KNP Recovery - Wildlife Project - FNPW

Kosciuszko National Park

2020 Fire Recovery, NSW

  • YEAR: 2020
  • STATE: New South Wales
  • FOCUS AREAS: Healing our Land/SDG 15: Life on Land

During the 2019/2020 bushfires 33.5% of Kosciuszko National Park was burnt. Staff from the New South Wales National Parks & Wildlife Service (NPWS) identified priorities which aligned with the NPWS priorities, State Priority Planning post-fire as well as the Saving Our Species project priorities.

FNPW support

This project was funded through generous donations from FNPW supporters across Australia and beyond.

Major sponsor: Volunteer firefighters from southern Poland raised $150,000 AUD for the post-fire regeneration and restoration of Kosciuszko National Park

Project overview

With one third of Kosciuszko National Park being affected by the 2020 bushfires there was a lot of work to do, a lot of priorities to juggle and a lot of land to cover. After the initial assessments of the burnt areas NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service staff were able to identify the following priorities and their costings.

  • Assessment of montane peatlands to determine what recovery action is needed. To be completed by a contractor. Re-survey existing monitoring sites and undertake assessment of other montane bogs based on some of the post 2003 fire assessment and using the fire severity impact information we currently have (GEEBAM).
  • Stabilisation of exposed erosion lines in subalpine Kiandra to stop erosion and allow reveg. Capacity for 3 sites before winter with NPWS labour and materials funded by donations.
  • Rocky Plain Bog. The slope above it needs rehab. and stability work to stop the sediment from washing into the bog and encourage vegetation to take hold.
  • Planting podocarpus, raspberry etc. at Mt Pygmy Possum sites near Cabramurra (Snow Ridge, Tumut Ponds, Happy Jacks)
  • Control of Willows sprouting up in bogs Ogilvies / Tooma area
  • Willows Murrumbidgee burnt catchment below Tantangara Dam – approx. 10km stretch
  • Aerial survey of Willows during autumn leaves – GPS mark for removal. Included would be feral animal and bog reconnaissance
  • Temporary structures (mesh placement) to provide habitat and protection for Broad-toothed Rat in areas where vegetation cover has been completely lost and regeneration is slow but feral herbivores are not an issue– Tumut river catchment areas. Purchase of steel mesh to build structures – could be pre-fabricated
  • Seed collection of multiple shrubs and trees for use with rehab. During 2020-21 summer. Part of this will be alpine ash
  • Weed control along tracks & trails – there may be a need for this in the next couple of months given all of the rain; St Johns Wort, Mullein, African Love Grass
  • Feral Cat & fox trapping Northern KNP – 10 day program
  • Contractor assistance to erect micro-bat boxes in rehab areas – Tree contractors

Since the beginning of the project, the following outcomes have been identified:

  • Less erosion in bushfire impacted areas.
  • Less weed proliferation following bushfires.
  • Higher population (less death) of threatened species such as the Broad Toothed Rat and Mountain Pygmy Possum in bushfire impacted areas.
Kosciuszko National Park - Australian Wildlife Charity - FNPW

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF COUNTRY

FNPW supports projects across Australia. In the spirit of reconciliation we acknowledge the Traditional Owners of Country and recognise their continuing connection to land, waters and culture.

KNP Bat Box Installation Project - Environmental Grants Australia - FNPW

PROGRESS OF THIS PROJECT

The project is ongoing.

This project was funded by FNPW in 2020.

Contract Crew Planting Plum Pine at Happy Jacks - Foundation for National Parks and Wildlife Australia - FNPW

PROJECT PARTNERS

New South Wales National Parks & Wildlife Service is the lead organisation for this project.

Further information about our project partner can be found on their website:

www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au

Latest news on this project.

Regeneration of Kosciuszko National Park

The 2020 fires devastated one-third of Kosciuszko National Park, inspiring volunteer firefighters from southern Poland to raise over $150,000 AUD to aid its regeneration. The donation made to the Foundation for National Parks & Wildlife (FNPW) was in recognition of Polish-Australian relations, particularly considering the national park is named after Polish military leader, General Kościuszko.

The funding which was provided to NSW National Parks and Wildlife, contractors and flora and fauna specialists, have allowed the following activities to commence works.

Fauna Surveys:

Funding has been allocated to the survey of birds and insectivorous bats over a total of 28 heavily burnt sites. FNPW is pleased to report that insectivorous bats were present at all 15 bat sites. When compared to previous data, these surveys suggest an extreme drop in the bird population. Funding has been allocated to re-survey these areas next summer. This will provide valuable information on how species are recovering and indicate long term impacts on species populations and status.

Bat Boxes:

Bats are a critical part of healthy, functioning ecosystems – small ‘micro’ bats control insect populations and large ‘macro’ bats pollinate and spread the seed of native vegetation. With the assistance of these funds and the National Parks Foundation, 200 bat boxes have been installed using a methodology to develop knowledge on the effectiveness of two box designs.

Erosion Control:

The eroding slope in the sub-alpine zone of Kiandra was stabilised to assist the natural recovery process by reducing the impact of winter conditions on the exposed landscape. Water holding structures were installed at Rocky Plains Bog to combat the extensive loss of vegetation caused by the recent bushfire season.

Recovery of Threatened Species:

The regeneration of the threatened Mountain Pygmy Possum’s (pictured below) habitat was supported by planting approximately 3,500 plants. In addition to erosion control, water holding structures, such as native grass and sphagnum, provide a habitat for many rare native flora and fauna, such as the endangered Broad Toothed Rat. The seeds of vulnerable vegetation and species were collected from sections of unburnt forest to create a seed bank for future planting.

Looking Forward:

The remaining funds have been allocated to work scheduled for next summer and we will provide updates as the regeneration efforts of Kosciuszko National Park continue.

Unfortunately, the enormous impact of the recent bushfire season means that the scope of works required will continue to grow and require further support.

Related Projects

Bushfire Recovery Nurseries

FNPW Bushfire Recovery Nurseries project that includes grants to support community nurseries currently in and around bushfire impacted regions.

Bushfire Recovery Small Grants

As part of FNPW’s Healing our Land initiative, our focus is to repair the damage inflicted on our country following devastating bushfire events. With over 12 million hectares of national park and bushland affected in the 2020 fires and an estimated one billion native animals losing their lives, the initiative will focus on the regeneration and recovery of Australia’s flora and fauna.

Feather-leaved Banksia

Rising from the Ashes - the Feather-leaved Banksia - the critically endangered Feather-leaved Banksia Banksia brownii will receive much needed conservation attention. Banksias don't live forever, they get old and susceptible to disease. They need fire to release seeds and recruit new plants.