Biodiversity Corridors

Gladesville Reserve Bushland and Nature Corridor

We are working with our community to preserve our local biodiversity and create wildlife habitats.

Find out more about the bush regeneration work happening in public reserves, what locals are doing in their own backyards and more.

Biodiversity Corridors Grant

This three-year grant project aims to implement priority actions from the Lane Cove River and Parramatta River certified Coastal Zone Management Plans. It also has significant synergies with the Hunters Hill Biodiversity Conservation Strategy 2021-26. Bushcare groups and bush regeneration contractors are working across three reserves namely Boronia Park, Riverglade Reserve and Kellys Bush. Five hectares of bush regeneration will improve east-west connectivity, restore Endangered Ecological Communities (EECs) i.e. Coastal Saltmarsh, Swamp Oak Forest and Sydney Freshwater Wetlands, rehabilitate key habitat for native threatened fauna e.g. Powerful Owl, and increase the resilience of these EECs.

In addition, the project encourages community awareness and knowledge of local biodiversity values. Our Council is planning a biodiversity awareness campaign including using Councils’ and Habitat Networks’, (a local conservation organisation and project partner) digital platforms, a promotional video and door knocking residents, schools and businesses in identified possible corridor areas.

Find out more about Hunters Hills bushland and biodiversity.

Join a Bushcare group or volunteer for community planting days.

We have included case studies below from some of our residents sharing what they are doing to preserve our local biodiversity and create wildlife habitat in their backyards. Read more from our Council and Habitat Network for advice on creating a wildlife friendly backyard.

This project is supported by the NSW Government’s Coastal and Estuary Management Program.

Project Rationale

This project aims to implement high priority actions identified in the Lane Cove River Estuary and Parramatta River Estuary Coastal Zone Management Plans (CZMPs).

These actions were also identified in the Hunters Hill Biodiversity Conservation Strategy 2021-26. The Biodiversity Conservation Strategy is based on the collection of baseline conditions of biodiversity including the 3 Endangered Ecological Communities (EECs), 1 Critically Endangered Ecological Community (CEEC), 20 known threatened flora and fauna and 28 species identified as locally significant.

Three main challenges were identified in the Biodiversity Conservation Strategy being mainstreaming, invasive species and habitat fragmentation. Recommendations for addressing these challenges include:

(1) increased community participation and engagement, particularly among the youth, and may be addressed through improved communication strategies, biodiversity programs, and partnerships;

(2) current practices for dealing with invasive species have been effective and should be continued; and

(3) habitat fragmentation can be addressed through the development of new biodiversity corridors, primarily focusing on connecting Boronia Park and Riverglade Reserve with Kelly’s Bush in order to bridge the large gap between the eastern and western reserves within the Hunters Hill local government area.

The project also aligns with the Parramatta River Catchment Group aims to strategically approach habitat restoration at a landscape level and identify key linkages between bushland remnants which provide stepping stones for fauna moving between core habitat areas i.e. Lane Cove National Park etc.

These locations are of state significance and the EECs are key habitat for threatened fauna such as the Powerful Owl, small passerine and migratory birds. Bush regeneration works will be carried out in accordance with the high priority actions in the CZMPs, Biodiversity Conservation Strategy, reserve Plans of Management and current best practice management. In addition, the project builds on over 20 years of bushcare work in these reserves.

Projected Project Outcomes

  • Improved east-west ecological connectivity i.e. Boronia Park and Riverglade Reserve with Kelly’s Bush.
  • Improved condition andor extent of estuarine vegetation including EECs i.e. Coastal Saltmarsh, Swamp Oak Floodplain Forest and Sydney Freshwater Wetlands.
  • Improved key habitat for native threatened fauna e.g. Powerful Owl (landscape managed species) and small passerine and migratory birds.
  • Improved ecological integrity through improved water quality.
  • Increased resilience of these communities, which will have greater capacity to survive rising sea levels as a result of climate change.
  • Increased local community knowledge and awareness of local biodiversity and reserves including increased participation in habitat restoration and related projects.

Case Studies

Anglican Parish of Hunters Hill - Woolwich Peninsula

The Anglican Parish of Hunters Hill received a grant from Hunter’s Hill Council in mid-2021 to create a small bird habitat under some existing established trees at All Saints’ Church on Ambrose Street, Hunters Hill. The Habitat Network supplied the 450 native plants that were planted at a working bee by members of the Parish and local community.

The Habitat Network also supplied great advice and expertise, and the plants have been arranged in order to offer circles of protection that will enable small birds (along with other local natives) to eventually make a safe home in the garden, and to even have food. Only a few months down the track, and after a wet summer, many of the plants have already doubled and tripled in size. It is hoped within two years they will be well established.

The Parish also believes that this planting will assist in reducing its impact on the climate, and fits perfectly within their ethos of being good stewards of creation. It also further enhances their beautiful grounds and our suburb. The Parish hopes in the future to extend the area planted by the same size once again, and along with plantings of some of our neighbours in their gardens, we would create a magnificent corridor for native birds and animals.

Gillian Coote - Land Cove River

I first learnt about the Bradley Sisters and their pioneering bush regeneration methods in the early 1980s, while researching a documentary film about Marie Byles, and gradually began removing weeds and exotics from our garden. I discovered that Commelina (very like Tradescantia, but with wondrous blue flowers) was a native plant, and that the trailing plant creeping across the “lawn” was Oplismenus, (aka basketgrass), another native. They were welcome. As the native seedbank can live for over 100 years until the right conditions present themselves and, that far from being “poor” sandy soil, Sydney Hawkesbury Sandstone soil has been instrumental in producing a vast number of plant species, instead of buying plants, I began to observe what came up.  I also stopped buying soil and fertiliser.

We had moved into ‘Marveen” in 1972 and worked hard to make the place habitable. I planted the Peruvian evergreen Schinus Molle (Pepper Tree) and several citrus trees, while admiring the South African daisies, asparagus weed and Ochna serrulata, unaware of their ‘weediness’. We had Tradescantia fluminensis aka Wandering Jew and a Camphor Laurel beside the river. There was still some remnant native vegetation – old Eucalyptus pilularis (Blackbutt), Treeferns, Glochidian (cheese tree), Pittosporum and Elaeocarpus (Blueberry Ash) as well as Dianella and Lomandra.

After a one-day introductory bush regeneration course with the National Trust in 1996, I enrolled in Bush Regeneration at TAFE, keen to protect and conserve the biodiversity of fauna and flora at the local level – “think globally, act locally” – and contribute to lessening the impacts of climate change. For many years, I worked with a Bush Regen Co-op in remnant bush around the Lane Cove River.

Much has changed along our part of the river since we came. Until the 90s, the house next door had a double block with remnant bush, habitat for many creatures who roamed along the waterfront land from Boronia Park, some of them coming over our dry stone wall to visit – Eastern Water Dragons, skinks and, one morning, two red-bellied black snakes entwined under the Blueberrry Ash – it was mating season and they were “jousting”. There were small birds – wrens, honey-eaters, spotted pardalotes – now long gone, though the big eucalypts are meeting places for cockatoos, and we wake to the uproarious laughter of kookaburras. When the block next door was subdivided, the grand new house eliminated the bush, except for a narrow strip of foreshore land. Fortunately, the dragons are still happy to wander through our place, the blueberry ash is growing taller and a slender green tree snake appeared a few months ago. The black snakes have vanished, but recently, an echidna bravely journeyed across our place, went next door and then walked back towards Boronia Park. Our habitat garden is a place of constant surprises and rewards.

Neil and Lyn Worsley - Tarban Creek

Imagine the possibilities for our Hunters Hill environment if we all found ways to encourage natural habitats for our native plants, animals, and soil creatures on every building block in the municipality.

With this image in mind, we have been transforming our home garden and some adjoining areas into places where native birds come to feed and nest, to have places for lizards and reptiles to flourish, and where native animals can forage and breed.  By growing more trees and shrubs there is more shade, the soil is better protected, and the local impacts of climate change are reduced.

Over the last six years we have tried in many simple and rewarding ways to regenerate our natural environment around our home.

So far, we have planted over 4000 plants ranging from native grasses, to both ornamental and native shrubs, to fruit trees, as well as local eucalypts, native figs and other trees.

When completing our house additions, we intentionally maintained and separated topsoil and used naturally sourced or recycled materials where possible. We have found recycled sandstone to build natural retaining walls leaving the vertical joints open for lizards and other small creatures to live and hunt. By using low impact siteworks followed by driveway and path materials which allow natural drainage, the local environment was less disrupted, and the micro-habitats have been better maintained.

Meanwhile, the rest of the block was enhanced using composted kitchen waste to improve the soil, by seasonally cutting and drying our native grasses to make straw for mulch, adding our own organic matter to topsoil and by nurturing native seedlings found during regular hand weeding.

At times some nearby trees have been damaged by storms, and we were able to harvest and germinate some seed from the accessible pods. HHC staff were so helpful by providing advice, encouragement and even some necessary mulch and seedlings to assist. We now have over 20 new trees in the nearby Crown Land and numerous other shrubs and grasses filling out the adjoining areas. By participating in a local Bushcare group we are also helping to re-establish native ecosystems in our broader local area.

It is unsurprising that visitors and residents are rightly proud of the improvements they are seeing in their local environment and some neighbours have joined in to help grow and plant native seedlings into previously damaged natural areas. We are currently growing seed of over 80 eucalypts which will be ready for planting soon.

It is so enjoyable to see new wildlife venture around our home. Recently we have sighted a few special visitors including large Blue-Tongue lizards, numerous very healthy skinks, a family of Tawny Frogmouths, Fairy Wrens, Red Browed Finches, nesting Brush Turkeys, King Parrots, a Satin Bower bird, Yellow Tailed Black Cockatoos, Sacred Kingfishers, a Grey Heron, and native bees.

It has been exciting to see our home garden transformed to now foster more native flora and fauna. We encourage all other Hunters Hill residents to do what you can to make it happen too!

Cynthia - Woolwich Peninsula

Our habitat garden began with a frog pond, an attempt to help save the frogs we were discovering barely alive in our swimming pool. A friend, another Hunters Hill local, suggested a pond, as they had one too. It was while planting some frog-friendly plants around the pond to give them places to hide from predators – like native violets, and strappy lomandras – that I realised how silent and still our well-manicured garden of (mainly) exotics was. The plants looked fine, but there were no creatures about. Where were the lizards, the butterflies, the crickets? I decided to expand my native habitat garden, to provide food sources and places of refuge to try and entice local fauna back.

Knowing nothing about gardening, I contacted Hunter’s Hill Council who put me in touch with a community nursery, The Habitat nursery in Ryde. I started researching what plants were native to the Hunters Hill area, and what plants would bring in the creatures I was trying to attract. I wanted to provide shelter for small birds that didn’t visit our garden – we only seemed to ever see Noisy Minors – but that I knew existed in the remnant pockets of nearby bushland such as Kelly’s Bush. Birds including blue fairy wrens and finches. I began sourcing prickly shrubs where small birds could seek refuge from more aggressive larger birds – plants like hakeas, bursaria, juniper wattle – and planting them close together. I tore up small areas of lawn to make new sections of garden, with paths in between, and planted natives to attract pollinators. Some were local and others were natives from further afield. Among them were black wattle, blueberry ash, banksia, tick bush, dianella, hardenbergia, as well as various melaleuca, callistemon, westringia, correa and grasses. Not all the plants have survived, and I am learning which ones do better in our clay soils. I put in bird baths and left saucers of water around for the ground dwelling creatures. I also stopped all use of pesticides and herbicides in the garden. I ceased using a leaf blower, began leaving leaf matter around the garden, and brought in bush rocks, fallen tree branches, logs and the occasional clay pipe, to create hiding places for reptiles.

The first change I noticed was the appearance of skinks and blue tongue lizards, along with the native bees, caterpillars, butterflies and dragon flies. It took a while, but eventually the frogs found my pond, though we haven’t had any small birds visit yet. Perhaps one day. For now, I take great joy in the sounds of life I hear in the garden, especially the hum of the gorgeous native bees in the day and the song of crickets at night, as well as in the now-common sight of curious skinks that sunbake on the logs and rocks, and the occasional kookaburra that perches on our garden seat, no doubt appreciating the growing lizard population. It is a steep learning curve, and I have much to learn. But the more knowledge I gain, the more I realise the power of the humble backyard to support biodiversity and improve the health of our planet. And the more our garden grows.