The vertebrate fauna of Maroota Ridge State Conservation Area


Maroota Ridge State Conservation Area lies at the north-western edge of the Sydney metropolitan area. This small reserve is found at Crescent Reach on the Hawkesbury River west of Wisemans Ferry Road and is bounded to the north and south by private and Crown Lands. The reserve provides habitat and refuge for a range of species typical of those found in Sydney sandstone environments, including a number of threatened species.

This report is designed to provide baseline data on the vertebrate fauna species of the reserve. It documents a systematic fauna survey undertaken by the Department of Environment and Climate Change over six days in early November and mid December 2006. The survey involved the establishment of 15 systematic survey sites across the reserve to sample the main vertebrate fauna groups, which included diurnal and nocturnal birds, bats, reptiles, arboreal mammals and ground dwelling mammals. A number of systematic survey techniques were used to gather data on these groups which included incidental sightings to provide data on frogs and introduced species in the reserve.

Some key results of the survey are as follows:

  • 129 vertebrate fauna species were recorded in and around the state conservation area during the survey period. Seventy-one percent of these species had never before been recorded in the conservation reserve.
  • 564 records of fauna sightings were obtained during the survey, substantially adding to the existing 46 records that comprised results from past regional surveys and incidental sightings.
  • Seven species found are currently listed as vulnerable under the Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995. These are the giant burrowing frog, red-crowned toadlet, gang-gang cockatoo, glossy black-cockatoo, powerful owl, masked owl and grey-headed flying-fox. Old feed-marks of the yellow-bellied glider were encountered. However due to the lack of sightings it is not known whether the species still exists in the area. Additionally, probable/possible records of six species requires confirmation through further survey work to determine their presence in the reserve. These are the sooty owl, greater broad-nosed bat, little bent-wing bat, east-coast freetail-bat, eastern false pipistrelle and southern-brown bandicoot.
  • Five introduced species were located during the survey period. Two of these species (fox and rabbit) are listed as key threatening processes under the Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995.
  • A complete list of fauna species recorded from the reserve and surrounding 200 metres can be viewed at the end of this report.

The results of this report indicate that Maroota Ridge State Conservation Area is rich in fauna species associated with Sydney’s sandstone environments. The reserve has suffered low levels of invasion by feral animals and is reasonably well connected to adjoining uncleared private and Crown Lands. Also, it has experienced relatively low levels of environmental disturbance despite being exposed to such land uses as motorcycle recreation and orchard growing on two sides.

The report identifies management actions to protect threatened fauna species and details additional work to provide a better understanding of fauna present in the area. This report reinforces the importance and necessity of gathering quality baseline biodiversity data in all OEH conservation reserves to make informed and long-term management decisions that benefit local and regional biodiversity.

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Page last updated: 17 March 2014