John Holland Country Regional Network Squirrel Glider Conservation

John Holland Rail Pty Ltd (JHR P/L) under contract from Transport for New South Wales Country Rail Contracts is undertaking engagement of various conservation specialists and community groups across the Country Regional Network (CRN). Throughout the CRN there are number significant environmental areas, one of which includes the non-operational rail easement between Blayney to Demondrille that contain the important remnants of a Box Gum Woodland Endangered Ecological Community (EEC).

Box Gum Woodland EEC’s are diverse vegetation complexes of grasses, shrubs, trees and mature hollow bearing trees that provide important habitat for a number of native fauna species. However, Box Gum Woodlands EEC in the rail easement and adjacent land have been heavily degraded over the years due to rail and road infrastructure, and agricultural grazing and cropping, and where remnant trees remain the grass layer and midstorey shrub layer has been extensively grazed or cleared.

The Squirrel Glider (Petaurus norfolcensis – listed as Vulnerable in NSW) has been previously recorded in the area and is highly reliant upon woodland remnants for denning and nesting (in hollows) but also for foraging on arboreal arthropods, nectar, pollen and manna provided by eucalypts but also from a variety of midstorey Acacia species. In order for JHR P/L to meet environmental legislative expectations, it is expected that the land manager makes reasonable efforts to conserve biodiversity values across the network, and aims to carry out works that will improve remnant patches of Box Gum Woodland and provide additional roosting and foraging resources for the Squirrel Glider populations in the locality.

Mid Lachlan Landcare has partnered with JHR P/L in order to deliver on-ground works by identifying sites being used by Squirrel Gliders within the rail corridor, developing a monitoring program for uptake and habitation of nest boxes, and seed collection, propagation and planting of local species of Acacia. Mid Lachlan Landcare has engaged Young District Landcare for assistance with monitoring, Young and Cowra Men’s Sheds to build nest boxes that will be installed by an experienced local arborist and also local seed collecting experts from Kangarooby Catchment Landcare Group who will collect and prepare seed for 2,500 plants, of which local nurseries will propagate and plant within the rail corridor.

This project is set to take place over the coming months until June 2015.

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