). The refined Contributions Plan will now be referred to IPART for assessment and approval, as it is in excess of the $20,000 per lot/dwelling cap.

Mayor Matt Gould said, “Appin is one of the largest single growth areas to be released in Greater Sydney with no existing essential infrastructure to leverage development off. It is currently a rural living environment, which means a large amount of new basic infrastructure is required to transform it to an urban growth area.”

“Council’s position has consistently been that housing development in Appin is premature without a fully funded, binding infrastructure plan linked to the delivery of housing.”

“Providing local infrastructure for a new community comes with significant cost, so Council is looking to make sure this is in place before people move into the Growth Area.”

“As much as we want developers to take responsibility for providing all the infrastructure needed to support new developments, the contributions need to be at a level that will be approved by IPART, which is how we arrived at $1.53 billion. Council is unable to artificially escalate costs.”

“Unfortunately, there are limits on what Council is allowed to include in the Plan and not everything needed to support the community will be covered through it, with other important infrastructure including community, recreation and aquatic facilities and major road connections still to be funded, including Broughton Pass.”

The Appin (Part) Precinct was approved by the NSW Government in June 2023 comprising 12,900 new dwellings with more precincts expected to be rezoned in future. The announcement follows a May 29, 2024 response to the announcement by NSW Premier Chris Minns which ties $200 million in funding to councils based on meeting and exceeding new housing targets, Wollondilly Mayor Matt Gould has reaffirmed Council’s position that infrastructure must come before development.

Wollondilly is already going above and beyond to support the NSW Government in its push to address the housing crisis. We’re one of the fastest councils in Greater Sydney and NSW for determining Development Applications and one of very few councils that has been meeting, and well and truly exceeding, the current housing targets.

The new five-year housing target announced for Wollondilly was then announced to be 5,500, with the NSW Government target set on the basis that around 90% of this is already in the system to be delivered.

Mayor Gould said, “Building thriving communities relies on an effective partnership between local, state and federal government.”

“I’m pleased the NSW Government has responded to our calls for housing to be focussed on our growth areas and other existing areas of Sydney.”

“Wollondilly can continue to deliver on our promises and play our part in addressing the housing crisis by providing homes in our growth area at Wilton, but we will only be able to do this if our area gets the right funding and infrastructure from developers and the State Government now.”

“Over the past decade Wollondilly has done more than its fair share of heavy lifting on housing supply. We are one of very few councils that exceeded our five-year housing target of 1,550 dwellings between 2016 and 2021.”

“We have put systems and processes in place to accelerate the assessment timeframes for Development Applications and we continue to be one of the fastest Councils in Greater Sydney and NSW for determining DAs, even while having some of the largest DA numbers for housing. We averaged 60 days in 2023/24 and 78 days in 2022/23, compared to an average of 148 days in 2023/24 and 136 days in 2022/23 for Greater Sydney.”

“I have been clear in my calls to Government over the past couple of years - there might be a housing crisis, but in the Wollondilly Shire we have an infrastructure crisis. We have land zoned to deliver over 12,000 new homes in Wilton and the State has zoned another 12,000 in Greater Macarthur, without a plan for infrastructure.”

“In light of today’s announcement, Wollondilly remains firm on its commitment to the community and to the State of NSW. We have a strong 30-year land use vision for our Shire and we plan to deliver much needed housing at Wilton, but we need developers, Sydney Water, Transport for NSW and other government infrastructure agencies to come to the table with resources and infrastructure to support the housing supply.”

“In Wollondilly, the lack of investment by Sydney Water and other state agencies is going to bring housing to a grinding halt, unless the state government invests time and money in the areas where it has already committed to supply housing, especially in Wilton.”

“By 2027, Sydney Water will no longer be able to service 75 per cent of the expected new houses in Wilton through its wastewater capacity cap, and this will blow out by thousands more homes by 2032. History is likely to repeat itself in Appin, if the proposal continues down the same path and we do not have a binding infrastructure agreement in place.”

As part of today’s announcement, Premier Chris Minns has moved to try and rebalance housing targets across Sydney, by increasing housing density in established suburbs closer to the CBD. 82 per cent of the reworked target will come from “infill,” where infrastructure is already in place, compared to 18 per cent which will come from greenfield developments.

Western LGAs of Camden, Campbelltown, Fairfield, Hawkesbury, Liverpool, Penrith, and Wollondilly will take 22 per cent of the total target of 59,100 new homes.

'And kill 100% of the koalas at the rate they are being lost' those trying to save them have stated, again, this past week.

Campbelltown Koala. Photo courtesy Patricia Durman, taken August 2022

TEC and the Sydney Basin Koala Network group state Mallaty Creek is:
  1. The most direct corridor from the Georges River to the Nepean River
  2. Mapped by the NSW Government as a Biodiversity Corridor of Regional Significance
  3. Feeds directly into the new Georges River Koala National Park
  4. Is habitat critical to the survival of Koalas
  5. Was recognised by the Chief Scientist
'This is also at odds with the Final Cumberland Plain Assessment Report (Biosis 2021) which states: “Habitat within the corridors (C&D) will be protected as avoided land and will provide insurance habitat which may be expanded through revegetation to support Koalas in the future” (pg.1260). 

The Chief Scientist’s advice (2020) also advised Mallaty Creek should be kept: “this corridor (D) is suitable for koala movement and should be protected with exclusion fencing and additional buffer zones” (pg 53) also noting on page 39 of the 2021 advice the vital need for riparian refugia for koalas as the impacts of urban heat, bushfire, and climate change increase. 

albanese government approves gasfield in koala habitat until 2080: thereby cancelling its own 'net zero by 2050' spin show permanently

The Federal Government has approved a Gina Rinehart-backed coal seam gas project in inland Queensland that will raze koala habitat. Koalas are listed as 'endangered in Queensland and at the federal level.

Senex’s stage 3 Atlas project will involve the construction of up to 151 coal seam gas wells, as well as access roads, associated pipelines and a 300 million litre CSG brine storage facility north west of the town of Miles.

The project is expected to require the drainage of about six and a half million litres of groundwater each day as the coal seams are depressurised. This depressurisation of coal seams across Queensland’s Western Downs is causing some of the country’s best farmland to sink. 

The Independent Expert Scientific Committee on Coal Seam Gas and Large Coal Mining Development (the IESC), which provides independent scientific advice to the Australian and state government regulators on the potential impacts of coal seam gas and large coal mining proposals on water resources, stated in its Atlas Stage 3 Gas Project Advice that;

'The project documentation provided is severely limited, especially relating to adequacy of baseline data, hydrogeological analysis and presentation of conceptualisation, and the conclusions drawn by the proponent. This substantially constrains the assessment of impacts to surface and groundwater resources, GDEs and other third-party users and the assessment of potential cumulative impacts.'

Minister Plibersek's assignee, Mark Hall, Acting Branch Head of Environment Assessments Queensland Branch, approved the Stage 3 of Senex’s Atlas project on June 24 2024. The project’s environmental impact statement shows it would clear 530 hectares of “koala dispersal habitat”. The final approval disguises the amount of habitat clearing, describing the clearing as “four ha of trees, measured in canopy cover within mapped Koala dispersal habitat.” 

The proponent states in its documents;
''The total disturbance area during construction of gathering lines (including temporary additional construction areas for drainage feature crossings, road crossings, inter-property tie-ins, HDD) will be ~264ha and after post-construction rehabilitation will occupy ~80ha.''

The EPBC Project portal shows the Project Area: 12312.20 Ha and that the Disturbance Footprint is: 12312.20 Ha - across the WHOLE of the area, with 80 hectares, according to the proponents own documents, left 'disturbed' permanently. 

However the approval states:
'The approval holder must not:
a) clear any Koala foraging and breeding habitat.
b) clear more than 2.1 hectares (ha) of Squatter Pigeon dispersal habitat.''

The approval has effect until 30 June 2080, leading over 50 environment groups, including the Northern Beaches Climate Action Network, to pour con on the Albanese Government's claims Australia will be 'net zero by 2050' while approving fossil furl projects given approval to operate three decades past that benchmark.. 

An associated high pressure gas pipeline, which received federal environmental approval earlier in June, will also clear 35 hectares of koala habitat, 30 hectares of greater glider habitat, 28 hectares of glossy black cockatoo habitat, and nearly five hectares of Dulacca woodland snail habitat. 

All these species are listed as endangered at state and federal level.

The Albansese Government's approval of the Atlas Stage 3 project comes shortly after more than 50 community groups wrote to the Federal Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek, demanding that she prioritise koala habitat over fossil fuel development.

According to the Queensland State Government’s most recent publicly available figures, at least 16,499 coal seam gas wells have been drilled in Queensland, and granted petroleum leases cover at least 3.5 million hectares of the state. 

Since its rapid expansion began in the mid 2000s, the industry has impacted hundreds of water bores used for farming and caused large areas of productive farmland to sink as the extraction of water and gas from the coal seams creates subsidence.

This was illustrated almost 10 years ago when George Bender, a Queensland farmer, found he had lost 2 bores due to CSG operations impacting on his water source.

Mr. Bender, who took his own life on October 14 2015, had refused to sign an agreement with them for these wells and Origin were threatening to take him to court to force the wells on him.

He was located in the middle of the contamination zone from the Linc Energy underground coal gasification project.

He had been fighting for 10 years to keep Origin off his land. 

The then Coalition Federal Government re-approved the controversial Carmichael coal mine despite ongoing concerns from environmental groups and the Queensland farming community. Environment Minister Greg Hunt gave it the green light on the same day George lost his life, Wednesday October 14 2015, ignoring risks to endangered species and groundwater resources in the area.

At that time, Queensland farmers were committing suicide at twice the rate of the rest of Australia.

The loss of George Bender was attributed directly to the Queensland state government telling farmers they could not keep CSG proponents off their land.

As news of the Atlas Stage 3 approval broke Lock the Gate Alliance National Coordinator Ellen Roberts said, “Minister Plibersek is happy to pose for photos with cute and cuddly koalas one day and then approve the clearing of hundreds of hectares of koala habitat for new Gina Rinehart-backed coal seam gas developments the next.

“Koalas face death by a thousand cuts and despite her assurances that there would be no new extinctions under her watch, Tanya Plibersek is yet to fix Australia’s broken environment laws and prevent further loss of koala habitat and ensure that the impacts of climate change on them are not ignored for a project like this. 

“The expansion of the coal seam gas industry in Queensland is irreversibly damaging the state’s best farmland. Water has been contaminated, water bores drained, and cropping country is sinking.

“Queensland communities are particularly vulnerable to climate change, yet our governments continue to approve polluting fossil gas projects that are sending the climate crisis into overdrive. 

“The vast majority of Queensland’s gas is exported overseas, and the biggest domestic user of gas in Queensland is the gas industry itself. There would be no need for this project if Australian and Queensland governments were managing existing gasfields in the national interest. 

“Generating energy for industry must not come at the cost of the state’s best farmland, its water resources, and unique ecosystems.”

Sarah Hanson-Young is Greens Spokesperson for the Environment and Water stated last week:
“Today Gina Rinehart is cheering the Government’s approval of 151 new gas wells, threatening more than 500 hectares of koala habitat.

“This will kill koalas, waste billions of litres of water and fuel the climate crisis. 

“In the very week Labor’s weak environment laws are before the Parliament, the Environment Minister is backing more fossil fuels and more destruction.

“There’s nothing in Labor’s weak environment laws to stop these catastrophic approvals continuing, which is why the Greens are pushing to fix the laws with a ban on native forest logging and a climate trigger.”

Adam Bandt MP, Greens Leader, Spokesperson for Climate & Energy said:
“Labor are climate frauds.

“Tanya Plibersek has just approved a massive new Gina Rinehart gas project to run until 2080, well after Labor says Australia will be at net zero emissions.

“There is now next to no difference between Labor and the Liberals when it comes to coal and gas.

“It's no wonder people are increasingly saying it is getting more difficult to tell Labor and the Liberals apart.”

According to the environment department, there are still 39 proposed new coal mining projects in NSW and QLD awaiting federal government assessment. More than half of these coal projects would destroy koala habitat, including;  
  • Whitehaven Coal’s Blackwater South coal project, which could affect up to 7000 hectares of koala habitat west of Rockhampton in Central Queensland 
  • Vitrinite’s Vulcan South project in QLD, which will clear 770 hectares of koala habitat
  • Glencore’s Hail Creek project in QLD, which will clear nearly 600 ha of koala habitat
  • Whitehaven Coal’s Narrabri Project in NSW, which will clear nearly 500 hectares of koala habitat with around 235 hectares of this habitat being defined by Whitehaven as "core habitat"
  • Yancoal’s Moolarben project in NSW which will clear 113 hectares of occupied koala habitat, and 675ha of bushland home to a number of threatened species
State and federal government action statements for the koala say the two biggest threats to koalas are habitat loss, and climate change. The 50 groups who signed the letter say Minister Plibersek can address both of these threats by rejecting koala-killing coal projects. 

However, as mentioned by Adam Bandt MP, there is still nothing in any current or upcoming Bill to refuse these applications. Further, the Albanese government has been talking up its own Morrison-style 'gas-led recovery' soon after becoming the new Australian government.

Echidna Love Season Commences

It's time to slow it down on the roads! Echidnas breed from mid-June to early September in NSW, so from now on, male echidnas begin to actively seek out females to mate.

Echidnas are most active in the lead-up to their Winter mating period, so if you live in an area with lots of native bush nearby, you may have a small spiny visitor. 

Echidnas live solitary lives but in breeding season, the female is suddenly very popular and up to 10 males will start to follow her around. This courtship can last up to a month, at which time the female will make her choice from the remaining males. 

The females breed every 3-5 years – they do not have a proper pouch but the mammary glands swell up on either side of the belly when an egg develops and the egg is laid directly into it. A blind, naked puggle emerges from the egg about 10 days later. Milk is secreted through special pores on the female’s belly. Puggles are suckled in this rudimentary pouch for two or three months. When the puggle develops spines and becomes too prickly, the mother will build a nursery burrow for it.

Unlike many other native animals, Echidnas are relatively unafraid of people and can pop up in the most unexpected places.

If you see an echidna and it is NOT injured please leave it alone and DO NOT approach it and do not attempt to contain it. Never relocate any healthy echidna as it risks them losing their scent trail or leaving young unattended in the burrow. Echidnas have a type of inbuilt GPS which we don’t want to interrupt.

The best thing to do in this situation is for everyone to simply to leave the area for a period of time, allowing the echidna to make its own way. If you have a pet please keep it contained well away from the animal, and you will find that the echidna will move away as soon as it is sure it is out of danger, and feels secure.

If you do find a distressed or injured echidna over the next few months, please call Sydney Wildlife Rescue For 24/7 Emergency Rescue or Advice, Ph: 9413 4300 or WIRES on 1300 094 737.

Photo: a Mona Vale echidna. Picture courtesy Alex Tyrell

Muogamarra Nature Reserve Open Season: Bookings now available

by: NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service 
Bookings are now open for guided and self-guided tours of spectacular Muogamarra Nature Reserve during its strictly limited open season.

Experience blooming spring wildflowers and enjoy stunning views over the Hawkesbury in the special area, just north of Sydney, near Cowan. This year, the unique haven celebrates 90 years since it was established. 

The reserve is open for just 6 weeks each year to protect its fragile ecosystem and Aboriginal heritage, honouring the original intention of founder John D. Tipper.  

The only way to view the reserve is via a guided or self-guided tour, with tours available from August 17 – September 22 on selected days. Be sure to book quickly and not miss out.
For more details and to book visit nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/muogamarra
Photos; P. Goldie/DCCEEW, J. Spencer/DCCEEW

Have your say: Pest animal management plans for NSW

Closes Monday 8 July 2024.
The NSW Government are asking landholders and the community to provide feedback on the draft 2024-2028 Regional Strategic Pest Animal Management Plans for 11 regions across NSW.

The plans aim to reduce the social, environmental and financial impact of pest animals in NSW and inform landowners on how to prevent the spread of new invasive species.

Tell them what you think
The Government states it has recently updated plans to reflect local community needs but they also want to hear from you.
Have your say on the pest animals that are priority in your region to ensure the plans reflect your needs and expectations.

Greater Sydney Strategic Pest Animal Management Plan.
The Government states the Greater Sydney Regional Strategic Pest Animal Management Plan 2024-2028 was developed through consultation with a range of stakeholders.

All landowners/occupiers are responsible for managing pest animals on their land. In this regard, all public and private land managers are the target audience of the plan.

The plan covers 7 established pest species such as feral deer, feral pigs and wild rabbits. It also highlights 'alert species' which are pests that have been detected elsewhere yet pose a significant risk to the community and industries in the Greater Sydney region of NSW.

cane toad found on the Central Coast a few years ago - image supplied

Sails to Shelter: 2024

Do you have aging sails or sails you no longer need? RPAYC is supporting Bambak, a new business repurposing retired sails from ending up in landfills through their Sail-to-Shelter program in Vanuatu. They repurpose recycled sails to build shelters and household goods in Vanuatu and Australia, promoting community well-being and environmental health.
On the weekend of 20-21 July, a special drop-off bin will be on-site at RPAYC. 

Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club - RPAYC
16 Mitala Street, Newport

Murrumbidgee Regional Water Strategy: have your say

Consultation period
From: 22 May 2024
To: 14 July 2024
NSW Government is seeking feedback on the draft Murrumbidgee Regional Water Strategy including the shortlist of proposed actions.
The NSW Government states it is taking action to improve the resilience of water resources in the Murrumbidgee region.

''The draft Murrumbidgee Regional Water Strategy sets out a shortlist of proposed actions to help deliver healthy and resilient water resources for a liveable and prosperous region.''

Community feedback is being sought on the draft Murrumbidgee Regional Water Strategy, including the shortlist of proposed actions, from 22 May until 14 July 2024.

Attend a webinar
Find out more about the proposed changes by attending a webinar.

Webinar 1
Date: Wednesday 12 June 2024
Time: 5pm to 6:30pm

Webinar 2
Date: Friday 14 June 2024
Time: 12pm to 1:30pm

The Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water staff will provide an update on the draft Murrumbidgee Regional Water Strategy, including the short list of proposed actions, and answer your questions.  

You are also invited to complete an online submission.
To access the submission form, register for an event, and read more about the strategy visit the consultation website at: https://water.dpie.nsw.gov.au/our-work/plans-and-strategies/regional-water-strategies/public-exhibition/murrumbidgee

Priority 1 : Continue to improve water management
Priority 2 : Improve river and catchment health
Priority 3; Support sustainable economies and communities
Priority 4: Sustainable water management in the upper Murrumbidgee catchment

Have your say
Have your say by Sunday 14 July 2024.

You can provide feedback in 7 ways, via an Online Consultation or at one of 6 Community Meetings

Murrumbidgee River at Wagga Wagga, October 2003. Photo: Bidgee

Draft NSW Murray Regional Water Strategy: Have your say

Consultation period
From: 22 May 2024
To: 14 July 2024
The NSW Government is seeking feedback on the draft NSW Murray Regional Water Strategy including the shortlist of proposed actions.

Attend a webinar
Find out more about the proposed changes by attending a webinar.

Webinar 1
Date: Wednesday 12 June 2024
Time: 5pm to 6:30pm

Webinar 2
Date: Friday 14 June 2024
Time: 12pm to 1:30pm

Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water staff will provide an update on the draft Murray Regional Water Strategy, including the short list of proposed actions, and answer your questions.

You are also invited to complete an online submission.
To access the submission form, register for an event, and read more about the strategy visit the consultation website.

Priority 1: Continue to improve water management
Priority 2: Improve river and catchment health
Priority 3: Support sustainable economies and communities

Proposed shortlisted actions: 

Have your say
Have your say by Sunday 14 July 2024.
You can provide feedback in 7 ways.

An Online consultation or at one of 6 Community meetings

The confluence of the Murray River and Murrumbidgee River near the town of Boundary Bend. Photo: Scott Davis

Murray Valley Floodplain Management Plan: Have your say

Consultation period
From: 20 May 2024
To: 30 June 2024
The NSW Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water is seeking feedback to inform a new Murray Valley Floodplain Management Plan.
The NSW Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water is developing a new floodplain management plan for the central Murray Valley Floodplain.

Floodplain management plans set the rules for flood work development on floodplains in rural areas.

The rules specify what types of flood work people can construct and where they can do it.

Stage 1 public consultation allows the community to give early feedback on key elements for preparing the draft plan, including:
  • the proposed floodplain boundary
  • the historical flood events used for modelling
  • the floodway network
  • cultural and heritage sites
  • ecological assets, and
  • local variances to some rules.
To assist you in understanding the key elements proposed and how to make a submission, please read the Report to assist Stage 1 public consultation.

One-on-one appointments
You are invited to book a 40-minute, one-on-one appointment with departmental staff to learn more:
  • Moama, Wednesday 5 June
  • Deniliquin, Thursday 6 June
  • Barham, Wednesday 12 June
  • Moulamein, Thursday 13 June.
Online appointments
Online appointments are also available on 3, 4, 11 and 17 June. 

Online appointments are 30-minutes.

Find out more and book an appointment for the Murray Valley Floodplain Management Plan consultation.

Note: all submissions will be made public on the NSW Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water’s website unless clearly marked confidential. You can ask that your submission be anonymous.

Have your say
Have your say by Sunday 30 June 2024.

There are 3 ways to have your say.
  1. Survey
  2. Email: floodplain.planning@dpie.nsw.gov.au
  3. Formal submission: Postal Address: Murray Valley FMP, Water Group - NSW DCCEEW, PO BOX 189, Queanbeyan, NSW 2620.
To assist you in understanding the key elements proposed and how to make a submission, please:

Plastic Bread Ties For Wheelchairs

The Berry Collective at 1691 Pittwater Rd, Mona Vale collects them for Oz Bread Tags for Wheelchairs, who recycle the plastic.

Berry Collective is the practice on the left side of the road as you head north, a few blocks before Mona Vale shops . They have parking. Enter the foyer and there's a small bin on a table where you drop your bread ties - very easy.

A full list of Aussie bread tags for wheelchairs is available at: HERE 

Volunteers for Barrenjoey Lighthouse Tours needed


Stay Safe From Mosquitoes 

NSW Health is reminding people to protect themselves from mosquitoes when they are out and about this summer.

NSW Health’s Acting Director of Environmental Health, Paul Byleveld, said with more people spending time outdoors, it was important to take steps to reduce mosquito bite risk.

“Mosquitoes thrive in wet, warm conditions like those that much of NSW is experiencing,” Byleveld said.

“Mosquitoes in NSW can carry viruses such as Japanese encephalitis (JE), Murray Valley encephalitis (MVE), Kunjin, Ross River and Barmah Forest. The viruses may cause serious diseases with symptoms ranging from tiredness, rash, headache and sore and swollen joints to rare but severe symptoms of seizures and loss of consciousness.

“People should take extra care to protect themselves against mosquito bites and mosquito-borne disease, particularly after the detection of JE in a sentinel chicken in Far Western NSW.

The NSW Health sentinel chicken program provides early warning about the presence of serious mosquito borne diseases, like JE. Routine testing in late December revealed a positive result for JE in a sample from Menindee. 

A free vaccine to protect against JE infection is available to those at highest risk in NSW and people can check their eligibility at NSW Health.

People are encouraged to take actions to prevent mosquito bites and reduce the risk of acquiring a mosquito-borne virus by:
  • Applying repellent to exposed skin. Use repellents that contain DEET, picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus. Check the label for reapplication times.
  • Re-applying repellent regularly, particularly after swimming. Be sure to apply sunscreen first and then apply repellent.
  • Wearing light, loose-fitting long-sleeve shirts, long pants and covered footwear and socks.
  • Avoiding going outdoors during peak mosquito times, especially at dawn and dusk.
  • Using insecticide sprays, vapour dispensing units and mosquito coils to repel mosquitoes (mosquito coils should only be used outdoors in well-ventilated areas)
  • Covering windows and doors with insect screens and checking there are no gaps.
  • Removing items that may collect water such as old tyres and empty pots from around your home to reduce the places where mosquitoes can breed.
  • Using repellents that are safe for children. Most skin repellents are safe for use on children aged three months and older. Always check the label for instructions. Protecting infants aged less than three months by using an infant carrier draped with mosquito netting, secured along the edges.
  • While camping, use a tent that has fly screens to prevent mosquitoes entering or sleep under a mosquito net.
Remember, Spray Up – Cover Up – Screen Up to protect from mosquito bite. For more information go to NSW Health.

Mountain Bike Incidents On Public Land: Survey

This survey aims to document mountain bike related incidents on public land, available at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/K88PSNP

Sent in by Pittwater resident Academic for future report- study. The survey will run for 12 months and close in November 2024.

Report fox sightings

Fox sightings, signs of fox activity, den locations and attacks on native or domestic animals can be reported into FoxScan. FoxScan is a free resource for residents, community groups, local Councils, and other land managers to record and report fox sightings and control activities. 

Our Council's Invasive species Team receives an alert when an entry is made into FoxScan.  The information in FoxScan will assist with planning fox control activities and to notify the community when and where foxes are active.

marine wildlife rescue group on the Central Coast

A new wildlife group was launched on the Central Coast on Saturday, December 10, 2022.

Marine Wildlife Rescue Central Coast (MWRCC) had its official launch at The Entrance Boat Shed at 10am.

The group comprises current and former members of ASTR, ORRCA, Sea Shepherd, Greenpeace, WIRES and Wildlife ARC, as well as vets, academics, and people from all walks of life.

Well known marine wildlife advocate and activist Cathy Gilmore is spearheading the organisation.

“We believe that it is time the Central Coast looked after its own marine wildlife, and not be under the control or directed by groups that aren’t based locally,” Gilmore said.

“We have the local knowledge and are set up to respond and help injured animals more quickly.

“This also means that donations and money fundraised will go directly into helping our local marine creatures, and not get tied up elsewhere in the state.”

The organisation plans to have rehabilitation facilities and rescue kits placed in strategic locations around the region.

MWRCC will also be in touch with Indigenous groups to learn the traditional importance of the local marine environment and its inhabitants.

“We want to work with these groups and share knowledge between us,” Gilmore said.

“This is an opportunity to help save and protect our local marine wildlife, so if you have passion and commitment, then you are more than welcome to join us.”

Marine Wildlife Rescue Central Coast has a Facebook page where you may contact members. Visit: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100076317431064

Watch out - shorebirds about

Summer is here so watch your step because beach-nesting and estuary-nesting birds have started setting up home on our shores.
Did you know that Careel Bay and other spots throughout our area are part of the East Asian-Australasian Flyway Partnership (EAAFP)?

This flyway, and all of the stopping points along its way, are vital to ensure the survival of these Spring and Summer visitors. This is where they rest and feed on their journeys.  For example, did you know that the bar-tailed godwit flies for 239 hours for 8,108 miles from Alaska to Australia?

Not only that, Shorebirds such as endangered oystercatchers and little terns lay their eggs in shallow scraped-out nests in the sand, NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) Threatened Species officer Ms Katherine Howard has said.
Even our regular residents such as seagulls are currently nesting to bear young.

What can you do to help them?
Known nest sites may be indicated by fencing or signs. The whole community can help protect shorebirds by keeping out of nesting areas marked by signs or fences and only taking your dog to designated dog offleash area. 

Just remember WE are visitors to these areas. These birds LIVE there. This is their home.

Four simple steps to help keep beach-nesting birds safe:
1. Look out for bird nesting signs or fenced-off nesting areas on the beach, stay well clear of these areas and give the parent birds plenty of space.
2. Walk your dogs in designated dog-friendly areas only and always keep them on a leash over summer.
3. Stay out of nesting areas and follow all local rules.
4. Chicks are mobile and don't necessarily stay within fenced nesting areas. When you're near a nesting area, stick to the wet sand to avoid accidentally stepping on a chick.

Possums In Your Roof?: do the right thing

Possums in your roof? Please do the right thing 
On the weekend, one of our volunteers noticed a driver pull up, get out of their vehicle, open the boot, remove a trap and attempt to dump a possum on a bush track. Fortunately, our member intervened and saved the beautiful female brushtail and the baby in her pouch from certain death. 

It is illegal to relocate a trapped possum more than 150 metres from the point of capture and substantial penalties apply.  Urbanised possums are highly territorial and do not fare well in unfamiliar bushland. In fact, they may starve to death or be taken by predators.

While Sydney Wildlife Rescue does not provide a service to remove possums from your roof, we do offer this advice:

✅ Call us on (02) 9413 4300 and we will refer you to a reliable and trusted licenced contractor in the Sydney metropolitan area. For a small fee they will remove the possum, seal the entry to your roof and provide a suitable home for the possum - a box for a brushtail or drey for a ringtail.
✅ Do-it-yourself by following this advice from the Department of Planning and Environment: 

❌ Do not under any circumstances relocate a possum more than 150 metres from the capture site.
Thank you for caring and doing the right thing.

Sydney Wildlife photos

Aviaries + Possum Release Sites Needed

Pittwater Online News has interviewed Lynette Millett OAM (WIRES Northern Beaches Branch) needs more bird cages of all sizes for keeping the current huge amount of baby wildlife in care safe or 'homed' while they are healed/allowed to grow bigger to the point where they may be released back into their own home. 

If you have an aviary or large bird cage you are getting rid of or don't need anymore, please email via the link provided above. There is also a pressing need for release sites for brushtail possums - a species that is very territorial and where release into a site already lived in by one possum can result in serious problems and injury. 

If you have a decent backyard and can help out, Lyn and husband Dave can supply you with a simple drey for a nest and food for their first weeks of adjustment.

Bushcare in Pittwater: where + when

For further information or to confirm the meeting details for below groups, please contact Council's Bushcare Officer on 9970 1367 or visit Council's bushcare webpage to find out how you can get involved.

Where we work                      Which day                              What time 

Angophora Reserve             3rd Sunday                         8:30 - 11:30am 
Avalon Dunes                        1st Sunday                         8:30 - 11:30am 
Avalon Golf Course              2nd Wednesday                 3 - 5:30pm 
Careel Creek                         4th Saturday                      8:30 - 11:30am 
Toongari Reserve                 3rd Saturday                      9 - 12noon (8 - 11am in summer) 
Bangalley Headland            2nd Sunday                         9 to 12noon 
Catalpa Reserve              4th Sunday of the month        8.30 – 11.30
Palmgrove Park              1st Saturday of the month        9.00 – 12 

Winnererremy Bay                 4th Sunday                        9 to 12noon 

North Bilgola Beach              3rd Monday                        9 - 12noon 
Algona Reserve                     1st Saturday                       9 - 12noon 
Plateau Park                          1st Friday                            8:30 - 11:30am 

Church Point     
Browns Bay Reserve             1st Tuesday                        9 - 12noon 
McCarrs Creek Reserve       Contact Bushcare Officer     To be confirmed 

Old Wharf Reserve                 3rd Saturday                      8 - 11am 

Kundibah Reserve                   4th Sunday                       8:30 - 11:30am 

Mona Vale     
Mona Vale Beach Basin          1st Saturday                    8 - 11am 
Mona Vale Dunes                     2nd Saturday +3rd Thursday     8:30 - 11:30am 

Bungan Beach                          4th Sunday                      9 - 12noon 
Crescent Reserve                    3rd Sunday                      9 - 12noon 
North Newport Beach              4th Saturday                    8:30 - 11:30am 
Porter Reserve                          2nd Saturday                  8 - 11am 

North Narrabeen     
Irrawong Reserve                     2nd Saturday                   2 - 5pm 

Palm Beach     
North Palm Beach Dunes      3rd Saturday                    9 - 12noon 

Scotland Island     
Catherine Park                          2nd Sunday                     10 - 12:30pm 
Elizabeth Park                           1st Saturday                      9 - 12noon 
Pathilda Reserve                      3rd Saturday                      9 - 12noon 

Warriewood Wetlands             1st Sunday                         8:30 - 11:30am 

Whale Beach     
Norma Park                               1st Friday                            9 - 12noon 

Western Foreshores     
Coopers Point, Elvina Bay      2nd Sunday                        10 - 1pm 
Rocky Point, Elvina Bay           1st Monday                          9 - 12noon

Friends Of Narrabeen Lagoon Catchment Activities

Bush Regeneration - Narrabeen Lagoon Catchment  
This is a wonderful way to become connected to nature and contribute to the health of the environment.  Over the weeks and months you can see positive changes as you give native species a better chance to thrive.  Wildlife appreciate the improvement in their habitat.

Belrose area - Thursday mornings 
Belrose area - Weekend mornings by arrangement
Contact: Phone or text Conny Harris on 0432 643 295

Wheeler Creek - Wednesday mornings 9-11am
Contact: Phone or text Judith Bennett on 0402 974 105
Or email: Friends of Narrabeen Lagoon Catchment : email@narrabeenlagoon.org.au

Gardens and Environment Groups and Organisations in Pittwater

Ringtail Posses 2023

Extreme wildfires are on the rise globally, powered by the climate crisis

Calum Cunningham, University of Tasmania; David Bowman, University of Tasmania, and Grant Williamson, University of Tasmania

Wildfires are the new “polar bear”, routinely used by the media to epitomise the climate crisis and the threat of major natural hazards. This is despite most fire on Earth being harmless, even ecologically beneficial.

But are wildfires really getting more extreme? Climate sceptics have challenged this claim. They point to a global decline in the area burned and argue the attention given to wildfire is a distracting form of media confirmation bias.

Importantly, not all fire is equal. Most fires are small. Others release enormous amounts of energy. Energetically extreme fires have an outsized impact on the Earth system, injecting vast smoke plumes into the atmosphere comparable to volcanic eruptions. They release huge stores of carbon and cause major damage to ecosystems and societies, sometimes obliterating entire towns or suburbs.

So are these extreme fires getting worse? Yes they are, as our new research, published in the journal Nature Ecology and Evolution, shows. We chart the rapid growth of energetically extreme wildfires across the planet over the past two decades.

Extreme fires are on the rise

We analysed 88 million observations of wildfire from NASA’s MODIS satellites. These satellites pass overhead several times a day. They record fires and the energy they release – known as fire radiative power.

Using this 21-year dataset, we identified energetically extreme fires, defined as the top 0.01% for fire radiative power. Our findings conclusively show there has been a strong upward trend in extreme fire events over the past two decades. Their frequency and intensity more than doubled from 2003 to 2023.

The past seven years included the six most extreme in the 21-year period. This increase occurred in lockstep with global heating, with 2023 smashing temperature records and also having the most intense fires.

Northern hemisphere and Australia hit hard

The fastest increases were in the temperate conifer forest and carbon-rich boreal forest of the northern hemisphere. Recent fires there have released immense amounts of smoke and carbon, threatening to intensify warming.

Last year, extreme fires in Canada blanketed tens of millions of people in the eastern United States in smoke. The fires resulted in dangerous air quality, which is a bigger killer than the flames themselves.

While the frequency of extreme fires increased during both day and night, the rate of increase was fastest at night. We saw this same pattern in last year’s early-season fires in Queensland.

Increasing nighttime fire is significant because rising humidity at night usually slows the growth of fire. This trend means firefighters are getting less respite at night.

Australia was a major hotspot of intense fire. Our land of booms and busts was characterised by sporadic extreme years, such as the devastating 2019-2020 Black Summer bushfires. These coincided with a period of record heat and drought.

The area burned in 2023 in northern Australia was even larger than the extent of the Black Summer bushfires. These recent fires in arid Australia occurred a year after heavy rains and extensive grass growth. When the grass dries out, it provides fuel loads that allow very large fires to form.

Map showing the locations of extreme fires on Earth from 2003 to -\2023
Locations of extreme fires on Earth from 2003 to 2023. Data: C. Cunningham et al 2024

What’s to blame?

There’s little doubt climate change is contributing to much of the global increase in extreme fire events. Climate change is causing the air over land to become drier, which in turn makes fuel dryer, allowing more complete combustion. It is also leading to longer summers and worsening fire weather.

Last year was 1.48°C hotter than pre-industrial levels. It gave us a glimpse of what a typical year of 1.5°C of warming (the targeted limit under the Paris Agreement) might look like.

The way we manage ecosystems likely also plays an important role in the increase in extreme fires.

In particular, many years of suppressing almost all fires has caused a build-up of fuel in some ecosystems. Attempting to suppress all fires paradoxically predisposes forests to burn under the very worst of conditions. Fire suppression becomes impossible, resulting in very large fires.

How do we manage fire in a hotter climate?

Fire is an essential part of nature, and the health of fire-adapted ecosystems depends on it. We need to adapt our management of fire to sustainably live alongside it in a heating climate.

Humans have a major effect on shaping fire regimes through the way we engineer and manage environments. A key part of managing fire in a heating climate must involve managing ecosystems so fires do not become overly hot.

The path forward must embrace old and new approaches. It must welcome the deep wisdom of Indigenous fire management. For millennia, Indigenous Australians skilfully cultivated low-intensity fire regimes. They did this through frequent use of fire fine-tuned to the local ecology.

How Indigenous fire management practices could protect bushland.

But reintroducing low-intensity fire to ecosystems that have accumulated large fuel loads under long-term fire suppression is not always straightforward. Some emerging techniques like mechanical thinning offer promise for helping to reintroduce fire into overgrown situations in the bushland-urban fringe. When coupled with controlled fire, mechanical thinning could help reduce the fire risk of overgrown vegetation and allow cool fire regimes to be used again.

People may be uncomfortable with chainsaws or goats in their nearby patch of bush. But the new climate we are entering calls for open-minded and meticulous testing of all available tools. Like all ecological processes, the right mitigation approaches will depend on the local ecological context.

While the area burned on Earth may be declining in some locations, extreme fires are on the rise. We must respond with a multi-pronged approach. That includes making strong progress on slowing climate change while rapidly adapting our management of built and wild landscapes.The Conversation

Calum Cunningham, Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Pyrogeography, University of Tasmania; David Bowman, Professor of Pyrogeography and Fire Science, University of Tasmania, and Grant Williamson, Research Fellow in Environmental Science, University of Tasmania

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

New drone imagery reveals 97% of coral dead at a Lizard Island reef after last summer’s mass bleaching

Author provided
Jane Williamson, Macquarie University; Karen Joyce, James Cook University, and Vincent Raoult, Griffith University

Last summer, the Great Barrier Reef suffered its worst mass coral bleaching event. Our new data show the devastating damage the bleaching caused to a reef at Lizard Island – a finding that does not bode well for the rest of the natural wonder.

A colleague collected drone imagery from Lizard Island’s North Point Reef in March this year, and we replicated his image collection this month. The results show more than 97% of bleached corals on North Point Reef are now dead.

This is the first quantitative assessment of coral mortality from the last mass bleaching event. We don’t know how much coral died beyond this reef. But we do know that, according to other aerial surveys, almost one-third of the Great Barrier Reef experienced “very high” and “extreme” levels of coral bleaching last summer.

Clearly, if Australia wants to maintain the world-heritage status of the Great Barrier Reef – indeed, if it wants to preserve the reef at all – we must act now to prevent more coral deaths.

Two women in blue shorts watch a drone
The researchers flew drones low over a reef near Lizard Island. Harriet Sparks/Grumpy Turtle Creative

Measuring the damage

Bleaching occurs when corals expel algae from their tissues into surrounding waters, usually due to heat stress. It leaves the coral white, starved and more susceptible to disease. Some coral die immediately. Others may recover if conditions become more benign.

The Great Barrier Reef has experienced five mass bleaching events in the last decade – the most recent in March this year. It was the most severe and widespread mass bleaching event ever recorded there. The tragedy was part of the world’s fourth global coral bleaching event. That declaration was based on significant bleaching in both hemispheres of each ocean basin due to extensive ocean heat stress.

Not all bleached coral will die – it can bounce back. We wanted to find out how many corals affected by the March bleaching event were still alive three months later.

In March, George Roff at the CSIRO documented North Point Reef at Lizard Island using drone imagery. We replicated his imagery in June by also flying drones over the reef. We then snorkelled over the area to observe the situation first-hand.

The drones flew at an altitude of about 20 metres altitude and collected imagery at set times. We then joined the images into two large maps of the reef – one for March and one for June.

The first map showed corals were bleached or “fluorescing” – appearing brightly coloured as they released algae. The June map showed more than 97% of the same corals had died.

Four experts independently assessed the state of each coral in set areas on North Point Reef. This allows us to present our results at North Point with high certainty.

Looking ahead

The Australian Institute of Marine Science will reportedly release its annual report on coral reef conditions later this year. This week, UNESCO expressed “utmost concern” at mass coral bleaching and called on Australia to make public the extent of coral death “as soon as possible”.

Our data suggest an immediate action plan is needed to assess the extent of coral mortality on the Great Barrier Reef. It should include using remote sensing technologies, such as aerial drones and underwater remotely operated vehicles, to efficiently survey large areas. Both methods can provide standardised data and images of reefs, from shallow to deeper areas, which provide baseline data for future research.

Importantly, these data must be made accessible to those who wish to use it. Many scientists, tourists and commercial operators also collect data on the reef, and making all data freely available will help improve and update our understanding of reef health. This will ultimately lead to better decision-making.

We currently have more data than ever before about the Great Barrier Reef – and we need better systems to support open science. And if we are serious about maintaining reef health, Australians must take out international climate commitments seriously, and move quickly to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.The Conversation

Jane Williamson, Professor in Marine Fisheries Ecology, Macquarie University; Karen Joyce, Associate Professor - Remote sensing and geospatial technology, James Cook University, and Vincent Raoult, Senior lecturer in marine ecology, Griffith University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

‘Things started to look dire’: our deep-dive into past climates sounds a warning for this unique corner of Australia

Stephen Beatty
Sean Buckley, Edith Cowan University; Luciano Beheregaray, Flinders University; Mark Allen, Murdoch University, and Stephen Beatty, Murdoch University

Climate change threatens plants and animals around the world, but some regions are particularly exposed. Some are vulnerable simply due to the huge diversity of species they harbour. Others will experience more acute climate disruption than elsewhere. For some regions, such as Western Australia’s southwest, both are true.

WA’s southwest is a globally recognised “biodiversity hotspot”. Such regions have exceptionally high numbers of “endemic” species – those not found anywhere else – and have experienced significant habitat loss. And alarmingly, the region is fast becoming hotter and drier.

Our new research shows how climate stability in the past allowed ancient populations of small freshwater fish to persist today, despite their isolation. This stability is now at risk as climate change worsens, suggesting tough times ahead for these fish populations.

As the planet warms, ambitious conservation actions are urgently needed to save the iconic biodiversity of WA’s southwest – one of Australia’s natural treasures.

a red and gold fish
The populations of pygmy perches were very genetically distinct from each other. Pictured: a western pygmy perch. WA Department of Water and Environmental Regulation

A hotspot for life

There are only two biodiversity hotspots in Australia: the coastal forests of eastern Australia, and southwest WA. The latter spans more than 356,000 square kilometres from Shark Bay to Esperance. It is home to more than 8,000 species of plants, over half of which are endemic. Its animal diversity is similarly impressive.

So how did southwest WA become such a melting pot of biodiversity? Scientists have proposed several reasons.

First, the surrounding arid land isolates it from the rest of Australia, which allowed a unique suite of species to assemble. Second, its landscape and species are ancient – many tracing back to Gondwanan origins. This suggests biodiversity has accumulated for hundreds of millions of years.

And finally, parts of this region have been protected against climate change for millions of years, including during glacial periods, due to a current carrying warm water down Western Australia’s coast. This climate stability is particularly relevant today.

Since the 1970s, rainfall in southwest WA has decreased by up to 15%, and is set to worsen in the near future. Annual temperatures have increased by more than 1°C since the start of the 20th century.

That raises an important question: if species in the region haven’t experienced much climate change in the past, can they cope with it now? Our research set out to answer this question by examining freshwater fish.

Southwest WA’s biodiversity hotspot spans more than 356,000 square kilometres.

A surprising discovery

We used molecular ecology approaches, which combine genetic information with ecological and environmental data. We focused on two small freshwater fish species endemic to southwest WA – the western and little pygmy perches.

Our previous research showed these remarkable species have existed in the landscape for millions of years, despite not being able to move very far. They made ideal candidates for understanding how climate history might have shaped evolution.

We obtained genomic data from populations of these fish across southwest WA. From this, we determined their evolutionary histories, such as how long ago they last shared a common ancestor, and whether their populations had been connected in the past. Separately, using computer modelling, we investigated how past climates had affected where the species lived, and how this might change in future.

So what did we find? The populations of pygmy perches were very genetically distinct from each other. In fact they were so distinct, it is likely they comprise at least three, rather than two, different species.

We found two separate lineages of western pygmy perches. The analysis showed these lineages, despite looking physically similar, last shared an ancestor about nine million years ago. This suggests they should be classed as two distinct species, and the conservation status of both species should be reassessed.

Our genomic results also suggest these divergent populations of pygmy perches must have persisted in the landscape for millions of years. Our climate modelling supported this conclusion.

Our reconstructions of past climate found little evidence for large changes in the distribution of these species in the last three million years. This reflects the general stability in the climate over that time, which allowed these isolated populations to persist and form distinct lineages.

river through bushland
Wooditjup Bilya/Margaret River in southwest WA boasts a unique assemblage of aquatic fauna, including western pygmy perch. Stephen Beatty

What about future climate change?

Unfortunately, things started to look dire when we looked at predictions under future climate changes. Large declines in ranges for the fish species were predicted in the coming decades.

For one of the western pygmy perch species, this included a total loss of suitable habitat by about 2070 under a “business-as-usual” scenario – that is, a scenario where no further efforts to reduce global carbon emissions are made.

Sadly, the effects of climate change on other freshwater species in this region are already being felt. Recent drying of streams has caused a decline in ancient insect species. And less winter-spring rainfall in the region is projected to reduce spawning in freshwater fish populations.

Drying and warming is also reducing the availability and quality of natural refuge pools, which most freshwater fish rely on to survive the dry season.

So what can be done? First, it’s important to make rivers and streams as healthy as can be. That includes restoring and protecting banks, and considering the needs of aquatic species when extracting water.

We must also prevent more non-native fish species from entering waterways, and explore the conservation potential of artificial aquatic refuges such as ponds and dams. And more drastic interventions, such as moving populations to new locations, may also be required.

Of course, reducing our carbon emissions will be crucial for the survival of biodiversity, especially freshwater fish, across the globe.

Climate change poses an existential threat to southwest WA’s unique natural environment and the species within it. Swift, broad-ranging action is needed to avoid tragic losses.The Conversation

Sean Buckley, Lecturer in Molecular Ecology and Environmental Management, Edith Cowan University; Luciano Beheregaray, Matthew Flinders Professor of Biodiversity Genomics, Flinders University; Mark Allen, Post Doctoral Fellow, Centre for Sustainable Aquatic Ecosystems, Harry Butler Institute, Murdoch University, Murdoch University, and Stephen Beatty, Research Leader (Catchments to Coast), Centre for Sustainable Aquatic Ecosystems, Harry Butler Institute, Murdoch University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Devastating coral bleaching will be more common, start earlier and last longer unless we cut emissions

Camille Mellin, University of Adelaide and Damien Fordham, University of Adelaide

Coral bleaching is becoming much more common as a result of increasingly severe and frequent marine heatwaves. Four global mass bleaching events have happened since 1998. Two of these were in the past decade.

Unless greenhouse gas emissions are cut to slow global warming, our new research shows that, by 2080, coral bleaching will start in spring, rather than late summer. Some events will last into autumn. The Great Barrier Reef’s maximum annual heat stress will double by 2050 if emissions do not slow.

Marine heatwaves stress corals, which then expel the symbiotic algae living in their tissue. These corals are left white and weakened. While not all bleached corals die immediately, prolonged heat stress harms their health and reproduction.

Our research used daily data on sea surface temperatures (instead of monthly data that models typically use) and supercomputing to produce high-resolution projections of marine heatwaves. We showed the risk of coral bleaching will be greatest along the equator. That’s also where the most biodiverse coral reefs are found.

Coral reefs cover only 1% of our oceans, but host at least 25% of all marine species. More than half a billion people worldwide depend on coral reefs for food.

So coral reefs are vital for the health of the ocean and people. They are also among the ecosystems most at risk from climate change.

Longer bleaching season will hit spawning

The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration monitors marine heatwaves globally. Seasonal coral bleaching alerts are based on this data. Predicting coral bleaching risk over entire decades has proved much more challenging.

Recent improvements in climate modelling now allow marine heatwaves and coral bleaching risks to be predicted with high accuracy. Using daily projections of heat stress from many global climate models, we show the severity and duration of coral bleaching will soon reach uncharted territory.

By mid-century coral bleaching is expected to start in spring for most of Earth’s reefs, rather than late summer as is typical today. In equatorial regions, corals will be at high risk of bleaching all year round by the end of the century.

In many regions, corals spawn only once a year. These spectacular mass spawning events happen in a single week following a full moon in spring.

By 2040, this spawning event could coincide with severe bleaching risk. This would greatly reduce their reproductive success, causing large-scale coral loss.

Coral spawning
Acropora coral spawning on Magnetic Island in Queensland, Australia. Coral Brunner/Shutterstock

Equatorial regions most at risk

We show the future risk of severe coral bleaching is uneven globally.

The greatest risk is along the equator. Equatorial regions are home to the most biodiverse coral reefs, including conservation hotspots such as the Coral Triangle. To make matters worse, marine life in these regions is particularly vulnerable to accelerated climate change.

Many equatorial species are already living at temperatures near their upper tolerance. They also generally have low abilities to move to track shifting climates. This leaves them at high risk of extinction.

Future risk of coral bleaching under a high-emission scenario (top) and benefit from climate mitigation (bottom). Adapted from Mellin et al. Science Advances 2024

Our research shows equatorial regions are set to benefit least from efforts to curb emissions. We expect significant emission cuts will reduce the annual duration of severe bleaching conditions in all areas except these regions.

The projected highest climate impacts coincide with highest social reliance on coral reefs. This will challenge human populations that rely heavily on their local reefs for their livelihoods and nutrition.

Improving coral reef management

Our research identifies Earth’s reef regions that are at lowest risk of increased bleaching. This will help conservation managers and policymakers prioritise efforts to limit loss of coral reef biodiversity.

We predict much less risk of coral bleaching in regions such as the northern coasts of Venezuela and Colombia, Socotra Island (opposite the Gulf of Aden) and Alor Kecil in Indonesia. Seasonal upwellings occur here, bringing cooler water to the surface that’s likely to limit the severity of heatwaves.

Identifying these future havens for coral reefs will help maximise the success of coral conservation strategies such as assisted evolution, coral restoration or transplantation.

These strategies can help maintain healthy coral populations at local scales, particularly if used on reefs where future climate impacts will be lower. By pinpointing these havens, our research will strengthen coral conservation.

Our research includes a user-friendly web-based tool for mapping future coral bleaching. It will help pinpoint locations for effective management interventions.

Curbing greenhouse gas emissions is the main solution to reduce future climate impacts on corals. However, other strategies are also vital to maximise coral reefs’ adaptation to climate change.The Conversation

Camille Mellin, Senior Lecturer and ARC Future Fellow, School of Biological Sciences, University of Adelaide and Damien Fordham, Associate Professor of Global Change Ecology, University of Adelaide

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Most marine protection measures are not working – a new, more flexible approach is needed

Ningaloo Marine Park in Australia is well-known for its thriving whale shark population. Andrea Izzotti/Shutterstock
Peter JS Jones, UCL

The radio crackles into life on a small boat off an idyllic beach in Ningaloo Marine Park, Western Australia. Two recreational fishers are trying to catch prized spangled emperors in a sanctuary zone, where all fishing is supposed to be banned, to help protect this fish from overfishing.

A recreational fisher further down the coast is using his radio to alert others of the imminent arrival of marine park wardens in a patrol boat. The two fishers calmly stash their rods, power up the large outboard engine, and motor away from the sanctuary zone. By the time the wardens arrive, all appears calm and well. This scenario illustrates how challenging it can be protect marine wildlife from the sometimes damaging effects of human activities, such as fishing.

Almost every country in the world is trying to achieve an internationally agreed legal target to protect 30% of their land and sea area by 2030. Setting up marine protected areas, such as marine parks, is an important way of achieving this target. But they have to be effective in actually reducing the negative effects of human activities, as well as fair to local people in avoiding excessive restrictions. There are concerns that the race to create more marine protected areas or underwater nature reserves could be distracting governments from the challenges of ensuring that conservation measures are as effective as possible in fairly reducing harm from human activities that threaten marine wildlife, such as fishing and tourism.

To explore different ways of addressing such challenges, our research assessed the effectiveness of 50 marine protected areas in 24 countries, from Ecuador to Madagascar and Vietnam. We compared the strengths and weaknesses of different conservation measures for protecting marine wildlife by using a set of 36 “governance incentives” – these include providing financial compensation, requiring legal accountability and establishing local groups that encourage community participation in discussions, decisions and related research.

Working with 70 researchers from various countries, we interviewed around 20 people involved in each of the 50 marine protected areas, from fishermen to tourism operators and recreational sea users. We also analysed marine conservation measures to see how effective they were and observed day-to-day activities on the coast.

Our aim was to understand how people perceive the effectiveness of some of these marine conservation measures and explore their views about which activities, such as fishing, could be better managed.

brown sign stating Mandu Sanctuary Zone, with grassy sand dunes in background, blue sky
Mandu Sanctuary Zone in Australia is a prime snorkelling destination and the reserve encourages visitors to look, don’t touch when they swim. Peter Jones, CC BY-ND

The 50 MPAs scored a low average of 2/5 for effectiveness – a lot of protective conservation measures were in place on paper but they were not effective in reducing the harmful effects of certain human activities to protect marine wildlife. This reveals the need for these marine protected areas to make a more tangible difference, rather than just being what many term “paper parks”, that exist in legal texts but not in practical reality.

Our research confirms that there’s no one key to success – different combinations of conservation measures work best to improve effectiveness in different locations. One clear overall trend was that a more diverse mix of management approaches resulted in greater reduction of the effects of fishing, tourism and other human activities.

Tackling illegal fishing

In Western Australia, Ningaloo and Shark Bay marine parks demonstrate how this can be done relatively well to reduce negative effects and better conserve marine wildlife. Here, fisheries officers enforce legal restrictions on recreational fishing, which has led to the recovery of some previously overfished populations, such as pink snapper, and increases in recreational fishing catches. But it can be challenging to prevent illegal fishing in remote no-take sanctuaries, as the scenario above illustrates. Recreational fishers who are caught breaking the rules are fined, but these fixed penalties are often not enough to discourage further illegal fishing.

Marine wildlife watching, particularly for whale sharks and bottlenose dolphins, is managed through a restricted number of licences for tour boats to operate. Legal conditions to prevent disturbance to whale sharks and dolphins are attached to these licences, enforced by vessels competitively watching each others operations, in the hope that they can acquire additional wildlife watching licences. Satellite surveillance and patrols by wardens helps to monitor wildlife watching vessels.

Brown sign with marine conservation logos that explain look, don't touch, gravel path and blue sky in background
Observe to conserve - that’s the key message for visitors to Ningaloo marine park in western Australia. Peter Jones, CC BY-ND

Ningaloo and Shark Bay marine parks also promote fairness to local people. The traditional ways of life of aboriginal Australians are respected and their understanding of ecosystems generated over many generations is learnt from. They are employed as wardens and research officers for the parks. Each of these two parks has a committee that provides for participation in discussions and decisions by local people representing different interests, including aboriginal Australians.

Ecosystems are more resilient to the impact of human activities if they support a wider diversity of species. Marine protected areas represent complex social and ecological systems, each interacting in different ways with local people in coastal communities. Our research shows that there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. There are examples of good practice, such as Ningaloo and Shark Bay marine parks, but even they aren’t perfect, as the challenge with illegal fishing illustrates. And what works in one situation may not work in another.

Our research also shows that to successfully protect 30% of their land and sea by 2030, governments and local people should use diverse management approaches in combination, rather than unrealistically seeking one best solution. The key to resilience is diversity, both of species in ecosystems and conservation measures in protected area management systems.The Conversation

Peter JS Jones, Emeritus Professor of Environmental Governance, UCL

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Our ‘frog saunas’ could help save endangered species from the devastating chytrid fungus

Anthony Waddle
Anthony Waddle, Macquarie University

All over the world, frogs are being wiped out by the chytrid fungus. At least 500 species have declined, including as many as 90 species now presumed extinct.

This catastrophic and ongoing biodiversity loss surpasses the devastation wrought by other notorious invasive species such as cats, rats and even cane toads. Short of removing species from the wild and treating them in captivity, few strategies exist to deal with the chytrid threat.

Our new research, published today in the journal Nature, offers a promising option.

Outbreaks of chytrid (pronounced “KY-trid”) are more common in cold winter months – just like seasonal human flu. We found a way to combat these winter outbreaks using heat. Our purpose-built “frog saunas” allow affected amphibians to warm up and bake off their infections. They are so simple you can build a frog sauna using supplies from the hardware store.

Why should we care about frogs?

If frogs’ good looks are not enough for you to care about their welfare, perhaps learning how they contribute to the environment or human health will pique your interest.

Frogs eat insects that carry and spread human diseases. Their skin is also a rich source of new medicines that could help us combat antibiotic-resistant “superbugs” or curb the startling increase in opioid addiction.

The frogs themselves are food for many predators, including humans.

Often starting life as a tadpole eating algae, before morphing into a carnivorous adult, frogs carry energy from aquatic ecosystems onto land – where it can be transferred throughout the food web. So losing a single frog species can have serious flow-on effects.

A green and golden bell frog among green leafy plants in an outdoor enclosure at Macquarie University, Sydney.
The green and golden bell frog has declined from more than 90% of its former range since the chytrid fungus arrived in Australia. Anthony Waddle

The origin and spread of chytrid

It’s likely the chytrid fungus originated in Asia, where the pathogen seems to coexist with native amphibians. But chytrid is deadly elsewhere, possibly because other frogs have no natural defences.

Chytrid harms frogs by disrupting the integrity of their skin, depleting electrolytes needed for heart function. Infected frogs can die of cardiac arrest.

Chytrid has spread worldwide through the trade of amphibians, becoming a seemingly permanent part of ecosystems. As eradicating chytrid from the wild is not possible, we need a way to help frogs battle infection.

Chytrid: the frog-killing fungus, featuring Associate Professor Lee Berger (Australian Academy of Science)

Introducing frog saunas

Research has shown chytrid is worse in winter. My colleagues and I wondered whether, if frogs had access to warmth during winter, could they fight off infection?

The fungus can’t tolerate high temperatures, so if we gave frogs a place to stay warm – even for a few hours a day – perhaps they could survive and recover.

We tested this idea, both in the laboratory and in outdoor experiments.

First we established that endangered green and golden bell frogs will select temperatures that reduce or eliminate chytrid infections, when given the opportunity.

Then we conducted experiments in the lab, with 66 infected frogs. The group given the option of choosing the temperature they liked best rapidly cleared their infection. The group placed in a set, warm temperature also cleared their infection, but it took longer. The low-temperature control group remained infected.

Next, we wanted to see what would happen if frogs that cured infections with heat would still get sick. Or were they immune? The group of 23 heat-cured frogs were 22 times more likely to survive the second infection than the 23 frogs that were heat-treated but not previously infected. So frogs cured with heat acquire resistance to future infections.

Finally, we wanted to see if this could work in a natural setting. We ran outdoor experiments with 239 frogs. Half were infected with chytrid one week before the experiment began. Then they were placed in enclosures with artificial structures that heat up in the sun, called “frog saunas”. But the frogs could choose from shaded and unshaded areas, with or without saunas.

We found frogs flocked to the sunny saunas, heated up their little bodies, and quickly fought off infection. Think of frog saunas as little factories that pump out healthy, chytrid-resistant frogs.

The frog saunas could be used on a wider scale. We believe they would be best suited to supporting populations of Australian green and golden bell frogs, but they could be useful for other species too.

The saunas are made of inexpensive materials that can be found at your local hardware store, making them accessible to the general public and wildlife managers alike.

We are already building shelters at Sydney Olympic Park, working with Macquarie University and the Sydney Olympic Park Authority. The park is home to one of the largest remaining populations of green and golden bell frogs.

A collection of frog saunas inside small greenhouses, arranged around a pool of water in Sydney, at sunset
Frog saunas have been set up to support a wild population of frogs in Sydney. Anthony Waddle

Want to get involved?

You can become a citizen scientist and help save frogs from extinction. Start by downloading the FrogID app to learn how frogs are faring. Record frog calls with the app for scientists to identify them. This helps provide valuable data for frog conservation.

Build a frog sauna for your backyard, to help keep them healthy through winter.

It’s essentially a brick-filled greenhouse, warmed by sunlight. All you need is some common clay ten-hole masonry bricks, black paint and cable ties – and a little greenhouse to put the sauna inside.

Changing the fate of frogs

Since the discovery of chytrid more than 25 years ago, the pathogen has been a seemingly insurmountable challenge to endangered frog conservation. Now, we have developed a promising, inexpensive and widely applicable strategy to combat chytrid.

Amphibians are such a diverse group that no single approach will be suitable for all species. So this is no silver bullet. But a useful tool for even one threatened or endangered species is cause for optimism.

The concept could also be applied to other wildlife diseases, where differences between the physiology of the host and pathogen can be exploited.The Conversation

Anthony Waddle, Schmidt Science Fellow in Conservation Biology, Macquarie University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Four photos that show the potential of rewilding nature

David Gelsthorpe, University of Manchester

As curator at Manchester Museum for 18 years, I’ve helped create a new exhibition, Wild, that showcases some incredible projects that are bringing plants and animals back from the brink of extinction, healing the land and restoring hope.

Often, the story of wildlife loss and climate change can seem overwhelming, so I’m excited about highlighting solutions that tackle some of the negative ways people influence nature. From June 5 2024 to June 1 2025, this exhibition brings these stories to life, through a rich selection of plants and animals from the near-extinct purple emperor butterfly that thrives at Knepp, an estate in West Sussex, England, to wolves making a dramatic return to Yellowstone National Park in the US.

The Wild team and I have chosen objects, films and photographs that highlight some of the most inspiring ways people are rewilding landscapes, from community action to protect green spaces in the city of Manchester to restoring the ancestral lands and practices of previously colonial land in south-west Australia by the Noongar people. By inspiring awe and wonder, the exhibition gives glimpses of how nature can thrive when given the opportunity.

The word “wild” means different things to different people and, in terms of rewilding, what works in one place may not work in another. But all the projects featured in Wild have a fresh approach to biodiversity loss and embrace a brighter future where people and nature thrive.

Isle of Arran

A velvet swimming crab (pictured above) crawls through stunning pink-purple maerl – a type of hard seaweed – on the seabed in Lamlash Bay, where the marine ecosystem has flourished. A decade-long campaign by the Community of Arran Seabed Trust culminated in Scotland’s first No Take Zone where no fish or shellfish can be taken from the water, seabed or shore, in 2008. This is a response to the effects of overfishing and dredging that led to the collapse of the marine ecosystem around the bay.

The thriving maerl beds of Lamlash Bay are a sign of a healthy seabed. These habitats support abundant wildlife such as crabs and shellfish and act as nursery areas for commercial species, such as cod, scallops and pollock. Maerl grows very slowly, around 1mm per year, but over time they can create complex habitats that rival those of coral reefs. In unprotected areas, maerl is easily damaged by seabed dredging and trawling and because of their slow growth, it takes a long time to recover.

In just ten years, this marine ecosystem has started to recover with both seabed biodiversity and the size and abundance of commercial species increasing.


The Knepp Estate is a trailblazing 3,500-acre rewilding project in West Sussex where the reintroduction of Tamworth pigs has transformed the landscape through turning over the soil and adding dung. By grazing the lush vegetation, just seven pigs have created conditions for increased biodiversity, such as the rare purple emperor butterfly. Knepp is now a breeding hotspot for nightingales and turtle doves.

For 17 years, landowner Charlie Burrell tried to farm this land but found it impossible to compete with new, industrialised farms on better soils. In 2002, inspired by European rewilding projects, he began a new more regenerative approach.

At Knepp pigs, cattle, deer and horses churn up the ground and trim back plants, stopping trees from taking over. Their dung restores the soil by adding nutrients. These grazers and browsers create dynamic new habitats for a wide range of plants and animals. By introducing grazers and then taking a hands-off approach, there has been an increase in biodiversity.


Yellowstone National Park in the US is 2.2 million acres (almost half the size of Wales). This park played a pivotal role in the birth of “fortress conservation”, the controversial idea that wildlife thrives best when isolated from people. This saw the forced removal of Indigenous people from the land in preference for creating and protecting an area of wilderness.

In 1926, the last wolf pack was systematically killed in the park. Conservationists realised that the removal of wolves had knock-on effects on the ecosystem. In the 1990s, the government decided to reintroduce wolves into Yellowstone. This affected local communities and their relationships with wildlife.

Now, wolves help restore the ecological balance of this area by reducing the number of elk grazing willow on the riverbanks. This provides more food for beavers, which create dams and enrich wetlands. This photo hints at the more complex ecosystems that are now developing in Yellowstone.

The presence of wolves divides opinion, but while they were once portrayed as the scourge of wildlife, they’re now viewed by many as a force for good.

Urban Manchester

Cities are not just full of people, they are also home to a diverse range of species: some we notice and like, others we notice and don’t like, and others we simply ignore.

Green cities are attractive, good for our health and wellbeing, and can become more liveable in a changing climate. Manchester aims to encourage nature to thrive.

green and yellow dandelion plants growing between cracks of grey stony pavement
Dandelions growing across a cobbled street. congerdesign/Pixabay, CC BY

These dandelions encroaching onto our streets and alleyways are a source of joy to some while others find them messy. Some people see dandelions as weeds and a home to rats.

Sometimes scruffy places that are good for nature are not ones people feel comfortable with. In making green spaces that are good for people to use, we sometimes lose the natural wildness and the wildlife that was there already.

Wild can offer hope. It is about relationships between people and the natural world so it matters what wild means and how it is done. This exhibition aims to encourage people to rethink what “wild” means to them, to find inspiration in messy city centre spaces and to celebrate the abundance of nature when it is given space to thrive.

Imagine weekly climate newsletter

Don’t have time to read about climate change as much as you’d like?
Get a weekly roundup in your inbox instead. Every Wednesday, The Conversation’s environment editor writes Imagine, a short email that goes a little deeper into just one climate issue. Join the 30,000+ readers who’ve subscribed so far.The Conversation

David Gelsthorpe, Curator of Earth Sciences, University of Manchester

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

How quickly does groundwater recharge? The answer is found deep underground

Andy Baker, UNSW Sydney; Margaret Shanafield, Flinders University; Marilu Melo Zurita, UNSW Sydney; Stacey Priestley, CSIRO, and Wendy Timms, Deakin University

You would have learned about the “water cycle” in primary school – water’s journey, from evaporation to rainfall to flowing in a stream or sinking into the ground to become groundwater.

Despite how simple it sounds, there are actually some large unknowns in the cycle – especially concerning groundwater.

We don’t know, for example, how fast aquifers – porous rock layers saturated with water – recharge. Or how much water actually makes it underground. And how much rain do you need to refill these underground reservoirs?

These questions are crucial because we rely very heavily on groundwater. It’s far and away the world’s largest source of fresh water we can access. There’s more water in the polar ice, but we can’t use it.

Our research team has been exploring a new approach to groundwater: going down to where the water is, using caves, tunnels and mines. We have installed a new network of groundwater sensors in 14 sites across Australia’s southeast – some more than 100 metres below the surface.

This is already giving us valuable data. For instance, in old mines in the Victorian gold mining town of Walhalla, we found it took more rain than we expected to start the recharge.

Why does groundwater recharge matter?

Worldwide, we are using groundwater much faster than it can naturally replenish. Researchers have found rapid declines in the water table of over 0.5 metres a year across many regions globally.

This is a real concern for Australia, the world’s driest inhabited continent. While the tropical north gets plenty of rain, it’s harder to come by elsewhere.

Across the continent, groundwater accounts for 17% of our accessible water resources. But it accounts for more than 30% of our total water use.

Groundwater is an essential resource, estimated to contribute A$6.8 billion to GDP.

In the Murray Darling Basin, groundwater extraction increased between 2003 and 2016, reaching 1,335 billion litres a year on average.

Native plants and animals in arid regions often rely entirely on groundwater bubbling up through springs.

Perth relied so heavily on groundwater that it’s depleting its aquifer, forcing the government to build desalination plants. Even now, Western Australia relies on groundwater for two-thirds of its water needs.

This is why recharge rates matter. If we’re using groundwater at the same rate it recharges or less, that’s sustainable use. But if we’re pumping out far more than it can refill, that’s unsustainable.

Groundwater recharges from rainfall which seeps through the soil into deeper layers where evaporation can’t get to it. It can also refill from surface waters. But recharge is difficult to measure accurately.

How can we better track groundwater recharging?

Researchers in Darwin recently undertook the largest analysis to date of long-term rainfall recharge across Australia. They used 98,000 estimates of recharge rates, using data from bores and machine learning algorithms.

The result was surprising. They estimated the average recharge rate for the Australian continent was just 44 millimetres per year. But it differs a great deal depending on where you are. In humid, wet climates such as across the Top End, the water table rose by 203mm a year. But in arid climates, it was just 6mm.

For comparison, the typical annual rainfall in Sydney and Brisbane is just over 1,000mm per year.

This study poses a challenge to our understanding of groundwater recharge. The estimates in this study are substantially lower than studies relying on contemporary water balance models, which report more than double the amount of recharge for Australia.

One issue is the Darwin research was not able to show where the groundwater came from or how old the water is. You might think groundwater recharges quickly, but a quick recharge means it takes years. A slow recharge can take thousands of years.

This gap is a concern. Our water authorities need the most accurate data possible on annual recharge rates – and the age of the water.

Our network of hydrological loggers are now gathering underground data in sites such as the gold mine in Stawell, in Victoria, and South Australia’s Naaracoorte Caves, famous for fossils, as well as mines and tunnels in New South Wales, Queensland and Tasmania.

Natural caves and groundwater are often fairly shallow. We wanted to get deeper data, which is why we chose mines. Our deep sites are over 100 metres underground.

Our sensors can detect each groundwater recharge event by doing something very simple: counting drips from the ceiling, and comparing them to what’s happening on the surface, so we can see where and when groundwater recharges.

Last month, we presented initial results, which show large variation.

Walhalla lies in the foothills of the Great Dividing Range outside Melbourne. It’s relatively rainy, with over 1,200mm per year.

Our sensors showed us the water table here had recharged 15 separate times over the 18 months to March 2024.

Despite the high annual rainfall, more than 40mm of rainfall over two days was needed to overcome dry summer conditions and cause recharge to start.

By contrast, Stawell’s gold mine is in an arid climate ~200 kilometres west of Melbourne, with under 500mm of rain annually. Even 100 metres underground, we could see water from rainfall moving through small pathways in the rock. But unlike Walhalla, we could not see the effects of individual rainstorms. By the time the water got that deep, any pulses were smoothed out.

We hope our data will be useful to groundwater researchers and water authorities, and expand how much we know about a resource we think little about – but which matters a great deal to how we live. The Conversation

Andy Baker, Professor, School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, UNSW Sydney; Margaret Shanafield, Senior researcher, Hydrology/hydrogeology, Flinders University; Marilu Melo Zurita, Associate Professor Human Geography, UNSW Sydney; Stacey Priestley, Research Scientist, Environment Business Unit, CSIRO, and Wendy Timms, Professor of Environmental Engineering, Deakin University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Coal-free in 14 years as renewables rush in: new blueprint shows how to green the grid – without nuclear

Teun van den Dries/Shutterstock
Dylan McConnell, UNSW Sydney

Coal will no longer be burned for power in Australia within 14 years. To replace it will require faster deployment of solar and wind, storage, new transmission lines and some firming gas capacity.

That’s a very brief summary of a large and influential document – the Integrated System Plan issued by the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) every two years.

The latest version of this plan was issued today. Think of it as a roadmap, showing what we need to build and where to be able to wean ourselves off burning fossil fuels for electricity.

It shows the lowest cost way to give us electricity in the future is renewable energy, connected with transmission and distribution, firmed with storage and using gas-powered generation as farmers might use a diesel generator – as a backup plan.

What about nuclear, given Peter Dutton’s pledge to build seven reactors? The plan doesn’t consider it, because nuclear power is currently not legal. But an accompanying AEMO fact sheet notes CSIRO’s GenCost report found nuclear generation to be a lot more expensive than other options:

In fact, it is one of the most expensive ways to generate electricity according to GenCost [and] the time it would take to design and build nuclear generation would be too slow to replace retiring coal fired generation.

What is this plan for?

Australia’s main grid connects eastern and southern states, where most of us live. Historically, it was built to connect cheap but polluting coal plants to large cities.

As coal plants retire, we need a different grid so we can draw renewable power from many different locations and use storage as backup.

That’s what this plan is intended to do. To create it, AEMO relies on detailed modelling and consultation across the energy sector. This brings it to what the operator calls an “optimal development path” – energy speak for the cheapest and most effective mix of electricity generation, storage and transmission, which meets our reliability and security needs while supporting emission cutting policies in the long-term interests of consumers.

One of the most important roles for the plan is to show where we need new electrical infrastructure – especially transmission lines.

The key findings of the final plan have not materially changed from the draft. But there are some changes worth noting.

Emissions reductions to the fore

In November last year, emissions reductions were formally embedded as an objective in our national electricity laws.

In March this year, the market commission issued guidelines on how to apply these changes to the objectives in various processes, including the Integrated System Plan.

There are important figures in this guidance, namely the value of emissions reduction, set at A$70 per tonne today to $420 per tonne by 2050. This is not a direct carbon price. It lets us assess the value of different grid pathways in terms of cutting emissions.

AEMO calculated an extra $3.3 billion in benefits realised in the optimal development path when including this value. Including this benefit is expected to help get some transmission projects get approval.

More storage, delayed transmission

New transmission projects have also proved controversial and difficult to develop, while the New England renewable energy zone in NSW has hit substantial delays. AEMO’s draft plan envisaged this important solar and wind rich region would reach full capacity by 2028. This has blown out to 2033.

The good news? In the seven months since the draft came out, a huge amount of new storage has begun to arrive. Some 3,700 megawatts of storage capacity (10.8 gigawatt hours worth of energy) have progressed to the point it can be included in the plan.

There are signs the renewable roll-out has slowed down, due to grid congestion, approvals and the need for more transmission lines. Things are still ticking along – since the draft plan was put out for consultation in December last year, another 490 megawatts of large-scale generation has entered the grid. This does need to speed up: the plan envisages 6,000 megawatts of renewable capacity, including rooftop solar, arriving yearly.

grid battery
Grid-scale batteries are arriving – and fast. corlaffra/Shutterstock

What does it say about nuclear power?

Nothing at all. The Integrated System Plan only models technologies legal in Australia, such as black coal with carbon capture and storage. Nuclear power was banned by the Howard Coalition government in the late 1990s.

The AEMO fact sheet makes mention of nuclear to point out that it is a very expensive form of energy and would not arrive in time to replace retiring coal plants. We would need something else in the interim.

The Coalition has indicated it would support new gas-fired to ensure the electricity grid remained reliable until nuclear plants were online.

What about ‘renewable droughts’?

To smooth out the peaks and troughs of renewable generation, we will need different firming technologies. These include storage such as batteries and pumped hydro, as well as traditional hydro, gas and other fuelled generation. Firming help manage changes in supply and demand and ensure a reliable system. Demand response – where users are rewarded to use less during peak periods – can also help ensure reliability.

AEMO’s report argues “flexible gas” generation will have to provide back-up supply during periods of what Germans call “dunkelflaute” – long periods of dark and still days during mid-winter, when solar and wind generation go missing. Flexible gas is expected to play a role for extreme peak demand, particularly in winter.

But this capacity is expected to be very rarely used. Think of “flexible gas” as you would a diesel generator – you’ve got it as a backup if needed. In the near future, a generator like this may generate just 5% of its annual potential. The emissions intensity of a grid with so little gas generation will be tiny.

Does this mean we’ll never be able to entirely banish fossil fuels? Not necessarily. Greener alternatives, such as green hydrogen or methanol, might mean we can take the last step away from burning fossil fuels for power. The Conversation

Dylan McConnell, Senior Research Associate, Renewable Energy & Energy Systems Analyst, UNSW Sydney

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

No nuclear veto: if the Coalition isn’t seeking community consent, is that really consultation?

Diane Sivasubramaniam, Swinburne University of Technology and Samuel Wilson, Swinburne University of Technology

The Coalition shook up Australia’s energy debate last week when it unveiled the seven sites where, if elected, it would build nuclear power plants. In making the announcement, the Coalition emphasised the importance of community consultation in its nuclear energy plan. But what does that actually mean?

Back in 2019, Ted O'Brien, now the Coalition’s shadow energy minister, said governments should only pursue nuclear power with a “commitment to community consent for approving nuclear facilities”. As then chair of the parliament’s energy committee, he released a report titled “Not without your approval”.

Last week the Nationals’ deputy leader Perin Davey backed this position, indicating the Coalition would not proceed with nuclear power plants in towns that were adamantly opposed.

But now the Coalition has changed its tune. They will explain the benefits of nuclear power to communities set to host reactors, rather than giving residents the power to veto the plans. That means the Coalition will simply be consulting communities about how to implement a done deal.

No right to veto

The seven sites for nuclear power plants mooted by the Coalition are: Tarong and Callide in Queensland; Liddell and Mount Piper in New South Wales; Port Augusta in South Australia; Loy Yang in Victoria; and Muja in Western Australia.

In a position at odds with the Coalition’s previous stance, Nationals leader David Littleproud last week said the proposed nuclear plants would not be contingent on the consent of local communities. Instead, the Coalition government would be “prepared to make the tough decisions in the national interest”.

The two-and-a-half-year consultation process would “take the Australian people on a journey” and ensure they understood the plan, Littleproud said.

Similarly, Opposition Leader Peter Dutton said community consultation would not be about securing the consent of affected communities, but rather about explaining why nuclear power plants are a good idea:

we will consult about the benefits, frankly, for those communities, and how we can help revitalise some of those towns at the moment that are wilting.

All this raises the prospect of communities being forced to host nuclear reactors against their wishes.

Top 3 issues with community consultation

The mixed messages from the Coalition highlight three problems with community consultation, as I outline below.

1. Will community views be acted on?

If community members are not granted the authority to influence the outcome of a consultation process, is it actually “consultation”? According to procedural justice scholars, the answer is no.

Proponents of controversial projects often point to community consultation efforts to claim they have a social licence to operate. But there are ethical concerns associated with purportedly granting people a “voice” in decisions, simply to satisfy the appearance of procedural fairness, with no intention of actually taking their views into account.

Community consultation should be a genuine attempt to gauge the views of those affected by a decision in order to shape an outcome. If this is not the intention, we should call it something else – and be clear with people about what is within their power to control.

2. Who is being consulted?

A “community” is not a united, homogeneous group. A resident of a town may also be part of other communities. Perhaps they are a member of an online Taylor Swift fan club, a Ghostbusters appreciation society, or a 5G opposition group. These other affiliations link them to other realities and viewpoints.

In our digital world, we cannot ignore the influence of online communities. Nor can we ignore the problems posed by misinformation and disinformation that create further polarisation.

In a town of people with different (and often polarised) points of view, no single voice represents “the community”. There are several ways to determine what is “the common good” or in the community’s interest.

International best practice shows us the solution lies in good process: ensuring genuine engagement of diverse voices at all stages, from policy design through to implementation.

3. In-principle support versus reality

The Coalition plans to take its nuclear proposal to the federal election and then, if elected, implement it with a national mandate. This ignores the fact that a voter may be broadly supportive of nuclear energy or wind power in principle, yet fiercely opposed when a project is proposed near where they live.

Opposition to local projects is sometimes derided as NIMBY-ism. But when weighing up development proposals that may benefit the environment, it’s legitimate to question whether the burden is being fairly shared across society.

Even if the Coalition wins the federal election and claims a nuclear energy mandate, support for reactors to be built at targeted locations is by no means assured – and may be fiercely resisted. We have seen such resistance in the struggle to secure a permanent site for nuclear waste storage in Australia.

Genuine consultation, directly involving those impacted, is crucial to resolving such impasses and building community support.

Communities split over prospect of having nuclear power plants nearby (7.30)

Building trust in government

The Coalition has promised jobs and cheaper electricity for communities hosting a nuclear power station. But research suggests these incentives may not be enough to get communities on board, because the perceived risk of nuclear power plants is also key to public support.
Research also suggests that for those in the community who lack specialist knowledge about nuclear energy, much of their support, or otherwise, will depend on their level of trust in technology and government.

If the Coalition wants to build support for nuclear power, it must do more than make promises about cheap energy and new jobs. It should educate the community about the science and technology involved and ensure risks to that community are properly alleviated.

It must also work to build trust – or mitigate distrust – in the government that asks a community to take this leap.The Conversation

Diane Sivasubramaniam, Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Psychological Sciences, Swinburne University of Technology and Samuel Wilson, Associate Professor of Leadership, Swinburne University of Technology

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Ending native forest logging would help Australia’s climate goals much more than planting trees

Kate Dooley, The University of Melbourne

Australia contains some of the world’s most biologically diverse and carbon-dense native forests. Eucalypts in wet temperate forests are the tallest flowering plants in the world and home to an array of unique tree-dwelling marsupials, rare birds, insects, mosses, fungi and lichen, many of which have not even been catalogued by scientists. Yet our country remains in the top ten list globally for tree cover loss, with almost half of the original forested areas in eastern Australia cleared.

This loss has been devastating for Australia’s native plants and animals and contributes to global warming through vast amounts of carbon emissions. The global biodiversity and climate change crises are inextricably linked – we cannot solve one without the other.

Earth’s ecosystems, such as forests, coastal wetlands and tundra, contain enormous amounts of carbon. But deforestation and degradation by humans is likely to send global warming past 1.5°C, even if we achieve net-zero fossil fuel emissions. Protecting native forests is a critical way to prevent emissions, which must be achieved in parallel with a rapid transition to clean energy.

What is being overlooked in current international climate policy under the Paris Agreement is the crucial role of biodiversity in maintaining healthy ecosystems and their integrity, which keeps carbon stored in forests, not the atmosphere. Healthy ecosystems are more stable and resilient, with a lower risk of trees dying and lower rates of carbon emissions.

The way we currently count carbon stores risk creating incentives to plant new trees rather than protect existing forests. Yet old-growth forests store vastly more carbon than young saplings, which will take decades or even centuries to reach the same size.

On January 1 this year, both Victoria and Western Australia ended native forest logging in state forests. This is a good start. But the rest of Australia is still logging native forests. Extensive land clearing continues for agriculture and urban development, as well as native forest harvesting on private land.

Two states down, more to go

The end of native timber logging in two states is a chance for new approaches to our forests, which recognise the contribution of biodiversity to healthy forest ecosystems, as well as endangered species protection and clean water supplies.

Ending native forest logging isn’t entirely simple. In Victoria, consultation on the future of state forests is ongoing. The Victorian Environmental Assessment Council is due to release its final recommendations in July.

The Victorian government has also put in place a Forestry Transition Program to help forest contractors find alternative work in forest and land management. Some of these transition programs are proving controversial.

In Western Australia, around 2.5 million hectares of the state’s south-west forests will be protected under a new Forest Management Plan. Protection of these landscapes is critical, as they have been hit by another die-back event due to drought and record heat.

These forests hold significant cultural and ecological value. Known in Noongar as “djarilmari”, they are vital habitats for diverse plants and animals, including endemic species such as the ngwayir (western ringtail possum) and the giant jarrah trees.

What about other states and territories?

In New South Wales, the government is looking into proposals for a Great Koala National Park, which would bring together state forests from the Clarence Valley to south of Coffs Harbour. But with no decision yet made, logging continues along both the north and south coasts, which were also hard hit by the Black Summer bushfires of 2019-20.

In Tasmania, native forest logging fell sharply between 2012 and 2019. This cut emissions by around 22 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per year, equivalent to almost a quarter of Australia’s transport emissions.

Recent policy changes protecting giant trees will help protect some patches of forests. But native forest logging is set to expand in other areas, including clear felling of old-growth rainforest and tall wet eucalypt forest.

Native forest logging is slated to end in 70,000 hectares of south-east Queensland state forests at the end of this year, under a longstanding Native Timber Action Plan. But logging and widespread land clearing continues elsewhere in the state, ensuring Australia’s place in the top 10 deforestation hotspots.

karri forest
Old forests such as this karri forest in Western Australia hold much more carbon than newly established forests. Wirestock Creators/Shutterstock

Can ending native forest logging help the climate?

We’ll need to go further and ban logging in all native forests in Australia to help meet our net-zero emissions target, while meeting timber demand from better-managed and increased plantations.

Stopping native forest logging avoids the emissions released when forests are cut and burned. It would also allow continued forest growth and regrowth of previously logged areas, which draws down carbon from the atmosphere and increases the amount held in the forest ecosystem.

The natural biodiversity of our native forests makes them more resilient to external disturbances such as climate change. These forests have larger and more stable carbon stocks than logged areas, newly planted forests and plantations.

If we compare forests protected for conservation with those harvested for commodity production in the Victorian Central Highlands, research shows conservation delivers the greatest climate benefits through continued forest growth and accumulating carbon stocks.

There are growing calls to create the Great Forests National Park to the north and east of Melbourne, which would protect a further 355,000 hectares and more than double protected forests in the Central Highlands.

Net zero: deep, rapid, sustained cuts needed

The world’s nations are aiming to reach “net zero” by mid-century. Meeting this target will require deep and rapid cuts in carbon dioxide emissions as well as pulling carbon out of the atmosphere into land sinks, especially forests.

The land sector is unique in that it can be both a source (logging, agriculture) and a sink (forest regrowth, for instance) for carbon. The natural way forests take up carbon can be increased through natural regrowth or plantations.

Unfortunately, the current approach, based on IPCC guidelines, to counting this type of natural carbon storage can lead to perverse outcomes.

The carbon sink from forest regrowth only counts towards the “removals” part of net zero when it results from changes we make, such as ending native forest logging. It doesn’t count if it’s regrowth after a natural event such as a bushfire. It’s important to count only human-induced changes in our climate targets.

Tree planting, on the other hand, can be counted towards net-zero targets, despite the fact that newly planted trees will take centuries to sequester as much carbon as found in an old-growth forest.

This type of accounting – known as flow-based accounting – can mean a premium is placed on planting and maintaining young forests with high carbon uptake rates, overlooking the substantial benefits of protecting larger trees in native forests.

That is, this approach favours carbon sequestration (the process of taking carbon out of the atmosphere and storing it in wood) over carbon storage (the total carbon stocks already contained in a forest).

A comprehensive approach to forest carbon accounting would recognise both flows of carbon (as sequestration) and carbon stocks (as storage) contribute to the benefits that native forests offer for reducing emissions.

Revegetation in forest
Replanting trees is good – but protecting existing forests is better. Janelle Lugge/Shutterstock

Carbon accounting needs more clarity

This becomes a problem when forests and fossil fuels are included in a net accounting framework, such as the one used in Australia’s national greenhouse gas inventory.

In net accounts, emissions (from fossil fuel and land sectors) within a year are added to removals, which includes the sequestration of carbon into forests and other ecosystems.

Because this type of accounting only counts the flows of carbon – not existing stocks – it omits the climate benefits of protecting existing forests, whose stored carbon dwarfs the amount Australia emits from fossil fuels each year.

But if we separated out targets for the fossil fuel and land sectors, we could properly treat forest carbon stocks as an asset, giving us incentives to protect them.

Another problem with net accounting is it treats all carbon as equivalent, meaning a tonne of carbon sequestered in trees compensates for a tonne of carbon from burned fossil fuels. This has no scientific basis. Carbon dioxide emissions are effectively permanent, as the buried carbon we dig up and burn stays in the atmosphere for millennia, while carbon in trees is temporary in comparison.

As trees grow, their carbon storage compensates for earlier logging and clearing emissions, which is an important climate benefit. But we’re not comparing apples and apples – forest carbon doesn’t compensate for fossil fuel emissions.

Logging bans are important – but no substitute for ending oil and gas

While ending the clearing and logging of native vegetation is vital for both climate and biodiversity, it’s no substitute for preventing emissions from fossil fuels.

To make this clearer, we must urgently set separate targets for emissions cuts for fossil fuels and increased carbon removal in the land sector. This will ensure phasing out fossil fuel use is not delayed by planting trees, and that the carbon stocks of biodiverse and carbon-dense native forests are protected.The Conversation

Kate Dooley, Research Fellow, School of Geography, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, The University of Melbourne

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Pittwater Reserves: histories + Notes + Pictorial Walks

A History Of The Campaign For Preservation Of The Warriewood Escarpment by David Palmer OAM and Angus Gordon OAM

A Stroll Along The Centre Track At Ku-Ring-Gai Chase National Park: June 2024 - by Kevin Murray
A Stroll Around Manly Dam: Spring 2023 by Kevin Murray and Joe Mills
A Stroll Through Warriewood Wetlands by Joe Mills February 2023
A Walk Around The Cromer Side Of Narrabeen Lake by Joe Mills
America Bay Track Walk - photos by Joe Mills
An Aquatic June: North Narrabeen - Turimetta - Collaroy photos by Joe Mills 
Angophora Reserve  Angophora Reserve Flowers Grand Old Tree Of Angophora Reserve Falls Back To The Earth - History page
Annie Wyatt Reserve - A  Pictorial
Aquatic Reflections seen this week (May 2023): Narrabeen + Turimetta by Joe Mills 
Avalon Beach Reserve- Bequeathed By John Therry  
Avalon Beach This Week: A Place Of A Bursting Main, Flooding Drains + Falling Boulders Council Announces Intention To Progress One LEP For Whole LGA + Transport Oriented Development Begins
Avalon's Village Green: Avalon Park Becomes Dunbar Park - Some History + Toongari Reserve and Catalpa Reserve
Bairne Walking Track Ku-Ring-Gai Chase NP by Kevin Murray
Bangalley Headland  Bangalley Mid Winter
Bangalley Headland Walk: Spring 2023 by Kevin Murray and Joe Mills
Banksias of Pittwater
Barrenjoey Boathouse In Governor Phillip Park  Part Of Our Community For 75 Years: Photos From The Collection Of Russell Walton, Son Of Victor Walton
Barrenjoey Headland: Spring flowers 
Barrenjoey Headland after fire
Bayview Baths
Bayview Sea Scouts Hall: Some History
Bayview Wetlands
Beeby Park
Bilgola Beach
Bilgola Plateau Parks For The People: Gifted By A. J. Small, N. A. K. Wallis + The Green Pathways To Keep People Connected To The Trees, Birds, Bees - For Children To Play 
Botham Beach by Barbara Davies
Bungan Beach Bush Care
Careel Bay Saltmarsh plants 
Careel Bay Birds  
Careel Bay Clean Up day
Careel Bay Playing Fields History and Current
Careel Creek 
Careel Creek - If you rebuild it they will come
Centre trail in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park
Chiltern Track- Ingleside by Marita Macrae
Clareville Beach
Clareville/Long Beach Reserve + some History
Coastal Stability Series: Cabbage Tree Bay To Barrenjoey To Observation Point by John Illingsworth, Pittwater Pathways, and Dr. Peter Mitchell OAM
Cowan Track by Kevin Murray
Curl Curl To Freshwater Walk: October 2021 by Kevin Murray and Joe Mills
Currawong and Palm Beach Views - Winter 2018
Currawong-Mackerel-The Basin A Stroll In Early November 2021 - photos by Selena Griffith
Currawong State Park Currawong Beach +  Currawong Creek
Deep Creek To Warriewood Walk photos by Joe Mills
Drone Gives A New View On Coastal Stability; Bungan: Bungan Headland To Newport Beach + Bilgola: North Newport Beach To Avalon + Bangalley: Avalon Headland To Palm Beach
Duck Holes: McCarrs Creek by Joe Mills
Dunbar Park - Some History + Toongari Reserve and Catalpa Reserve
Dundundra Falls Reserve: August 2020 photos by Selena Griffith - Listed in 1935
Elsie Track, Scotland Island
Elvina Track in Late Winter 2019 by Penny Gleen
Elvina Bay Walking Track: Spring 2020 photos by Joe Mills 
Elvina Bay-Lovett Bay Loop Spring 2020 by Kevin Murray and Joe Mills
Fern Creek - Ingleside Escarpment To Warriewood Walk + Some History photos by Joe Mills
Iluka Park, Woorak Park, Pittwater Park, Sand Point Reserve, Snapperman Beach Reserve - Palm Beach: Some History
Ingleside Wildflowers August 2013
Irrawong - Ingleside Escarpment Trail Walk Spring 2020 photos by Joe Mills
Irrawong - Mullet Creek Restoration
Katandra Bushland Sanctuary - Ingleside
Lucinda Park, Palm Beach: Some History + 2022 Pictures
McCarrs Creek
McCarr's Creek to Church Point to Bayview Waterfront Path
McKay Reserve
Mona Vale Beach - A Stroll Along, Spring 2021 by Kevin Murray
Mona Vale Headland, Basin and Beach Restoration
Mona Vale Woolworths Front Entrance Gets Garden Upgrade: A Few Notes On The Site's History 
Mother Brushtail Killed On Barrenjoey Road: Baby Cried All Night - Powerful Owl Struck At Same Time At Careel Bay During Owlet Fledgling Season: calls for mitigation measures - The List of what you can do for those who ask 'What You I Do' as requested
Mount Murray Anderson Walking Track by Kevin Murray and Joe Mills
Mullet Creek
Narrabeen Creek
Narrabeen Lagoon Catchment: Past Notes Present Photos by Margaret Woods
Narrabeen Lagoon Entrance Clearing Works: September To October 2023  pictures by Joe Mills
Narrabeen Lagoon State Park
Narrabeen Lagoon State Park Expansion
Narrabeen Rockshelf Aquatic Reserve
Nerang Track, Terrey Hills by Bea Pierce
Newport Bushlink - the Crown of the Hill Linked Reserves
Newport Community Garden - Woolcott Reserve
Newport to Bilgola Bushlink 'From The Crown To The Sea' Paths:  Founded In 1956 - A Tip and Quarry Becomes Green Space For People and Wildlife 
Pictures From The Past: Views Of Early Narrabeen Bridges - 1860 To 1966
Pittwater Beach Reserves Have Been Dedicated For Public Use Since 1887 - No 1.: Avalon Beach Reserve- Bequeathed By John Therry 
Pittwater Reserves: The Green Ways; Bungan Beach and Bungan Head Reserves:  A Headland Garden 
Pittwater Reserves, The Green Ways: Clareville Wharf and Taylor's Point Jetty
Pittwater Reserves: The Green Ways; Hordern, Wilshire Parks, McKay Reserve: From Beach to Estuary 
Pittwater Reserves - The Green Ways: Mona Vale's Village Greens a Map of the Historic Crown Lands Ethos Realised in The Village, Kitchener and Beeby Parks 
Pittwater Reserves: The Green Ways Bilgola Beach - The Cabbage Tree Gardens and Camping Grounds - Includes Bilgola - The Story Of A Politician, A Pilot and An Epicure by Tony Dawson and Anne Spencer  
Pittwater spring: waterbirds return to Wetlands
Pittwater's Lone Rangers - 120 Years of Ku-Ring-Gai Chase and the Men of Flowers Inspired by Eccleston Du Faur 
Pittwater's Great Outdoors: Spotted To The North, South, East + West- June 2023:  Palm Beach Boat House rebuild going well - First day of Winter Rainbow over Turimetta - what's Blooming in the bush? + more by Joe Mills, Selena Griffith and Pittwater Online
Pittwater's Parallel Estuary - The Cowan 'Creek
Pittwater Pathways To Public Lands & Reserves
Resolute Track at West Head by Kevin Murray
Resolute Track Stroll by Joe Mills
Riddle Reserve, Bayview
Salvation Loop Trail, Ku-Ring-Gai Chase National Park- Spring 2020 - by Selena Griffith
Seagull Pair At Turimetta Beach: Spring Is In The Air!
Some late November Insects (2023)
Stapleton Reserve
Stapleton Park Reserve In Spring 2020: An Urban Ark Of Plants Found Nowhere Else
Stony Range Regional Botanical Garden: Some History On How A Reserve Became An Australian Plant Park
The Chiltern Track
The Chiltern Trail On The Verge Of Spring 2023 by Kevin Murray and Joe Mills
The 'Newport Loop': Some History 
The Resolute Beach Loop Track At West Head In Ku-Ring-Gai Chase National Park by Kevin Murray
Topham Track Ku-Ring-Gai Chase NP,  August 2022 by Joe Mills and Kevin Murray
Towlers Bay Walking Track by Joe Mills
Trafalgar Square, Newport: A 'Commons' Park Dedicated By Private Landholders - The Green Heart Of This Community
Tranquil Turimetta Beach, April 2022 by Joe Mills
Turimetta Beach Reserve by Joe Mills, Bea Pierce and Lesley
Turimetta Beach Reserve: Old & New Images (by Kevin Murray) + Some History
Turimetta Headland
Turimetta Moods by Joe Mills: June 2023
Turimetta Moods (Week Ending June 23 2023) by Joe Mills
Turimetta Moods: June To July 2023 Pictures by Joe Mills
Turimetta Moods: July Becomes August 2023 by Joe Mills
Turimetta Moods: August Becomes September 2023 ; North Narrabeen - Turimetta - Warriewood - Mona Vale photographs by Joe Mills
Turimetta Moods: Mid-September To Mid-October 2023 by Joe Mills
Warriewood Wetlands - Creeks Deteriorating: How To Report Construction Site Breaches, Weed Infestations + The Long Campaign To Save The Warriewood Wetlands & Ingleside Escarpment March 2023
Warriewood Wetlands and Irrawong Reserve
Whale Beach Ocean Reserve: 'The Strand' - Some History On Another Great Protected Pittwater Reserve
Wilshire Park Palm Beach: Some History + Photos From May 2022
Winji Jimmi - Water Maze

Pittwater's Birds

Attracting Insectivore Birds to Your Garden: DIY Natural Tick Control small bird insectivores, species like the Silvereye, Spotted Pardalote, Gerygone, Fairywren and Thornbill, feed on ticks. Attracting these birds back into your garden will provide not only a residence for tick eaters but also the delightful moments watching these tiny birds provides.
Aussie Backyard Bird Count 2017: Take part from 23 - 29 October - how many birds live here?
Aussie Backyard Bird Count 2018 - Our Annual 'What Bird Is That?' Week Is Here! This week the annual Aussie Backyard Bird Count runs from 22-28 October 2018. Pittwater is one of those places fortunate to have birds that thrive because of an Aquatic environment, a tall treed Bush environment and areas set aside for those that dwell closer to the ground, in a sand, scrub or earth environment. To take part all you need is 20 minutes and your favourite outdoor space. Head to the website and register as a Counter today! And if you're a teacher, check out BirdLife Australia's Bird Count curriculum-based lesson plans to get your students (or the whole school!) involved

Australian Predators of the Sky by Penny Olsen - published by National Library of Australia

Australian Raven  Australian Wood Duck Family at Newport

A Week In Pittwater Issue 128   A Week In Pittwater - June 2014 Issue 168

Baby Birds Spring 2015 - Rainbow Lorikeets in our Yard - for Children Baby Birds by Lynleigh Greig, Southern Cross Wildlife Care - what do if being chased by a nesting magpie or if you find a baby bird on the ground

Baby Kookaburras in our Backyard: Aussie Bird Count 2016 - October

Balloons Are The Number 1 Marine Debris Risk Of Mortality For Our Seabirds - Feb 2019 Study

Bangalley Mid-Winter   Barrenjoey Birds Bird Antics This Week: December 2016

Bird of the Month February 2019 by Michael Mannington

Birdland Above the Estuary - October 2012  Birds At Our Window   Birds at our Window - Winter 2014  Birdland June 2016

Birdsong Is a Lovesong at This time of The Year - Brown Falcon, Little Wattle Bird, Australian Pied cormorant, Mangrove or Striated Heron, Great Egret, Grey Butcherbird, White-faced Heron 

Bird Songs – poems about our birds by youngsters from yesterdays - for children Bird Week 2015: 19-25 October

Bird Songs For Spring 2016 For Children by Joanne Seve

Birds at Careel Creek this Week - November 2017: includes Bird Count 2017 for Local Birds - BirdLife Australia by postcode

Black Cockatoo photographed in the Narrabeen Catchment Reserves this week by Margaret G Woods - July 2019

Black-Necked Stork, Mycteria Australis, Now Endangered In NSW, Once Visited Pittwater: Breeding Pair shot in 1855

Black Swans on Narrabeen Lagoon - April 2013   Black Swans Pictorial

Brush Turkeys In Suburbia: There's An App For That - Citizen Scientists Called On To Spot Brush Turkeys In Their Backyards
Buff-banded Rail spotted at Careel Creek 22.12.2012: a breeding pair and a fluffy black chick

Cayley & Son - The life and Art of Neville Henry Cayley & Neville William Cayley by Penny Olsen - great new book on the art works on birds of these Australian gentlemen and a few insights from the author herself
Crimson Rosella - + Historical Articles on

Death By 775 Cuts: How Conservation Law Is Failing The Black-Throated Finch - new study 'How to Send a Finch Extinct' now published

Eastern Rosella - and a little more about our progression to protecting our birds instead of exporting them or decimating them.

Endangered Little Tern Fishing at Mona Vale Beach

‘Feather Map of Australia’: Citizen scientists can support the future of Australia's wetland birds: for Birdwatchers, school students and everyone who loves our estuarine and lagoon and wetland birds

First Week of Spring 2014

Fledgling Common Koel Adopted by Red Wattlebird -Summer Bird fest 2013  Flegdlings of Summer - January 2012

Flocks of Colour by Penny Olsen - beautiful new Bird Book Celebrates the 'Land of the Parrots'

Friendly Goose at Palm Beach Wharf - Pittwater's Own Mother Goose

Front Page Issue 177  Front Page Issue 185 Front Page Issue 193 - Discarded Fishing Tackle killing shorebirds Front Page Issue 203 - Juvenile Brush Turkey  Front Page Issue 208 - Lyrebird by Marita Macrae Front Page Issue 219  Superb Fairy Wren Female  Front Page Issue 234National Bird Week October 19-25  and the 2015 the Aussie Back Yard Bird Count: Australia's First Bird Counts - a 115 Year Legacy - with a small insight into our first zoos Front Page Issue 236: Bird Week 2015 Front Page Issue 244: watebirds Front Page Issue 260: White-face Heron at Careel Creek Front Page Issue 283: Pittwater + more birds for Bird Week/Aussie Bird Count  Front Page Issue 284: Pittwater + more birds for Bird Week/Aussie Bird Count Front Page Issue 285: Bird Week 2016  Front Page Issue 331: Spring Visitor Birds Return

G . E. Archer Russell (1881-1960) and His Passion For Avifauna From Narrabeen To Newport 

Glossy Black-Cockatoo Returns To Pittwater by Paul Wheeler Glossy Cockatoos - 6 spotted at Careel Bay February 2018

Grey Butcher Birds of Pittwater

Harry Wolstenholme (June 21, 1868 - October 14, 1930) Ornithologist Of Palm Beach, Bird Man Of Wahroonga 


Issue 60 May 2012 Birdland - Smiles- Beamings -Early -Winter - Blooms

Jayden Walsh’s Northern Beaches Big Year - courtesy Pittwater Natural Heritage Association

John Gould's Extinct and Endangered Mammals of Australia  by Dr. Fred Ford - Between 1850 and 1950 as many mammals disappeared from the Australian continent as had disappeared from the rest of the world between 1600 and 2000! Zoologist Fred Ford provides fascinating, and often poignant, stories of European attitudes and behaviour towards Australia's native fauna and connects these to the animal's fate today in this beautiful new book - our interview with the author

July 2012 Pittwater Environment Snippets; Birds, Sea and Flowerings

Juvenile Sea Eagle at Church Point - for children

King Parrots in Our Front Yard  

Kookaburra Turf Kookaburra Fledglings Summer 2013  Kookaburra Nesting Season by Ray Chappelow  Kookaburra Nest – Babies at 1.5 and 2.5 weeks old by Ray Chappelow  Kookaburra Nest – Babies at 3 and 4 weeks old by Ray Chappelow  Kookaburra Nest – Babies at 5 weeks old by Ray Chappelow Kookaburra and Pittwater Fledglings February 2020 to April 2020

Lion Island's Little Penguins (Fairy Penguins) Get Fireproof Homes - thanks to NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service and the Fix it Sisters Shed

Lorikeet - Summer 2015 Nectar

Lyre Bird Sings in Local National Park - Flock of Black Cockatoos spotted - June 2019

Magpie's Melodic Melodies - For Children (includes 'The Magpie's Song' by F S Williamson)

Masked Lapwing (Plover) - Reflected

May 2012 Birdland Smiles Beamings Early Winter Blooms 

Mistletoebird At Bayview

Musk Lorikeets In Pittwater: Pittwater Spotted Gum Flower Feast - May 2020

Nankeen Kestrel Feasting at Newport: May 2016

National Bird Week 2014 - Get Involved in the Aussie Backyard Bird Count: National Bird Week 2014 will take place between Monday 20 October and Sunday 26 October, 2014. BirdLife Australia and the Birds in Backyards team have come together to launch this year’s national Bird Week event the Aussie Backyard Bird Count! This is one the whole family can do together and become citizen scientists...

National Bird Week October 19-25  and the 2015 the Aussie Back Yard Bird Count: Australia's First Bird Counts - a 115 Year Legacy - with a small insight into our first zoos

Native Duck Hunting Season Opens in Tasmania and Victoria March 2018: hundreds of thousands of endangered birds being killed - 'legally'!

Nature 2015 Review Earth Air Water Stone

New Family of Barking Owls Seen in Bayview - Church Point by Pittwater Council

Noisy Visitors by Marita Macrae of PNHA 

Odes to Australia's Fairy-wrens by Douglas Brooke Wheelton Sladen and Constance Le Plastrier 1884 and 1926

Oystercatcher and Dollarbird Families - Summer visitors

Pacific Black Duck Bath

Painted Button-Quail Rescued By Locals - Elanora-Ingleside escarpment-Warriewood wetlands birds

Palm Beach Protection Group Launch, Supporters InvitedSaturday Feb.16th - Residents Are Saying 'NO' To Off-Leash Dogs In Station Beach Eco-System - reports over 50 dogs a day on Station Beach throughout December-January (a No Dogs Beach) small children being jumped on, Native birds chased, dog faeces being left, families with toddlers leaving beach to get away from uncontrolled dogs and 'Failure of Process' in council 'consultation' open to February 28th 

Pardalote, Scrub Wren and a Thornbill of Pittwater

Pecking Order by Robyn McWilliam

Pelican Lamps at Narrabeen  Pelican Dreamsong - A Legend of the Great Flood - dreamtime legend for children

Pittwater Becalmed  Pittwater Birds in Careel Creek Spring 2018   Pittwater Waterbirds Spring 2011  Pittwater Waterbirds - A Celebration for World Oceans Day 2015

Pittwater's Little Penguin Colony: The Saving of the Fairies of Lion Island Commenced 65 Years Ago this Year - 2019

Pittwater's Mother Nature for Mother's Day 2019

Pittwater's Waterhens: Some Notes - Narrabeen Creek Bird Gathering: Curious Juvenile Swamp Hen On Warriewood Boardwalk + Dusky Moorhens + Buff Banded Rails In Careel Creek

Plastic in 99 percent of seabirds by 2050 by CSIRO

Plover Appreciation Day September 16th 2015

Powerful and Precious by Lynleigh Grieg

Red Wattlebird Song - November 2012

Restoring The Diamond: every single drop. A Reason to Keep Dogs and Cats in at Night. 

Return Of Australasian Figbird Pair: A Reason To Keep The Trees - Aussie Bird Count 2023 (16–22 October) You can get involved here: aussiebirdcount.org.au

Salt Air Creatures Feb.2013

Sea Birds off the Pittwater Coast: Albatross, Gannet, Skau + Australian Poets 1849, 1898 and 1930, 1932

Sea Eagle Juvenile at Church Point

Seagulls at Narrabeen Lagoon

Seen but Not Heard: Lilian Medland's Birds - Christobel Mattingley - one of Australia's premier Ornithological illustrators was a Queenscliff lady - 53 of her previously unpublished works have now been made available through the auspices of the National Library of Australia in a beautiful new book

7 Little Ducklings: Just Keep Paddling - Australian Wood Duck family take over local pool by Peta Wise 

Shag on a North Avalon Rock -  Seabirds for World Oceans Day 2012

Short-tailed Shearwaters Spring Migration 2013 

South-West North-East Issue 176 Pictorial

Spring 2012 - Birds are Splashing - Bees are Buzzing

Spring Becomes Summer 2014- Royal Spoonbill Pair at Careel Creek

Spring Notes 2018 - Royal Spoonbill in Careel Creek

Station Beach Off Leash Dog Area Proposal Ignores Current Uses Of Area, Environment, Long-Term Fauna Residents, Lack Of Safe Parking and Clearly Stated Intentions Of Proponents have your say until February 28, 2019

Summer 2013 BirdFest - Brown Thornbill  Summer 2013 BirdFest- Canoodlers and getting Wet to Cool off  Summer 2013 Bird Fest - Little Black Cormorant   Summer 2013 BirdFest - Magpie Lark

The Mopoke or Tawny Frogmouth – For Children - A little bit about these birds, an Australian Mopoke Fairy Story from 91 years ago, some poems and more - photo by Adrian Boddy
Winter Bird Party by Joanne Seve

New Shorebirds WingThing  For Youngsters Available To Download

A Shorebirds WingThing educational brochure for kids (A5) helps children learn about shorebirds, their life and journey. The 2021 revised brochure version was published in February 2021 and is available now. You can download a file copy here.

If you would like a free print copy of this brochure, please send a self-addressed envelope with A$1.10 postage (or larger if you would like it unfolded) affixed to: BirdLife Australia, Shorebird WingThing Request, 2-05Shorebird WingThing/60 Leicester St, Carlton VIC 3053.

Shorebird Identification Booklet

The Migratory Shorebird Program has just released the third edition of its hugely popular Shorebird Identification Booklet. The team has thoroughly revised and updated this pocket-sized companion for all shorebird counters and interested birders, with lots of useful information on our most common shorebirds, key identification features, sighting distribution maps and short articles on some of BirdLife’s shorebird activities. 

The booklet can be downloaded here in PDF file format: http://www.birdlife.org.au/documents/Shorebird_ID_Booklet_V3.pdf

Paper copies can be ordered as well, see http://www.birdlife.org.au/projects/shorebirds-2020/counter-resources for details.

Download BirdLife Australia's children’s education kit to help them learn more about our wading birdlife

Shorebirds are a group of wading birds that can be found feeding on swamps, tidal mudflats, estuaries, beaches and open country. For many people, shorebirds are just those brown birds feeding a long way out on the mud but they are actually a remarkably diverse collection of birds including stilts, sandpipers, snipe, curlews, godwits, plovers and oystercatchers. Each species is superbly adapted to suit its preferred habitat.  The Red-necked Stint is as small as a sparrow, with relatively short legs and bill that it pecks food from the surface of the mud with, whereas the Eastern Curlew is over two feet long with a exceptionally long legs and a massively curved beak that it thrusts deep down into the mud to pull out crabs, worms and other creatures hidden below the surface.

Some shorebirds are fairly drab in plumage, especially when they are visiting Australia in their non-breeding season, but when they migrate to their Arctic nesting grounds, they develop a vibrant flush of bright colours to attract a mate. We have 37 types of shorebirds that annually migrate to Australia on some of the most lengthy and arduous journeys in the animal kingdom, but there are also 18 shorebirds that call Australia home all year round.

What all our shorebirds have in common—be they large or small, seasoned traveller or homebody, brightly coloured or in muted tones—is that each species needs adequate safe areas where they can successfully feed and breed.

The National Shorebird Monitoring Program is managed and supported by BirdLife Australia. 

This project is supported by Glenelg Hopkins Catchment Management Authority and Hunter Local Land Services through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program. Funding from Helen Macpherson Smith Trust and Port Phillip Bay Fund is acknowledged. 

The National Shorebird Monitoring Program is made possible with the help of over 1,600 volunteers working in coastal and inland habitats all over Australia. 

The National Shorebird Monitoring program (started as the Shorebirds 2020 project initiated to re-invigorate monitoring around Australia) is raising awareness of how incredible shorebirds are, and actively engaging the community to participate in gathering information needed to conserve shorebirds. 

In the short term, the destruction of tidal ecosystems will need to be stopped, and our program is designed to strengthen the case for protecting these important habitats. 

In the long term, there will be a need to mitigate against the likely effects of climate change on a species that travels across the entire range of latitudes where impacts are likely. 

The identification and protection of critical areas for shorebirds will need to continue in order to guard against the potential threats associated with habitats in close proximity to nearly half the human population. 

Here in Australia, the place where these birds grow up and spend most of their lives, continued monitoring is necessary to inform the best management practice to maintain shorebird populations. 

BirdLife Australia believe that we can help secure a brighter future for these remarkable birds by educating stakeholders, gathering information on how and why shorebird populations are changing, and working to grow the community of people who care about shorebirds.

To find out more visit: http://www.birdlife.org.au/projects/shorebirds-2020/shorebirds-2020-program

Surfers for Climate

A sea-roots movement dedicated to mobilising and empowering surfers for continuous and positive climate action.

Surfers for Climate are coming together in lineups around the world to be the change we want to see.

With roughly 35 million surfers across the globe, our united tribe has a powerful voice. 

Add yours to the conversation by signing up here.

Surfers for Climate will keep you informed, involved and active on both the local and global issues and solutions around the climate crisis via our allies hub. 

Help us prevent our favourite spots from becoming fading stories of waves we used to surf.

Together we can protect our oceans and keep them thriving for future generations to create lifelong memories of their own.

Visit:  http://www.surfersforclimate.org.au/

Create a Habitat Stepping Stone!

Over 50 Pittwater households have already pledged to make a difference for our local wildlife, and you can too! Create a habitat stepping stone to help our wildlife out. It’s easy - just add a few beautiful habitat elements to your backyard or balcony to create a valuable wildlife-friendly stopover.

How it works

1) Discover: Visit the website below to find dozens of beautiful plants, nest boxes and water elements you can add to your backyard or balcony to help our local wildlife.

2) Pledge: Select three or more elements to add to your place. You can even show you care by choosing to have a bird appear on our online map.

3) Share: Join the Habitat Stepping Stones Facebook community to find out what’s happening in the natural world, and share your pics, tips and stories.

What you get                                  

• Enjoy the wonders of nature, right outside your window. • Free and discounted plants for your garden. • A Habitat Stepping Stone plaque for your front fence. • Local wildlife news and tips. • Become part of the Pittwater Habitat Stepping Stones community.

Get the kids involved and excited about helping out! www.HabitatSteppingStones.org.au

No computer? No problem -Just write to the address below and we’ll mail you everything you need. Habitat Stepping Stones, Department of Environmental Sciences, Macquarie University NSW 2109. This project is assisted by the NSW Government through its Environmental Trust

Newport Community Gardens

Anyone interested in joining our community garden group please feel free to come and visit us on Sunday at 10am at the Woolcott Reserve in Newport!

Keep in Touch with what's happening on Newport Garden's Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/newportcg/

Avalon Preservation Association

The Avalon Preservation Association, also known as Avalon Preservation Trust. We are a not for profit volunteer community group incorporated under the NSW Associations Act, established 50 years ago. We are committed to protecting your interests – to keeping guard over our natural and built environment throughout the Avalon area.

Membership of the association is open to all those residents and/or ratepayers of Avalon Beach and adjacent areas who support the aims and objectives of our Association.

Report illegal dumping

NSW Government

The RIDonline website lets you report the types of waste being dumped and its GPS location. Photos of the waste can also be added to the report.

The Environment Protection Authority (EPA), councils and Regional Illegal Dumping (RID) squads will use this information to investigate and, if appropriate, issue a fine or clean-up notice. Penalties for illegal dumping can be up to $15,000 and potential jail time for anybody caught illegally dumping within five years of a prior illegal dumping conviction.

The Green Team

This Youth-run, volunteer-based environment initiative has been attracting high praise from the founders of Living Ocean as much as other local environment groups recently. 
Creating Beach Cleans events, starting their own, sustainability days - ‘action speaks louder than words’ ethos is at the core of this group. 

Australian Native Foods website: http://www.anfil.org.au/

Wildlife Carers and Organisations in Pittwater:

Sydney Wildlife rescues, rehabilitates and releases sick, injured and orphaned native wildlife. From penguins, to possums and parrots, native wildlife of all descriptions passes through the caring hands of Sydney Wildlife rescuers and carers on a daily basis. We provide a genuine 24 hour, 7 day per week emergency advice, rescue and care service.

As well as caring for sick, injured and orphaned native wildlife, Sydney Wildlife is also involved in educating the community about native wildlife and its habitat. We provide educational talks to a wide range of groups and audiences including kindergartens, scouts, guides, a wide range of special interest groups and retirement villages. Talks are tailored to meet the needs and requirements of each group. 


Found an injured native animal? We're here to help.

Keep the animal contained, warm, quiet and undisturbed. Do not offer any food or water. Call Sydney Wildlife immediately on 9413 4300, or take the animal to your nearest vet. Generally there is no charge. Find out more at: www.sydneywildlife.org.au

Southern Cross Wildlife Care was launched over 6 years ago. It is the brainchild of Dr Howard Ralph, the founder and chief veterinarian. SCWC was established solely for the purpose of treating injured, sick and orphaned wildlife. No wild creature in need that passes through our doors is ever rejected. 


People can assist SCWC by volunteering their skills ie: veterinary; medical; experienced wildlife carers; fundraising; "IT" skills; media; admin; website etc. We are always having to address the issue of finances as we are a non commercial veterinary service for wildlife in need, who obviously don't have cheque books in their pouches. It is a constant concern and struggle of ours when we are pre-occupied with the care and treatment of the escalating amount of wildlife that we have to deal with. Just becoming a member of SCWC for $45 a year would be a great help. Regular monthly donations however small, would be a wonderful gift and we could plan ahead knowing that we had x amount of funds that we could count on. Our small team of volunteers are all unpaid even our amazing vet Howard, so all funds raised go directly towards our precious wildlife. SCWC is TAX DEDUCTIBLE.

Find out more at: southerncrosswildlifecare.org.au/wp/

Avalon Community Garden

Community Gardens bring people together and enrich communities. They build a sense of place and shared connection.


Avalon Community Garden is a community led initiative to create accessible food gardens in public places throughout the Pittwater area. Our aim is to share skills and knowledge in creating fabulous local, organic food. But it's not just about great food. We also aim to foster community connection, stimulate creative ideas for community resilience and celebrate our abundance. Open to all ages and skills, our first garden is on the grounds of Barrenjoey High School (off Tasman Road)Become part of this exciting initiative to change the world locally. 

Avalon Community Garden
2 Tasman Road
North Avalon

Newport Community Garden: Working Bee Second Sunday of the month

Newport Community Gardens Inc. is a not for profit incorporated association. The garden is in Woolcott Reserve.

Local Northern Beaches residents creating sustainable gardens in public spaces
Strengthening the local community, improving health and reconnecting with nature
To establish ecologically sustainable gardens for the production of vegetables, herbs, fruit and companion plants within Pittwater area 
To enjoy and forge friendships through shared gardening.
Membership is open to all Community members willing to participate in establishing gardens and growing sustainable food.
Subscription based paid membership.
We meet at the garden between 9am – 12 noon
New members welcome

For enquiries contact newportcommunitygardenau@gmail.com

Living Ocean

Living Ocean was born in Whale Beach, on the Northern Beaches of Sydney, surrounded by water and set in an area of incredible beauty.
Living Ocean is a charity that promotes the awareness of human impact on the ocean, through research, education, creative activity in the community, and support of others who sustain ocean health and integrity.

And always celebrating and honouring the natural environment and the lifestyle that the ocean offers us.

Our whale research program builds on research that has been conducted off our coastline by our experts over many years and our Centre for Marine Studies enables students and others to become directly involved.

Through partnerships with individuals and organizations, we conceive, create and coordinate campaigns that educate all layers of our community – from our ‘No Plastic Please’ campaign, which is delivered in partnership with local schools, to film nights and lectures, aimed at the wider community.

Additionally, we raise funds for ocean-oriented conservation groups such as Sea Shepherd.

Donations are tax-deductable 
Permaculture Northern Beaches

Want to know where your food is coming from? 

Do you like to enrich the earth as much as benefit from it?

Find out more here:


What Does PNHA do?


About Pittwater Natural Heritage Association (PNHA)
With urbanisation, there are continuing pressures that threaten the beautiful natural environment of the Pittwater area. Some impacts are immediate and apparent, others are more gradual and less obvious. The Pittwater Natural Heritage Association has been formed to act to protect and preserve the Pittwater areas major and most valuable asset - its natural heritage. PNHA is an incorporated association seeking broad based community membership and support to enable it to have an effective and authoritative voice speaking out for the preservation of Pittwater's natural heritage. Please contact us for further information.

Our Aims
  • To raise public awareness of the conservation value of the natural heritage of the Pittwater area: its landforms, watercourses, soils and local native vegetation and fauna.
  • To raise public awareness of the threats to the long-term sustainability of Pittwater's natural heritage.
  • To foster individual and community responsibility for caring for this natural heritage.
  • To encourage Council and the NSW Government to adopt and implement policies and works which will conserve, sustain and enhance the natural heritage of Pittwater.
Act to Preserve and Protect!
If you would like to join us, please fill out the Membership Application Form ($20.00 annually - $10 concession)

Email: pnhainfo@gmail.com Or click on Logo to visit website.

Think before you print ; A kilo of recycled paper creates around 1.8 kilograms of carbon emissions, without taking into account the emissions produced from transporting the paper. So, before you send a document to print, think about how many kilograms of carbon emissions you could save by reading it on screen.

Friends Of Narrabeen Lagoon Catchment Activities

Bush Regeneration - Narrabeen Lagoon Catchment  
This is a wonderful way to become connected to nature and contribute to the health of the environment.  Over the weeks and months you can see positive changes as you give native species a better chance to thrive.  Wildlife appreciate the improvement in their habitat.

Belrose area - Thursday mornings 
Belrose area - Weekend mornings by arrangement
Contact: Phone or text Conny Harris on 0432 643 295

Wheeler Creek - Wednesday mornings 9-11am
Contact: Phone or text Judith Bennett on 0402 974 105
Or email: Friends of Narrabeen Lagoon Catchment : email@narrabeenlagoon.org.au

Pittwater's Environmental Foundation

Pittwater Environmental Foundation was established in 2006 to conserve and enhance the natural environment of the Pittwater local government area through the application of tax deductible donations, gifts and bequests. The Directors were appointed by Pittwater Council. 


About 33% (about 1600 ha excluding National Parks) of the original pre-European bushland in Pittwater remains in a reasonably natural or undisturbed condition. Of this, only about 400ha remains in public ownership. All remaining natural bushland is subject to encroachment, illegal clearing, weed invasion, feral animals, altered drainage, bushfire hazard reduction requirements and other edge effects. Within Pittwater 38 species of plants or animals are listed as endangered or threatened under the Threatened Species Act. There are two endangered populations (Koala and Squirrel Glider) and eight endangered ecological communities or types of bushland. To visit their site please click on logo above.

Avalon Boomerang Bags

Avalon Boomerang Bags was introduced to us by Surfrider Foundation and Living Ocean, they both helped organise with the support of Pittwater Council the Recreational room at Avalon Community Centre which we worked from each Tuesday. This is the Hub of what is a Community initiative to help free Avalon of single use plastic bags and to generally spread the word of the overuse of plastic. 

Find out more and get involved.

"I bind myself today to the power of Heaven, the light of the sun, the brightness of the moon, the splendour of fire, the flashing of lightning, the swiftness of wind, the depth of the sea, the stability of the earth, the compactness of rocks." -  from the Prayer of Saint Patrick