Dogs will be used to learn more about koala activity. Picture: Toby Zerna
Dogs will be used to learn more about koala activity. Picture: Toby Zerna

Koala sniffing canines on the case

A project enlisting the services of koala sniffing canines is just one of several in line for funding from Coffs Harbour City Council's environmental levy.

Council received 20 submissions for the 2020/21 Environmental Levy Grants Program with 17 submissions recommended to share the $346,814 funding pool.

The Jaliigirr Biodiversity Alliance has asked for $25,000 for their project titled:

Canine Scent Detectives Promoting Koala Population Health in Jaliigirr Corridors.

The project will collect information on koala activity by undertaking scat detection surveys using trained koala scent detection dogs.

The study will focus on the peri-urban and semirural area and linkage corridors in the Sawtell/Toormina/Boambee East area.

Nana Glen Landcare Group have asked for $25,000 to continue studies into the impact of nitrates on microinvertebrates and river health.

Intensive plant agriculture in the Bucca Bucca Creek catchment has resulted in excessive nitrates entering the river systems and there are concerns about the impact on macroinvertebrate communities which in turn affects fish, reptiles, amphibians and the ecological balance of the river system.

A Southern Cross University project has been triggered by similar concerns in relation to the impacts of intensive agriculture and it's in line to receive $24,000.

Protesters spelt out an SOS at a rally at Hearnes Lake recently.
Protesters spelt out an SOS at a rally at Hearnes Lake recently.

This project will conduct heavy metal analyses in current and historical sediments in several coastal wetlands. This will allow SCU researchers to isolate the source of the heavy metals potentially entering the estuaries.

The research will be accomplished through in-depth sediment chemistry analyses including sediment dating to investigate possible heavy metal contamination from the early 1900s to present.

The areas selected for sampling would include estuaries draining in both long-established intensive horticulture operations on former banana and more recent blueberry plantation sites, as well as areas with little agricultural activity for comparative purposes.

Heavy metal concentrations will also be compared to national soil quality guidelines to determine the extent of any environmental contamination and any potential impacts to biological organisms.

The projects will be considered for approval at this Thursday's Coffs Harbour City Council meeting.



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