Koala management plan for Bellingen hailed as a step forward
THREE years in the making, the long-awaited Comprehensive Koala Plan of Management for the coastal part of Bellingen Shire represents a huge step forward.
Don Arnold, regional manager of the Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) said the plan represents a major achievement in supporting koala conservation.
"The Bellingen koala population forms a significant part of a regional population stretching from north of Coffs Harbour to the Nambucca River in the south," he said.
"Approved by council the plan is based on the outcomes of an OEH study undertaken in 2013 which used both recent surveys and records over the last 36 years to determine the priority areas where koalas live.
"Koala habitat was then derived based on new detailed vegetation mapping undertaken by specialised staff."
Mayor of Bellingen, Cr Mark Troy, said the plan offers an unprecedented level of protection to core koala habitat.
"We are uniquely privileged to be the custodians of a koala population of national significance," he said.
"Mapping of 1,730ha of land as core koala habitat is a huge step for council and the community towards securing the long term protection of koalas in the Shire."
The CKPoM will now be forwarded to the Department of Planning and Environment for final approval.