Managing plants and animals in NSW alpine resorts
Discover how we look after unique native plant and animal species and control pests and weeds in NSW alpine resorts.
Native animals in alpine resorts
Kosciuszko National Park is home to a vast array of native flora and fauna and native vegetation in ski resorts provide habitat for many animals.
Animals living in alpine areas have adapted uniquely to their environment, surviving in the winter months through hibernation, seasonal migration and living under the snow. Mammals that live in resort areas include the mountain pygmy-possum (Burramys parvus), the broad-toothed rat (Mastacomys fuscus) and the dusky antechinus (Antechinus swainsonii). There are also unique alpine skinks, such as the alpine she-oak (Cyclodopmorphus praealtus) and Guthega skink (Liopholis guthega).
It's not uncommon to come across native animals inside lodges and other buildings within the resort areas of Kosciuszko National Park. For more information, visit the OEH page on living with wildlife in alpine resorts.
Wildlife crossings and artificial boulder field habitat have been built within resort areas to create movement corridors across ski slopes and under roads for small mammals.
The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) also carries out revegetation programs using endemic plants species to restore habitat for native species.
Pest animals in alpine resorts
Cat trapping program
Pest animals in resort areas such as foxes and feral cats prey on many native animals and can harm native vegetation communities.
Annual control programs that NPWS carries out to reduce the environmental impact of some pests include the following.
- Soft-jaw trapping programs targeting feral cats and European red foxes are undertaken in spring and autumn, focusing in known habitat areas of the mountain pygmy-possum and broad-toothed rat.
- Fox baiting control programs are implemented more broadly across the landscape during winter.
- Feral cats are also controlled in winter by cage trapping around the resort villages. ‘The ‘see a cat, catch a cat’ program relies on placing cage traps in localities where cats have been reported.
- Rabbit control programs are implemented in spring and autumn to reduce their impact on native vegetation.
You can help to minimise pest animals around resorts by keeping all food and rubbish securely stored, and preventing pest animals from occupying resort buildings. You can also report a feral animal sighting to help map feral animals in the area, which will help to identify practical and humane ways to manage feral animals.
Native plants in alpine resorts
NSW alpine resorts are home to regionally and nationally significant, mainly alpine and sub-alpine native plant communities.
Plant communities include:
- tall alpine herb field
- short alpine herb field
- dry heath
- wet heath
- bog and fen (National and State Endangered Ecological Community)
- sub-alpine woodland.
Many of these communities contain plant species which can only be found in Kosciuszko National Park, such as:
- Kosciuszko buttercup (Ranunculus anemoneus)
- Vickery's grass (Rytidosperma vickeryae)
- Phebalium (Nematalolepis ovatifolia).
Weeds in alpine resorts
Due to past land-use and more recent introductions, over 200 weed species are found in Kosciuszko alpine resort areas. Weed-mapping programs in all resorts have identified where high-priority weed species are, so that NPWS can carry out coordinated management programs for some species, including:
- milfoil/yarrow (Achillea millefolium)
- vipers bugloss (Echium vulgare)
- St John's wort (Hypericum perforatum)
- winter cress (Barbarea verna)
- Russell lupins (Lupinus pollyphyllus)
- large rush (Juncus effusus)
- scotch broom (Cytisus scoparius).
In heavily disturbed areas, introduced plants (weeds) such as grasses and forbs often dominate the landscape, replacing native plants and providing habitat more suited to pest animals such as rabbits.
In recent years there has been a noticeable increase in exotic perennial grasses. NPWS research and monitoring continue to look at the best ways to control this weed type. Exotic grasses are controlled at rehabilitation sites, where native species are restored and planted.
Page last updated: 23 November 2016