The Vertebrate Fauna of the Wollangambe and Upper Wolgan area

Overview

This survey was undertaken in the south-western portion of Wollemi National Park (NP) and north-west of Blue Mountains NP. This area comprises approximately 101 200 hectares of land south of the Capertee Valley extending to the Newnes Plateau and bounded to the east by the Capertee and Colo Rivers. This area is part of the Wollemi Wilderness, and is maintained in as much of a natural state as is possible. It is managed in its entirety by the Upper Mountains Area of the Department of Environment and Climate Change (NSW).

The report documents surveys of vertebrate fauna undertaken by the Department in 1997-98, 2005, 2007 and 2008-09 and reviews and collates data from the Atlas of NSW Wildlife. It reviews threatened species, highlighting significant species and habitats requiring specific management actions. A total of 97 systematic survey sites have sampled birds, frogs, reptiles and mammals. Survey access was limited by a lack of trails, particularly in the eastern parts of the area. Effort has therefore been targeted toward habitats that have been undersampled in other fauna surveys in the local area and region. Together with Biodiversity Survey Priority surveys in adjacent reserves there is now an excellent picture of what fauna can be found in the most common habitats of the Greater Blue Mountains.

Key findings are summarised below.

  • 279 native vertebrate fauna species have been recorded within south-west Wollemi and north-west Blue Mountains NPs. This total is comprised of 19 frogs, 46 reptiles, 157 native diurnal birds, 8 nocturnal birds and 49 native mammals. In addition, 14 introduced species have been detected.

  • There are at least 32 threatened fauna species present in the study area, three of which are very high priorities for dedicated conservation management: the Brush-tailed Rock-wallaby, Blue Mountains Water Skink and, if rediscovered, the Stuttering Frog. The existing Brush-tailed Rock-wallaby monitoring program should remain a high priority for continuation and expansion.

  • Fauna of the area that are of significance at a statewide or national scale are the large population of Brush-tailed Rock-wallabies in the Wolgan Valley and the exceptional population of Large-eared Pied Bats in the Glow Worm Tunnel – Galah Mountain area.

  • The area is mostly comprised of fauna habitats typical of the Greater Blue Mountains – open sclerophyll forests and woodlands on sandstone soils. This habitat is well reserved but very important in the conservation of a number of threatened species including the Gang-gang Cockatoo, Glossy Black-cockatoo, Red-crowned Toadlet, Rosenberg’s Goanna, Broad-headed Snake and Giant Burrowing Frog. These species generally have few threatening processes acting upon them within the reserves and no specific management actions required.

  • Conversely, the area also contains small amounts of some of the most poorly reserved fauna habitats in NSW – Grassy Box Woodlands and high elevation Upland Swamps. These support large numbers of threatened species including the Regent Honeyeater, Turquoise Parrot, Hooded Robin, Speckled Warbler, Black-chinned Honeyeater, Diamond Firetail and Brown Treecreeper in the Grassy Box Woodlands and the Blue Mountains Water Skink in the Upland Swamps.

  • Grassy Box Woodlands, Upland Swamps and the escarpment and pagoda formations have been highlighted as priority fauna habitats for the area. These three habitats should be given special consideration when undertaking fire management and prioritised for pest and weed management. Aside from the rock-wallaby monitoring program, directing conservation resources to these three habitats confers the greatest benefit to threatened fauna in the study area.

  • Fire management in the area needs to consider potential impacts on the Large-eared Pied Bats and control burns should be conducted outside the early spring-summer breeding period.

  • Pest management should continue to focus on the peripheries of the reserves around the Wolgan and Capertee Valleys and in the priority fauna habitats: Grassy Box Woodlands and high elevation Upland Swamps. Feral Pigs have been identified as a particular biodiversity concern if populations increase in the future.

  • Land acquisition for biodiversity should focus on Grassy Box Woodlands and Upland Swamps. Such acquisition will assist conservation of threatened faunal both locally and nationally.

The data collected for this project is a baseline that can be built on in the future. It will also be used to model habitat for threatened species across the northern Sydney region and develop regional conservation priorities.


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Page last updated: 17 March 2014