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Rejuvenation project boosts endangered frog population


A habitat rejuvenation project on Kooragang Island has given an endangered frog species a boost.

The island is home to a population of green and golden bell frogs and coordinated efforts to protect the species has led to the installation of six artificial ponds.

It comes after their habitat was severely impacted in early 2019 following a series of fires on the island during an extended period of drought.

One deliberately-lit fire tore through more than 100 hectares of the island, destroying valuable habitat spreading into areas inhabited by snakes, lizards, eastern long-necked turtles, she-oak skinks, and birds.

Designed to withstand drought and fire conditions, the new habitat provides almost 50,000 litres of water.

It features six steel ponds embedded into the landscape and planted with a variety of native vegetation suited to the frog species.

Chad Beranek at Kooragang Island, Hexham, after a deliberately-lit fire tore through the area last year. Photo: Peter Stoop

The project – a partnership between Port of Newcastle, Hunter and Central Coast Development Corporation (HCCDC) and the University of Newcastle – provides new permanent wetland habitat critical to the Kooragang population’s preservation.

Port of Newcastle Environment Sustainability and Planning Manager Jackie Spiteri said the project was an important initiative to support the frogs on port land.

“University of Newcastle researchers and HCCDC have worked to design, construct and install additional permanent wetland habitat, replacing the fire-affected ponds, in an effort to preserve a key population of this endangered frog species,” Ms Spiteri said.

“This is just one example of Port of Newcastle’s community partnerships to protect the environment and the precious biodiversity across the port’s footprint through an active approach to environmental management and sustainability.”

The project is part of Port of Newcastle’s environmental management strategy and its commitment to environmental sustainability through initiatives that protect local flora and fauna.

The Port also provides funding to University of Newcastle researchers conducting regular population monitoring and consultation on management approaches to protect this important frog species.

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