The K2W Glideways Bushconnect project, funded by a grant from the NSW Environmental Trust and delivered by FNPW on behalf of the Kanangra-Boyd to Wyangala partnership, is a collaboration to conserve gliders and their habitat by restoring natural connections across the Abercrombie Catchment. The region is home to five of the six species of gliding possum found in Australia – Squirrel Glider, Yellow-bellied Glider, Feathertail Glider, Sugar Glider and Greater Glider – and over 2,400 species of native plants, animals, fish and reptiles.
The K2W partnership is a collection of local landholders, community groups and organisations who have been working since 2012 to create habitat links across the landscape between the Greater Blue Mountains and Wyangala Dam.
This project was funded through generous donations from FNPW supporters across Australia and beyond.
Major sponsor: This project is supported by the NSW Government through its Environmental Trust and BushConnect program.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF COUNTRY
This project is undertaken on the traditional lands of the Wiradjuri and Dharug peoples.
Surrounding nations and groups include: Gundungurra, Ngunawal
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 and due for completion in 2025.
This project was funded by FNPW and the NSW Government Environment Trust as part of the BushConnect Program.
Latest news on this project.
By Luke Wong, ABC News
For decades nesting boxes have provided sanctuary for threatened Australian wildlife. Now two regional New South Wales ecologists are behind the manufacture of a new plastic design they believe could be the next evolution in bolstering at-risk wildlife. When Carl Tippler and Mick Callan started designing a new type of nest box for native animal use, they received an inspirational tip from a university professor.
After three years and 20 iterations of the prototype, their company has launched a cylindrical, modular nest box design called the Habitech.
Made from durable, UV-stabilised plastic and plywood inserts, the scientists claim it has several advantages and will outlast timber versions by several decades.
“This is really critical for a lot of species that have very specific temperature and humidity requirements.”
Mick Callan said 15 per cent of Australian vertebrate animals depend on tree hollows, but they are steadily disappearing as a result of land clearing.
“Typically, it’s the largest oldest trees in the landscape that go first and they’re the ones that do have the tree hollows,” he said.
Improving gliding possum habitat
Several of the boxes are being installed in trees at a sheep farm in Fullerton in the New South Wales Southern Tablelands.
The property is part of the K2W Glideways conservation project that is linking up 319,000 hectares of trees across a massive stretch of the state.
Project manager Mary Bonet said the project was trying to address a decline of gliders throughout Australia.
“This is caused by habitat loss and habitat fragmentation.”
With help from volunteers, 3,000 trees and shrubs were planted among a row of older trees.
Improving the property’s sustainability will allow her to trade biodiversity offset credits in the future.
Now more than five years into the 10-year program, Glideways is producing great outcomes. Over thirty landholders are involved in habitat restoration work and cross tenure pest animal control projects and a number of volunteer organisations assisting with fencing and revegetation of public and private land, including Conservation Volunteers Australia, Orange Local Aboriginal Land Council’s Gaambuwananha Ngurambang team and the Black Diamond Recreational 4WD club.
We have replaced two kilometres of barbed-wire fencing through the Barb Busters program, provided training for landholders on habitat and threat management and have 80 students from five local schools participating in our schools’ education program.
The education program has recently been expanded to include a teaching guide which aims to get connectivity conservation into the classroom and the classroom out into nature. Created with the help of six local school teachers, the program aligns with the Stage 3 curriculum and can be completed over a term or as individual lessons.
The package includes lesson guides, factsheets and activities designed to inspire students and encourage learning about habitat, ecosystems, threats to biodiversity and the importance of wildlife corridors to gliders and other native animals.
The classroom lessons are complemented by opportunities to participate in other parts of the K2W Glideways project, such as the nestbox program.
The boxes will form part of a long-term monitoring program with local schools in the area and contribute to a broader effort to track changing conditions in the K2W Link through research, monitoring and citizen science projects.
Since 2013, the K2W partnership has revegetated more than 500 hectares at these locations in an effort to link habitat containing resident gliders with areas in which they have disappeared.
With the exception of Greater Gliders, which feed predominantly on leaves, most species of glider have a diverse diet. Typical food sources include insects, sap, honeydew (a sugary coating on leaves secreted by small insects), manna (sugary coatings left on leaves by leaf transpiration), and the blossoms, pollen and nectar of flowering plants and trees.
As patches of habitat have become smaller, the number of trees has also reduced leaving less food for gliders and more competition for homes in hollow-bearing trees.
All gliders are dependent on hollow-bearing trees for nesting, roosting and shelter, often using several different dens within their home range.
Providing nest boxes at revegetation sites is an important part of the restoration approach, as is fostering enthusiasm for managing habitat for wildlife in our future K2W landholders.
Latest news from K2W - 2019 Bioblitz
Citizen Scientists Descend On Wombeyan Caves
More than 50 citizen scientists descended on Wombeyan Caves in May to participate in the annual K2W ‘Bioblitz’ wildlife survey, a 24hr marathon of expert-led flora and fauna surveys. Hosted by the Kanangra to Wyangala (K2W) Partnership together with national conservation charity the Foundation for National Parks & Wildlife (FNPW), the weekend is part of a growing Citizen Science movement where every-day Australians work alongside scientists to improve our knowledge of native plants and animals. The data collected is added to the public record and used to plan future conservation projects and manage biodiversity in our national parks and nature reserves.
“The idea of a Bioblitz is to connect people with science and survey as much flora and fauna as possible within a set space and time,” says Mary Bonet, K2W Coordinator. The data collected improves the national biodiversity record and is used to help better-manage important areas of native flora and fauna.
“The work results in the creation of substantial species lists and has, in the past, facilitated the discovery of new species, rediscovery of rare species and identification of species where they are not usually found,” Mary says. With Australia’s biodiversity at risk from pressures such as habitat destruction, over-exploitation, climate change, and introduced species, there is a need to learn more about native wildlife, so we can better protect and manage our natural heritage.
“Science isn’t just something scientists do. It is something in which every single one of us has a stake,” says Mary. “By helping at a BioBlitz, we can all have a role in protecting what makes Australia unique,” Mary added.
The program included checking nestboxes, dawn and dusk bird surveys, spotlighting in the evening and other surveys during the day.
“We recorded eight native mammal species, two introduced mammal species, 39 native bird species and one native frog species, which is pretty good for this time of year,” said Mary. “The records include three threatened species – Greater Glider, Glossy Black-Cockatoo and Gang-gang Cockatoo. They also include three additions to the list of fauna species recorded in Wombeyan Karst Conservation Reserve (based on the BioNet Atlas records for Wombeyan plus the NPWS 2012 bird list for Wombeyan) – Agile Antechinus, Brown Goshawk and Brown Toadlet. A good result!”
The weekend was a great success and opened the door to a new generation of budding scientists by providing hands-on experiences undertaking fieldwork with eminent local ecologists. Check out this video to see what they found!
See the Video Below about the Blitz!
Wombeyan Caves Bioblitz 2019
Latest news from K2W - 2022
K2W six years into the Bushconnect program
In January, the K2W Glideways Bushconnect project completed six years. Across three districts, the Upper Lachlan, Blue Mountains, and Cowra, the K2W Glideways has partnered with the community to deliver the project.
Grazing, urban development, and large-scale industrial projects have disrupted the habitat and the abundance of wildlife, and reconnecting the landscape is vital to the survival of native species, including the threatened gliding possums.
“Landholders and local environmental groups are so important in helping to protect and create habitat connections across the landscape,” project officer Mary Bonet said.
The program aims to restore natural connections for wildlife by relinking the landscape to ensure that our populations of animals persist into the future.
These onground works include controlling invasive species, habitat restoration and protection, revegetation, citizen science, and research and monitoring across the Abercrombie catchment.
“Through targeted projects in strategic locations, we are working to help prevent further losses, whilst supporting the habitat and connectivity needs of the many other plants and animals that share their homes”
Reconnecting the landscape at Fullerton Hadley
For the Bushconnect project, Fullerton Hadley Landcare coordinated with a team of 20 rural landholders planting hundreds of species of trees.
Nerida Croker, chair of the Fullerton Hadley Landcare group, worked with landholders to create a habitat link spanning around 4622 hectares of pastoral land and remnant bushland along the Fullerton Road.
Together with livestock farmers and property owners, they planted hundreds of native species of trees and shrubs to create shelterbelts that would connect an important area along the K2W Link.
In 2000, the Fullerton Hadley Landcare branch was established, and around 10 years later formed a partnership with the K2W Glideways Connect project which has provided funding for projects including reestablishing green corridors and weed control.
Rockily Wombats seek protection for native species after Black Summer bushfires
Since the Black Summer bushfires of 2019-20, Rocklily Wombats partnered with the K2W Glideways Bushconnect project to provide nest boxes for wildlife affected by the bushfires, including the Greater and Yellow-bellied glider.
It is hoped that these nest boxes will last for up to 25 years in that time providing shelter for animals until natural tree hollows can reform after parts of the refuge were burned by the Greenwattle Creek bushfire decimating the natural habitat.
Dianna said the bushfires burned many large, old trees and hollows which are used by native animals for shelter and breeding.
“We’re doing this to give the colony a chance to breed up and expand,” Dianna said.
Moving forward the boxes will be monitored using wildlife cameras and surveys and will be moved according to usage.
Endangered and threatened animals located at Two Rivers
For further information, please visit: Bush Connect program