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Farmers Creek Habitat and Hollows Project

farmers creek habitat and hollows project

The Farmers Creek Habitat and Hollow project was developed in order to provide scientifically robust, ecological baseline data prior to the implementation of the Farmers Creek Precinct Master Plan (FCPMP). The FCPMC (which the Environment & Waterways Alliance contributed funding towards in 2016) is a strategic document that will guide the delivery of future environmental and recreational works within the Farmers Creek catchment, Lithgow. The plan has greatly assisted Lithgow City Council in securing considerable investment to address major environmental and related social issues, with opportunities for works including revegetation and riparian zone enhancement, weed management, erosion and stream bank/stream bed stabilisation works, and stormwater treatment solutions.

A degraded section of Farmers Creek in Lithgow

A degraded section of Farmers Creek in Lithgow

The Farmers Creek Habitat and Hollows project aims to clearly and comprehensively provide a baseline reference point to gauge the impacts or improvements achieved via the FCPMP works by conducting an in-depth ecological assessment. This assessment was completed prior to on-ground works proceeding within the Farmers Creek catchment and included:

· Biometric vegetation assessment;

· Riparian and creek channel condition;

· Ground cover matrix;

· Bird assemblage; and

· Aquatic indicators i.e. diatoms and macroinvertebrates.

Actions implemented in accordance with the FCPMP will improve biodiversity within the riparian zone, and will be now have be able to be accurately measured in the extent of improvement to aquatic health.

Macroinvertebrate assessment being conducted by CT Environmental staff

Macroinvertebrate assessment being conducted by CT Environmental staff

The project funding provided by the Environment and Waterways Alliance also provided for initial on-ground works to be conducted in order to improve habitat outcomes for local birds and mammals. It was recognised that the majority of the vegetation within the Farmers Creek riparian zone has been considerably altered due to historic land clearing for urban and industrial development, fuel and other uses. This has meant that the creek is largely devoid of tree hollows which are critical habitat for a range of native animals. Hollows take a long time to form naturally – typically in excess of 100 years – and are scarce throughout the project sites. Creating supplementary habitat for hollow dependent species such as parrots, gliders and microbats was considered a key priority for landscape restoration. This project funded the installation of 20 Hybrid Habitat Hollows adjacent to Farmers Creek as a mechanism to support biodiversity within the project area.

Hybrid Habitat Hollow for treecreepers and gliders

Hybrid Habitat Hollow for treecreepers and gliders

As part of the project all of the Hybrid Habitat Hollows have been recorded on the Hollows as Homes web app. Community members are actively encouraged to assist Council in monitoring the hollows by recording any animals that they may see using this new habitat. Any observations can be recorded at:

https://www.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au/hollows-as-homes/hollows-as-homes