ENVIRONMENTAL CONCERNS

New Environmental Report

Perth Hills’ teenager Andrew Wallace, a Year 8 student, has completed a remarkable environmental study into a 56-acre site north of Parkerville, adjacent to the proposed and controversial North Stoneville site. This study over three years is now an acclaimed environmental report: ‘Biodiversity records from native forest and cleared pasture adjacent to the proposed North Stoneville development site (Structure Plan 34) 2017-2020.’

 

His report found Marri and Jarrah trees were a prime feeding and breeding habitat for Endangered Black Cockatoos and a nesting pair of Wedge-tailed Eagles, with a diverse bird fauna of 77 identified species.

He concludes, the bush surrounding and in North Stoneville is diverse and should be preserved with care. Many of its fauna are rare or endangered and are only found in small remnant pockets around Perth. If North Stoneville (SP34) goes ahead, it will result in biodiversity loss and the further fragmentation of habitats. The bush land here is crucial breeding area for many animals and hundreds of valuable tree hollows will be lost.

Read the full report here - Andrew Wallace Report

 

'Where will they go?': Hills residents fear for wildlife in wake of subdivision plans

This WAtoday article provides a great summary of our concerns for wildlife in the area.

A close examination of Satterley's Environmental Assessment Report raises some key questions regarding biodiversity conservation. The surveys on which the report were based appear to be lacking in depth; both surveys were conducted at the same time of the year (November 2016 and November 2017) and hence may not have located some species. A number of vulnerable and endangered species  have the site within their known distribution and there are records of threatened rare flora species within 500 m of the area. The species include acacias, grevilleas and orchids.

Similarly the fauna surveys make no mention of bird species other than cockatoos in any of their habitat assessments, and provide no faunal lists from the survey. No mention of reptiles, bats, frogs etc, let alone the invertebrates. The  in addition to be a known foraging area for Black Cockatoos it contains suitable denning and foraging habitat for chudditch and  brush-tailed phascogales.

 

A breeding pair of wedge tailed eagles have several nest in the area and successfully raise young.

A further problem with these ecology reports is that they consider the development area but fail to place it in a wider context. Losing this amount of cockatoo habitat will of course only have a small effect on the overall populations. However, the sum of all the cleared areas within the species distribution over the years has a massive effect. Each area is another nail in the coffin.

Threatened species.

Forest Red-tailed Black Cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus banksii naso)

The Forest Red-tailed Black Cockatoo or Karrak is distributed through the humid and subhumid southwest of Western Australia from Gingin through the Darling Ranges to the southwest, from approximately Bunbury to Albany. Their population in the recent past has been estimated at approximately 15,000 birds. Although not nomadic like Carnaby’s and Baudin’s Cockatoos, the Forest Red-tailed Black Cockatoo has been known to exhibit extreme population fluctuations in response to food availability and fires. The Forest Red-tailed Black Cockatoo occurs in pairs or small flocks, or occasionally large flocks of up to 200. The Forest Red-tailed Black Cockatoo inhabits dense Jarrah, Karri and Marri forests that receive more than 600 mm average annual rainfall. This species breeds between October and November, producing one or two eggs.

These large cockatoos feeds primarily on Marri and Jarrah fruit. They also have been known to feed on Blackbutt (Eucalyptus patens), Albany Blackbutt (Eucalyptus staeri), Karri, Sheoak (Allocasuarina fraseriana) and Snottygobble (Persoonia longifolia). Forest Red-tailed Black Cockatoos can obtain energy faster when feeding on Marri and Jarrah than other food sources and these two tree species make up 90% of their diet. 

Baudin’s Cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus baudinii)

Baudin’s Cockatoo, also known as the Long-billed White-tailed Black Cockatoo is distributed through the south western Australia, from the northern Darling Range and adjacent far east of the Swan Coastal Plain (south of the Swan River), south to Bunbury and across to Albany. Baudin’s Cockatoo usually occur in small flocks of up to 30, or occasionally up to 50, or rarely in aggregations of up to 1200. The total population of Baudin’s Cockatoo is estimated to be about 15,000 birds.

This species forages primarily in eucalypt forest, where it feeds on Marri seeds, flowers, nectar and buds. They also feed on a wide range of seeds of Eucalyptus, Banksia and Hakea, as well as the fruits of apples, pears, persimmons, pines, and beetle larvae from under the bark of trees. The seeds from Marri provide a high energetic food and Baudin’s Cockatoo are able to quickly extract the seeds from the nut using their long bill.

Baudin’s Cockatoo nests in tree hollows in the deep southwest of Western Australia. Primary nesting trees are Karri, Marri, and Wandoo (Eucalyptus wandoo). Baudin’s Cockatoo is mostly a postnuptial nomad and breed from around October to December. After breeding, Baudin’s Cockatoos leave nesting areas and amalgamate to form large foraging flocks. These flocks generally migrate north to the main non breeding wintering area in the northern Darling Range between Collie and Mundaring.

 

Carnaby’s Cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus latirostris)

Carnaby’s Cockatoos or Short-billed White-tailed Black Cockatoos are endemic to south west Western Australia, and are distributed from the Murchison River to Esperance and inland to Coorow, Kellerberrin and Lake Cronin. The species was once common, but the population has declined significantly in the last half century (and is now locally extinct in some areas) with clearance of native vegetation. While they may live to be over 40 years, it is thought that many are now past breeding age. The population of is thought to have halved.

Carnaby’s Cockatoos feed on seeds, nuts and flowers of a variety of native and exotic plants. Food plants include Banksia, pine trees, Marri, Jarrah, Grevillea, she-oaks, and Hakea. For Carnaby’s Cockatoo the seeds from seed pods of Banksia and the cones of pine trees provide the highest energetic yield. Carnaby’s Cockatoo are less efficient at extracting Marri seeds than Baudin’s Cockatoo

Carnaby’s Cockatoo nest in winter in mature trees with hollows, usually with a crown containing dead limbs and a sparse canopy. They generally nest in hollows of smooth barked Eucalypts, especially Salmon Gum and Wandoo, and on the Swan Coastal Plain most nests are in Tuart. However, they may nest in any species of eucalypt with a suitable hollow. Breeding has been recorded from early July to mid-December and primarily occurs in the Wheatbelt. They are also known to breed in small numbers at Regan’s Ford, Yanchep, Gingin, Mandurah and Bunbury. Outside the breeding season, they move to the Swan coastal plain and Perth Hills.

Southern Brush-tailed Phascogale 

The South Western Brush-tailed Phascogale or Wambenger is an attractive Australian marsupial, with deep grizzled grey fur on its head and body and pale cream fur on its underparts. It has a striking ‘bottle brush’ tail with long, silky, black hairs that can be erected. Its present distribution is believed to have been reduced to approximately 50% of its former range and it is now known from Perth and south to Albany, west of the Albany Highway.  It occurs at low densities in the northern Jarrah forest. This subspecies has been observed in dry forests and open woodlands that contain hollow-bearing trees but a sparse ground cover and relies on tree hollows as nest sites.  The home range for a female is estimated at 20-70 ha, whilst that for males is about twice that of females.  They tend to utilise many (approximately 20) different nest sites throughout their range. While they have not been recorded in the North Stoneville site, the locality and the habitat suggests that they may possibly occur.

 

Chudditch or Western Quoll (Dasyurus geoffroii)

The Chudditch is Western Australia’s largest native carnivore. It is the size of a small cat, with pale spots and rounded ears. It was once widespread across Australia, but has disappeared from around 95% of its range and is now mainly found in the Jarrah forests of south western WA. The main cause of this decline is predation from introduced predators such as cats and foxes.   Chudditch range over wide areas, at least 15 km in males. There are several recent records of Chudditch close enough to the North Stoneville site to indicate that they are very likely use this area proposed for the development. Chudditch feed on the ground at night, taking mainly insects, though they will prey on mammals, birds, lizards and carrion. They have a keen sense of sight, hearing and smell to locate and capture prey. Chuditch commonly forage along dirt roads and tracks, hence many animals are hit by motor vehicles. The life expectancy for wild chudditch is only 2 years.

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