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.
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
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 Mountain 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.
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.
PROGRESS OF THIS PROJECT
The project is ongoing.
This project was funded by FNPW in 2020.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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 Endangered Species:
The regeneration of the critically endangered Mountain Pygmy-Possum’s 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.
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.