Backyard Habitat for Wildlife

The Backyard Habitat for Wildlife program supports suburban landholders who provide native habitat in their backyard.

In cities and suburban areas, backyard habitat provides an important sanctuary for native animals, particularly when habitat in surrounding areas is damaged or lost. Pockets of habitat provide important refuges for wildlife.

Neighbours, each with backyard habitat, provide important corridors that enable wildlife to move through the landscape to find niches providing shelter, food and mates.

Participants in the program receive:

  • factsheets and other information
  • a great sign for your letterbox or gate
  • opportunities to network with other people who love native animals
  • invitations to free workshops
  • the opportunity to share pictures of your favourite wildlife with other members

Click here to register for the Backyard Habitat for Wildlife program

Further information is available by contacting Council’s Project Officer – Biodiversity, Michael Corke, on (02) 6670 2592 or email mcorke@tweed.nsw.gov.au


The Backyard Habitat for Wildlife program supports suburban landholders who provide native habitat in their backyard.

In cities and suburban areas, backyard habitat provides an important sanctuary for native animals, particularly when habitat in surrounding areas is damaged or lost. Pockets of habitat provide important refuges for wildlife.

Neighbours, each with backyard habitat, provide important corridors that enable wildlife to move through the landscape to find niches providing shelter, food and mates.

Participants in the program receive:

  • factsheets and other information
  • a great sign for your letterbox or gate
  • opportunities to network with other people who love native animals
  • invitations to free workshops
  • the opportunity to share pictures of your favourite wildlife with other members

Click here to register for the Backyard Habitat for Wildlife program

Further information is available by contacting Council’s Project Officer – Biodiversity, Michael Corke, on (02) 6670 2592 or email mcorke@tweed.nsw.gov.au


  • Numinbah Nature Links project nears completion

    over 1 year ago
    Couchyno4020318

    The Numinbah Nature Links project began on 1 August 2015 and is nearing completion. The project has restored a large area of high conservation value bushland, helped protect at least 19 threatened plant species and has brought landholders, bush regenerators, Council and other stakeholders closer together in the fight to protect critical habitat.

    The project is being conducted in high conservation value vegetation on private property at Numinbah in an area that adjoins Numinbah Nature Reserve, a World Heritage Listed nature reserve on the slopes beneath Springbrook Plateau. The nature reserve is renowned for its incredible biodiversity and old-growth subtropical...

    The Numinbah Nature Links project began on 1 August 2015 and is nearing completion. The project has restored a large area of high conservation value bushland, helped protect at least 19 threatened plant species and has brought landholders, bush regenerators, Council and other stakeholders closer together in the fight to protect critical habitat.

    The project is being conducted in high conservation value vegetation on private property at Numinbah in an area that adjoins Numinbah Nature Reserve, a World Heritage Listed nature reserve on the slopes beneath Springbrook Plateau. The nature reserve is renowned for its incredible biodiversity and old-growth subtropical rainforest.

    The project is important because weeds on properties adjoining the nature reserve are a source of weed seed that may end up in the nature reserve. This weed seed may germinate after landslip or canopy damage and the growing weeds degrade native habitat in the reserve. So, any reduction in weeds on land buffering the reserve helps mitigate weed threats to the nature reserve itself.

    The project area contains Endangered Ecological Community Lowland Rainforest and 19 known threatened plant species including Red bopple nut Hicksbeachia pinnatifolia, Fine-leaved tuckeroo Lepiderima pulchella. Durobby Syzygium moorei, Rough shelled bush nut Macadamia tetraphylla and Crystal Creek Walnut Endiandra floydii. The area is also known to support a plethora of threatened fauna species. In fact, one of the bush regenerators recently photographed a Giant barred frog Mixophyes iterates while walking to one of his project sites (see photo).

    Despite the ravages of the March 2017 flood, steep, wet and slippery terrain and heavy weed infestations, bush regenerators and landholders were able to:

    • Restore 26 hectares of high conservation habitat and mitigate the threat of weeds to 19 threatened plant species; and

    • Reduce the foliage projective cover of weeds (a standard measure of weed abundance) to less than 5% across all project sites.

    After three years of on-ground work, native regeneration is abundant and many of the growing trees are well over head height. Moreover, some patches of regenerating rainforest now have almost complete canopy closure. Rapid and complete canopy closure makes it difficult for weeds to reappear, so this result is very encouraging and bodes well for long-term site recovery.

    These great results are the product of 2,700 hours of ecological restoration by three local bush regeneration contractors and the six participating landholders – a mammoth effort.

    As part of the project, a short film was produced. It tells the story of the importance of the project – and biodiversity conservation more broadly – via interviews with landholders. The film can be viewed at: [link]

    Community engagement is an important component of these types of projects. Two community events held at Chillingham hall attracted 80 people. The project has helped bring Council, landholders and the community closer together in its collective efforts to conserve rare habitats in what is a spectacular part of the Tweed Shire.

    The project has been made possible by the NSW Government via its Environmental Trust with additional funding provided by Council.





  • Potential funding for rural landholders

    over 1 year ago

    The BCT’s Conservation Partners Grants are now available. All existing BCT agreement holders that do not receive annual conservation management payments are eligible to apply. Grants can assist landholders to maintain the ecological values of their properties. For example, a landholder may need funding to manage a weed outbreak or repair a fence to exclude stock.

    The grants are also available to those participating in the Community Environment Network’s (CEN) Land for Wildlife or Humane Society International’s (HSI) Wildlife Land Trust programs.

    For further information see: https://www.bct.nsw.gov.au/sites/default/files/2018-05/ConservationPartnersGRANTS_Guide_for_Applicants.pdf

    The funding application form is at: https://www.bct.nsw.gov.au/sites/default/files/2018-06/BCT_Grant_Application_Form_2018_20180612.pdf...

    The BCT’s Conservation Partners Grants are now available. All existing BCT agreement holders that do not receive annual conservation management payments are eligible to apply. Grants can assist landholders to maintain the ecological values of their properties. For example, a landholder may need funding to manage a weed outbreak or repair a fence to exclude stock.

    The grants are also available to those participating in the Community Environment Network’s (CEN) Land for Wildlife or Humane Society International’s (HSI) Wildlife Land Trust programs.

    For further information see: https://www.bct.nsw.gov.au/sites/default/files/2018-05/ConservationPartnersGRANTS_Guide_for_Applicants.pdf

    The funding application form is at: https://www.bct.nsw.gov.au/sites/default/files/2018-06/BCT_Grant_Application_Form_2018_20180612.pdf
  • Biodiversity Conservation Trust Conservation Partners Program

    over 1 year ago

    Are you a registered member of Land for Wildlife but have often thought of entering into a higher, more formal mode of conservation agreement?

    The Biodiversity Conservation Trust (BCT) has begun its Conservation Partners Program. This program is for landholders wishing to enter into either a Wildlife Refuge Agreement or an in-perpetuity Conservation Agreement to protect and manage biodiversity on their land. Generally available for landholders with large, intact areas of medium to high conservation value habitat, the program is available for landholders who are not seeking or are ineligible for conservation management payments.

    For further...

    Are you a registered member of Land for Wildlife but have often thought of entering into a higher, more formal mode of conservation agreement?

    The Biodiversity Conservation Trust (BCT) has begun its Conservation Partners Program. This program is for landholders wishing to enter into either a Wildlife Refuge Agreement or an in-perpetuity Conservation Agreement to protect and manage biodiversity on their land. Generally available for landholders with large, intact areas of medium to high conservation value habitat, the program is available for landholders who are not seeking or are ineligible for conservation management payments.

    For further information, see: https://www.bct.nsw.gov.au/sites/default/files/2018-05/ConservationPARTNERSProgram_Guide_for_Landholders.pdf
  • Fire and biodiversity: The importance of fire in the landscape

    over 1 year ago
    20180609 123800

    The last workshop in the second series of Land for Wildlife workshops was the Fire for Healthy Habitat workshop held on 9 June 2018. The workshop, attended by 12 people, consisted of a presentation covering key theoretical elements of the importance and impacts of fire followed by a tour of local bushland.

    At the workshop, facilitator Andy Baker, an experienced ecologist and bushfire specialist, described a number of different ecosystems on the Tweed Coast. He explained that fire regimes – the characteristics of individual fires and their cumulative effects on the landscape over many years –...

    The last workshop in the second series of Land for Wildlife workshops was the Fire for Healthy Habitat workshop held on 9 June 2018. The workshop, attended by 12 people, consisted of a presentation covering key theoretical elements of the importance and impacts of fire followed by a tour of local bushland.

    At the workshop, facilitator Andy Baker, an experienced ecologist and bushfire specialist, described a number of different ecosystems on the Tweed Coast. He explained that fire regimes – the characteristics of individual fires and their cumulative effects on the landscape over many years – play a crucial role in shaping these ecosystems including the abundance and distribution of particular plant and animal species.

    Presenter Andy Baker said that vegetation types such as heath and woodland contain many plant and animal species that are not only tolerate fire but require it for their survival. Many native plants have adaptations which enable them to survive fire. Many animals seek recently-burnt habitat because it provides preferred food and shelter. For example, some birds are known to quickly move into brunt areas of bushland because it is much easier to move around and forage for food in a sparse, open understorey. As time passes and the habitat continues to recover, vegetation re-growth and the germination of new shrubs literally fills in the understorey making it difficult for the birds to move freely enough to successfully forage for food.

    Andy said that some areas of bushland that depend on fire are not being burnt as regularly as they should. One consequence of this is that rainforest plant species, most of which are fire-intolerant, are able to colonise new areas and begin displacing fire-dependent species that thrived until the fire regime changed. This influx of rainforest species has the potential to radically alter the local mix of plant and animal species and threatens the viability of some of our precious heath and woodland ecosystems.

    Participants went on a tour of bushland that had been burnt around one year ago. The effects of fire on heath, woodland and wetlands were discussed. The workshop also covered approval processes and permits for burns on private land as well as a community-based training program enabling landholders develop a property fire management plan.


  • Habitat management tip: To plant or not to plant?

    over 1 year ago
    Planting at uki

    That is the question many landholders face when they decide to conserve or enhance areas of native habitat which have been degraded. Planting trees is seen as a quick way of restoring bushland to its natural state and it is certainly a fun and nurturing activity. But is it necessary? Resilient sites might not need planting at all and instead only require systematic weed management. Although all sites are different, the basic rule of thumb is to plant trees only when your site has limited potential to regenerate naturally (that is, when the target site is highly degraded).

    ...

    That is the question many landholders face when they decide to conserve or enhance areas of native habitat which have been degraded. Planting trees is seen as a quick way of restoring bushland to its natural state and it is certainly a fun and nurturing activity. But is it necessary? Resilient sites might not need planting at all and instead only require systematic weed management. Although all sites are different, the basic rule of thumb is to plant trees only when your site has limited potential to regenerate naturally (that is, when the target site is highly degraded).

    The Australian Association of Bush Regenerators has a great brochure to help you decide whether you need to plant at your site. See the 3 Rs of restoration at http://www.aabr.org.au/images/stories/resources/planting/PlantingBrochure.pdf


  • Pest Profile: Yellow Crazy Ants

    over 1 year ago
    Crazy yellow ant

    Ants are one of the most abundant insects on earth. The total ant population is estimated at one quadrillion (1,000,000,000,000,000)! Ants perform many important roles and are essential to the well-being of a great variety of habitats. But here is one exotic ant species we do not want in Tweed Shire: Yellow Crazy Ants Anoplolepis gracilipes.

    An infestation of Yellow Crazy Ants Anoplolepis gracilipes was recently confirmed in Lismore, the first time in more than a decade the species has been found in NSW.

    According to the Department of Primary Industries (DPI), the species is serious...

    Ants are one of the most abundant insects on earth. The total ant population is estimated at one quadrillion (1,000,000,000,000,000)! Ants perform many important roles and are essential to the well-being of a great variety of habitats. But here is one exotic ant species we do not want in Tweed Shire: Yellow Crazy Ants Anoplolepis gracilipes.

    An infestation of Yellow Crazy Ants Anoplolepis gracilipes was recently confirmed in Lismore, the first time in more than a decade the species has been found in NSW.

    According to the Department of Primary Industries (DPI), the species is serious environmental pest. Although the ants are not a direct threat to humans they pose a grave environmental and economic threat and have the potential to spread to large parts of Australia.

    The ants are yellow or brownish, about 5mm long, with very long legs and antennae and an erratic walking style. The ant is known to spread very quickly, build super colonies and damage local ecosystems.

    On their website, DPI urge anyone who sees the ants to report them on the Biosecurity Hotline 1800 680 244, the DPI website www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/info/reportexoticant or through Local Land Services.

    For further information see: https://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/about-us/media-centre/releases/2018/yellow-crazy-ants-confirmed-in-lismore


  • Weed Profile: Coral Berry

    over 1 year ago
    Coral berry

    Coral berry, from the Family Myrsinaceae, is a small upright evergreen shrub with glossy dark green leaves. The species is also known as Christmas berry, Coral ardisia, Coral bush, Hilo holly and scratch throat. It is a weed of tropical, sub-tropical and warmer temperate regions and is a native to southern and eastern Asian countries including south-western India, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines, China, Korea, Taiwan and Japan.

    Its alternately arranged leaves are relatively thick and have finely toothed margins. Its fragrant flowers are white to deep pink and are usually covered in numerous minute black spots. Its showy...

    Coral berry, from the Family Myrsinaceae, is a small upright evergreen shrub with glossy dark green leaves. The species is also known as Christmas berry, Coral ardisia, Coral bush, Hilo holly and scratch throat. It is a weed of tropical, sub-tropical and warmer temperate regions and is a native to southern and eastern Asian countries including south-western India, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines, China, Korea, Taiwan and Japan.

    Its alternately arranged leaves are relatively thick and have finely toothed margins. Its fragrant flowers are white to deep pink and are usually covered in numerous minute black spots. Its showy bright red berries, which hang in clusters, can remain on the plant for months.

    It is a small upright shrub usually growing up to two metres in height. It prefers rich, well-drained, soils and it thrives in shaded positions in closed forests, near forest margins and along waterways. It flowers between winter and spring.

    Coral berry is naturalised in the coastal districts of eastern Queensland, in north-eastern New South Wales and in the Sydney area. Globally, the species is a major weed pest, having become naturalised in southern Africa, south-eastern United States, the Mascarenes (a small island group near Mauritius), the Seychelles and Hawaii.

    This species reproduces by seed. The seeds may be spread by humans (for example, in dumped garden waste), birds (the plant has a very attractive fruit), and by water movement, particularly floods.

    Substantial information about the species is available on a number of websites. one of the best summaries available is at: https://weeds.brisbane.qld.gov.au/weeds/coral-berry

  • Flora profile: Melaleuca quinquenervia (Broad-leaved paperbark)

    over 1 year ago
    Melaleuca quinquenervia

    Melaleuca quinquenervia Broad-leaved paperbark

    Melaleuca quinquenervia, commonly known as Broad-leaved paperbark, is a small- to medium-sized tree of the Myrtaceae family. Commonly a relatively small tree of tween 12-14 metres in height, larger specimens may grow to more than 20 metres high. The species is common in swamps and depressions along the Tweed Coast in a range of soils periodically inundated by water but the species is also found upslope in wet gullies and on the lower slopes of adjacent undulating terrain.

    Broad-leaved paperbark is covered by a white, beige and grey thick papery bark which...

    Melaleuca quinquenervia Broad-leaved paperbark

    Melaleuca quinquenervia, commonly known as Broad-leaved paperbark, is a small- to medium-sized tree of the Myrtaceae family. Commonly a relatively small tree of tween 12-14 metres in height, larger specimens may grow to more than 20 metres high. The species is common in swamps and depressions along the Tweed Coast in a range of soils periodically inundated by water but the species is also found upslope in wet gullies and on the lower slopes of adjacent undulating terrain.

    Broad-leaved paperbark is covered by a white, beige and grey thick papery bark which protects the cambium from fire. The stiff, elliptic, grey-green leaves have five longitudinal veins. Close inspection of the leaves reveals numerous oil dots and the leaves are strongly aromatic when crushed. Cream or white bottlebrush-like flowers appear between September to May or even later.

    This species is attractive to a number of animals. Flowers provide a source of nectar for Grey-headed and Little Red Flying Foxes and many bird species including the Scaly-breasted lorikeet, Lewin’s Honeyeater and Eastern Spinebill. Many insect species flock to the blossoms and Koalas may forage on the leaves.

    In the backyard, especially in coastal localities, the species is easy to grow in a range of soils and situations. It is very hardy, grows reasonably quickly and tolerates salt-laden air. Copses of threes make excellent windbreaks. Although the species does not have an overly invasive root system, it should not be planted too close to infrastructure.

    Aboriginal people used the papery bark for building shelters, and wrapping food for cooking.

    Interestingly, the species has invaded millions of hectares of swampland in the south eastern United States. The United States Department of Agriculture has classified the species as a noxious weed in Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Massachusetts, Oklahoma and Texas.



    A large stand of trees near Bogangar, one year after fire. The species is very resilient and hardy. It has adapted to fire and periodic inundation.


  • Fauna Profile: Southern Pink Underwing Moth

    over 1 year ago
    Southern pink underwing moth

    The Southern Pink Underwing Moth is found from Nambour in south-eastern Queensland to Bellingen in northern NSW. In NSW it is known to occur in a small number of localities from the QLD border to Wardell, and there is a disjunct population in the Bellingen area.

    The grey/brown forewings are approximately 6 centimetres long with white spots on the underside. When at rest the moth resembles a dead leaf. Young caterpillars are dull brown. However, as they mature they develop a dramatic 'head' display when alarmed: two large 'eye' spots and a double row of white 'teeth'. The pupal stage...

    The Southern Pink Underwing Moth is found from Nambour in south-eastern Queensland to Bellingen in northern NSW. In NSW it is known to occur in a small number of localities from the QLD border to Wardell, and there is a disjunct population in the Bellingen area.

    The grey/brown forewings are approximately 6 centimetres long with white spots on the underside. When at rest the moth resembles a dead leaf. Young caterpillars are dull brown. However, as they mature they develop a dramatic 'head' display when alarmed: two large 'eye' spots and a double row of white 'teeth'. The pupal stage is a bronze-coloured 5 centimetres case consisting of silk and leaves surrounded by metallic brown bands.

    The Southern Pink Underwing Moth is found in subtropical rainforest below about 600 metres elevation. Potential breeding habitat is restricted to areas where the caterpillar's food plant, a native rainforest vine, Carronia multisepalea, occurs in subtropical rainforest. Adult Southern Pink Underwing Moths require the low light conditions of the rainforest in order to breed. The caterpillars spend their lives on vines near the forest floor and are very sensitive to light. If the vines are disturbed the caterpillars quickly move back into heavy shade, usually on the underside of leaves.

    The Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) has recently conducted surveys in various locations in the Tweed Shire to build a clearer picture of the distribution of the Carronia multisepalea and to hence to help estimate more accurately the location and numbers of moth populations. Field surveys conducted by OEH officers found that the vine and the moth larvae are very common in rainforest in Numinbah Nature Reserve and on several private properties adjoining the reserve. The vine and Southern Pink Underwing Moth caterpillars have been found in several other locations within Tweed Shire.


  • Be a sticky beak for birdlife count

    over 1 year ago
    CLOSED: This discussion has concluded.
    Rainbow lorikeet   andrew silcocks low res

    Birdlife Australia is calling on all Australians to count the birds they're seeing in their backyards, local parks and favourite outdoor spaces.

    Even if you don’t consider yourself a birdwatcher, Birdlife Australia wants to hear about the birds you see this week – especially the common bird species, because it's the more common species that provide the best indication of the health of the environment.

    The #AussieBirdCount is on until 29 October. You can enter as many 20-minute counts as you like, and from anywhere in Australia. You don't have to be in your backyard and you don't have to...

    Birdlife Australia is calling on all Australians to count the birds they're seeing in their backyards, local parks and favourite outdoor spaces.

    Even if you don’t consider yourself a birdwatcher, Birdlife Australia wants to hear about the birds you see this week – especially the common bird species, because it's the more common species that provide the best indication of the health of the environment.

    The #AussieBirdCount is on until 29 October. You can enter as many 20-minute counts as you like, and from anywhere in Australia. You don't have to be in your backyard and you don't have to count in the same place each time. For further information, visit https://aussiebirdcount.org.au/

    Photo by Andrew Silcocks