Sunday, 24 July 2011

Coombabah conservation area

The Gold Coast is perhaps one of the prime examples in modern time of the pressures of urban development and the need to set aside well considered conservation areas.

The Gold Coast City Council has done exactly this in the Coombabah area with the Coombabah Lakelands Conservation Area.

As you can see on the map below the area has been heavily urbanised in the last 20 years.

View Larger Map

and the population growth in the region has been very high, going from around 30,000 when I was born (here) to over half a million and doubling during holiday seasons

So its more or less essential to preserve this area (as much as it can be all things considered) to provide some sort of remnant habitat for some species. Its actually working (as we'll see in a tic)

A quick peek around the general area of the wetland can be had in this video.

We went there on this occasion as there was a Gold Coast City Council (GCCC) guided walk to introduce locals to what may be there (and perhaps get them more interested in their local real area). So we joined a group to take a walk around the wetland.

As you can see above there is also a nice boardwalk there making it possible to get out into the wetland area more and see it from a vantage which would normally require a boat (or getting wet). This certainly helps reduce the impact.

The area does act to keep some of the local fauna living there (remember, they were there all along, we just encroached on their space) with some Wallabys:

and the less shy grey Kangaroo population never disappoints and one can often see one in the area. Basking in the sun after a morning feed

where there's one there's two, and if there's two there's more

Droppings are also an important indicator of what's hanging around the region

and shows us evidence of Koalas (this is Koala droppings below)

The use of movement sensor triggered video cameras also helps with park management understand what moves around both day and night ...

after all you need to know what you've got to manage it right?
As it turns out lots of animals are killed in the region by animal attack (as well as cars) and well meaning (strongly opinionated self ordained expert yet drastically ignorant) local residents think its all "just natural" ... its natural that dogs hunt and kill. True, but then in a natural system there would not be such a large population of dogs living in the area because they'd starve ... because they couldn't go home to a bowl of dog food. Looking at the urbanisation rate in the above satellite image its pretty clear. Often they just kill their prey for fun (better food is had at home).

Local feral dogs and cats are a source of strong predation on the local wildlife. The managers try to understand what is done by domestic dogs and by Dingos.

Australia has lots of reptiles and Carpet snakes also live (and hunt) in the area. These lovely guys help keep our rat population in check, but it would seem in this case it was a ringtail possum (but hart to tell after digestion)

So as we wind up our tour of the wetland area one of the local butcher birds keeps an eye on us as we depart:
So the GCCC has helped make this area that little better to live in amid the influx of population in the region by keeping some of the natural areas. This means its more likely I'll see fellas like these


in my back yard (or my dads)

Its by providing a good balance of natural areas in the midst of human communities that makes Australia nicer to live in than big cities tend to be.

NOTE for the photographically inclined: all these images come from my Panasonic GH1 using a mixture of the standard zoom lens as well as some old Canon FD series lenses which I use via an adaptor ... very handy

No comments: