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Biodiversity

 

Biodiversity

Biodiversity is defined as the variety of all life. The greater the diversity of life, the healthier the ecosystem is. We need insects to pollinate our crops, invertebrates to clean our fresh waterways and seagrasses and saltmarshes to capture carbon out of our atmosphere. 

Council values our environment, seen in the leading statement of our 2050 Vision: "A progressive, environmentally and culturally rich community enjoying a unique lifestyle." 

To know what flora and fauna live in our area, Council undertakes Biodiversity Studies of key reserves and bushland areas, which help to identify areas supporting biodiversity of high conservation significance. This information can indicate areas we need to prioritise, potential risks and threats these areas face and the effectiveness of our current management practices.

This information can also assist in the development of planning and management for threatened species identified under the NSW Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 and Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.


A biodiversity study encompassing the entire local government area is scheduled for Spring - Summer 2020-21 with objectives to:

1.Obtain baseline data that will improve the capacity of Council to:

  • Evaluate biodiversity projects, particularly pest control programs
  • Inform future strategies; and
  • Develop future operational biodiversity improvement project
2. Improve Council’s knowledge of the fauna using the area with an emphasis on threatened species,
3. Obtain a current list of fauna frequenting the area; an
4. Produce maps of biodiversity corridors with an emphasis on promoting the movement of threatened fauna species between bushland reserves and natural areas.

To help enhance biodiversity in your local area, you can view or download our Backyard Biodiversity Guide.

Our native fauna is threatened by habitat loss, feral animal incursions and illegal collection for trade.

To help offset these threats, there are some simple things you can do to protect our fauna such as:

  • Leave existing rocks from bushland in your garden as habitat for reptiles and insects.
  • Keep cats and dogs inside or restrained when in areas where reptiles might be, including gardens.
  • Create a lizard-friendly garden with rocks, logs and plant cover.
  • Leave twigs, leaves and branches in your garden, if you can, as cover for native fauna.
  • Avoid using pesticides and herbicides so there is plenty of insect food for lizards.
  • Map sightings of feral animals in your area on FeralScan.
  • If you get a visit from a snake, don’t provoke it, most snakes are shy and will move on.
  • Help gather data for TurtleSAT and learn more about our freshwater turtles.
  • Take part in the Dragons of Sydney citizen science program and collect data on water dragons to help improve their habitat.

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Domestic animals

Dogs

Dogs as pets bring many comforts as well as many responsibilities. The majority of dog owners in our local government area are responsible owners up to date with the legal requirements under the Companion Animals Act 1998

The NSW Government has introduced annual permits for owners of non-de-sexed cats and dangerous and restricted dogs to allow pet owners more time to prepare for the change.
From 1 July 2020 owners of dogs of a restricted breed or declared to be dangerous will be required to pay a $195 annual permit in addition to their one-off lifetime pet registration fee.

This will serve as a further disincentive to owning these dogs and encourage owners to better manage the behaviour of their animal.

If you are a new dog owner, you need to ensure you keep your dog well fed, exercised, vaccinated and clean so as not to spread health risks such as lice to other animals or people.

Dogs in public must always be restrained on a leash except when in a designated off-leash area. Current off-leash areas are signposted in the following reserves:

  • Arrowsmith Park, Penshurst
  • Carss Bush Park, Carss Park
  • Gannons Park, Peakhurst
  • H.V. Evatt Park, Lugarno (restrictions apply)
  • Hogben Park, Kogarah
  • Kogarah Park, Kogarah
  • Moore Park, Beverley Park
  • Moore Reserve, Oatley
  • Riverwood Park, Riverwood.
View a complete list of Council's park and recreation facilities here.

Cats

Domestic cats are terrific companions. While there are many responsible cat owners in our area, some cats are permitted to roam freely into our local bushland, other people’s yards or public land. These animals can devastate our native wildlife and even get themselves injured or killed by crossing roads. If you own a cat, Council supports keeping it indoors or preventing it from leaving its yard as this will help keep it safe and avoid further damage to our native animals.

From 1 July 2020 owners of cats not de-sexed by four months of age will be required to pay an $80 annual permit in addition to the one-off lifetime pet registration fee.

This will create a stronger incentive to de-sex cats, improve health and wellbeing of pets, lower demand on pounds, reduce euthanasia rates, and help to address concerns about feral, stray and roaming cats



Rabbits

Cute and fluffy, rabbits can make for great pets. But these sociable pocket pets need just as much attention and care as large companion animals.

Rabbits need to be de-sexed just like many other domestic animals to prevent excess litters being born and invading natural areas. Rabbits are also companion animals, so it is best to have two females, or a male and female de-sexed pair. The RSPCA website has useful information for domestic rabbit owners.


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