Fate of Key Koala Corridor in Warragamba at Stake
Our recent analysis of koalas in the Sydney Basin (Biolink 2023) found several areas of koala persistence (from 2016-2021) in the north-west of Wollondilly LGA in Warragamba and Silverdale. Due to heavy fencing of the Warragamba Dam catchment area, this generation of koalas are trapped on the residential side of the Blue Mountains National Park, and corridors of bushland through the Warragamba township are critical to their survival.
A generation of koalas live both south, south-east and north of the Warragamba township, and rely on a corridor of bushland though the township to connect and grow. The community has recently raised concerns that existing and planned development will fragment the corridor so heavily that koalas will be left with no options to find new habitat and mates without being pushed onto the roads.
Image 1 - Koala Persistence surrounding Warragamba and Silverdale - Biolink 2023
Image 2 - NSW Government SEED database - koala sightings in Warragamba township
Image 2 indicates sightings of koalas throughout the township of Warragamba, showing habitat within the township is regularly used as a corridor to find new habitat and breeding mates. The impact of recent and planned developments have heavily fragmented this corridor, and there are grave concerns that without adequate corridor mapping this will cut koalas off from one another, push them onto the roads and lead to generational decline. Corridor withs of appropriate size (recommended by the NSW Chief Scientist) have not been factored into development planning.
The land is also vulnerable to zombie developments, where land approved to be developed over a decade ago is now part of the koala corridor, however there is no avenue to prevent works.
Preservation of habitat in the Warragamba and Silverdale townships is critical as research shows a recent generation of endangered koalas thriving, alongside creeks thought to be used by Platypuses. Zombie development legislation must be reformed, and corridor mapping taken seriously for this generation of Warragamba koalas to thrive in the region.