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Helping the Eastern Bristlebird

Thursday, 3rd October 2013

Helping the Eastern Bristlebird

The burn was part of a project by the Nature Conservation Council of NSW (NCC) in collaboration with local landholders, the Northern Rivers Fire and Biodiversity Consortium, the Hotspots Fire Project, the South East Queensland Fire and Biodiversity Consortium and South East Queensland Catchments.

Ecologists estimate there are only about 30 known individuals left in the northern population of the species, which is clinging on in only a few places in northern NSW and southern Queensland. The bird's northern range covers an area of about 50 square kilometres, within which there may be less than 1000 hectares of suitable habitat left for nestling and foraging.

Researchers believe the lack of fire since the 1980s has resulted in the loss of grassy habitats critical for its survival. Where shrub and invasive weed encroachment has occurred during long periods without fire.

On September 5 the NSW Rural Fire Service and the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service conducted a control burn to promote the correct conditions needed to support the local population. Specialist remote area firefighters, rangers and local brigades conducted the operation in steep, remote country on private land adjacent to the Border Ranges National Park and Gondwana World Heritage Area.

NCC Hotspots Ecologist Kevin Taylor hopes that this burn will start to address the problem with support from post fire weed control which is also being conducted as part of the project. It is also though that this burn at Gradys Creek may also benefit a population of the endangered Hastings River Mouse (Pseudomys oralis) that was found during small mammal surveys by NCC staff and researchers as part of ongoing monitoring at the site. 

The NCC would like to thank the enormous efforts of the Kyogle NSW Rural Fire Service local district and local brigades, without whom this could not have taken place.

"The eastern bristlebird northern recovery team and researchers believe that one of the biggest threats to the species in northern NSW and south-east Queensland is inappropriate fire regimes", said Lynn Baker, Office of Environment and Heritage Senior Team Leader, Ecosystems and Threatened Species North East.

Read the full story in the NCC Media Release

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