A key objective of the GreenWay is providing a continuous north south link for flora and fauna from Iron Cove Bay to the Cooks River.
Bushcare sites have been established in the GreenWay to provide habitat and “stepping stones” for local fauna, such as reptiles and small birds.
Wildlife Corridors - What are they and why are they important?
Wildlife corridors are remnant habitat, regenerated habitat or artificially created habitat that links larger areas of wildlife habitat. Corridors provide a means by which animals and plant seeds can move between larger areas of habitat that are their refuges, within an otherwise uninhabitable environment.
Wildlife corridors provide a mechanism for the reduction or moderation of the adverse effects of habitat fragmentation by facilitating the dispersal of individuals between areas of remaining habitat. This enables individuals to re-colonise habitat patches which have become locally extinct and increases opportunities for long term genetic interchange.
Wildlife corridors play a crucial role in maintaining connections between animal and plant populations that would otherwise be isolated and at greater risk of local extinction. Corridors also provide supplementary feeding habitat for animals. The Cooks River to Iron Cove GreenWay plays an important role as an urban wildlife corridor.
Benefits for wildlife include:
- decreased likelihood of local species extinction and in-breeding
- maintenance of species richness and diversity
- lower incidence of disease
The quality of the corridors as fauna habitat is a critical factor in their effectiveness. A wide corridor of bushland in good condition, with the full diversity and strata of native vegetation, is obviously the best option, and it is important to retain and protect such links where they still exist.
However, even corridors retained in backyards and on road reserves can play a vital role in maintaining connections between fauna populations. The frequency of the corridor may be very low, but the movement of just one or two animals between populations can be critical. Through the GreenWay Project, a concept called the "GreenWay Trellis" encourages local native plantings throughout the GreenWay catchment.
Threats to wildlife corridors
Wildlife corridors and habitat continue to be impacted by residential development. Other pressures include:
- unsympathetic landscaping and street tree planting of species not indigenous to the area
- predation by domestic pets and feral animals
- weed invasion
- barriers to movement including fences, major roads and loss of continuous habitat such as canopy and understorey vegetation
- death or injury caused by vehicles (a number of Long-nosed bandicoots have been killed by motor vehicles on busy roads around the GreenWay)
What can you do?
- Recreate habitat on your property by planting local native plant species
- Retain safe, dead canopy trees as hollow nesting sites. Again these vital habitat features are becoming increasingly rare in urban areas. Nest boxes can also provide a vital habitat.
- Keep your pet cats and dogs indoors at night, and keep your dog on a leash while walking near bushcare sites
- Retain groundcovers, fallen logs and leaf litter as cover and habitat for ground dwelling animals.
- Get involved with your local Bushcare Group
- Attend a course on how to create habitat for native animals in your garden - check the Events calendar for upcoming courses
- Report injured animals to official wildlife carers such as Sydney Native Wildlife Service or WIRES (Wildlife Information Rescue Emergency Service), or take the animal to a local vet who should treat the animal for no cost.