Upper Coldstream Biodiversity Project

The project is implementing habitat restoration works across the nationally-significant Upper Coldstream; combined with capacity-building opportunities to engage and empower landholders in delivering best-practice landscape-scale management.

Precious wildlife habitat

The Upper Coldstream Biodiversity Project is centred around Pillar Valley on the north coast of NSW. The project area spans the upper catchment of the Coldstream River at the eastern edge of the Clarence River floodplain.

The Upper Coldstream contains a significant proportion of the largest coastal wildlife corridor on the north coast of NSW, providing the connectivity and landscape diversity required by iconic species such as the coastal emu. The area is known to harbour some of the most diverse eucalypt forests and forested wetlands in the world, provides habitat for more than 110 threatened species, and supports an exceptionally high diversity of native plants, with more than 800 species already recorded during project surveys. It is likely that the native plant list could reach 1,000 species - a significant proportion of Australia’s total.

What we are doing

The Upper Coldstream Biodiversity Project is a partnership between the Nature Conservation Council of NSW and the Clarence Environment Centre. In collaboration with 44 landholders we are working to reduce the impacts of weeds, pest animals and wildfire on the nationally significant values of Pillar Valley and surrounding catchments. With support from key stakeholders and linkages to complementary programs on adjoining public lands of the Yuraygir Coast, the project aims to implement best practice habitat restoration across 25,000 hectares. Rather than each landholder and land manager working alone, the Upper Coldstream Project enables stakeholders to tackle these landscape-scale problems in a coordinated, cooperative way across the whole catchment.

The Upper Coldstream Biodiversity Project Strategic Plan 2013-2017 is available here (14MB).

Over four years, the Upper Coldstream Biodiversity Project aims to achieve several main targets:

  • Weed control  prioritised to areas where a natural regeneration response will occur as a result of intensive weed control; strategic management will occur across 4,000 hectares over four years; eradication of a range of outlier and isolated weeds will be achieved.
  • Pest animal control targeted at sites where pig damage is degrading significant ecological values such as wetlands, rainforest gullies and creek lines; monitoring, trapping and removal will complement similar activities undertaken by adjoining public land managers to effectively cover 25,000 hectares.
  • Fire management will receive greater consideration with a particular emphasis on reducing the impacts of uncontrolled wildfire on the significant ecological values of the Upper Coldstream. In some cases well-planned and controlled fire can be used as a management tool to rehabilitate habitats.

Cultural connections

Prior to European contact, people traversed all throughout Yaegl country and there are strong cultural connections to the area and it’s spectacular ridges and rock outcrops, proximity to the rivers, estuaries and marine resources and well-trodden coastal pathways across the land.

The Yaegl community, through the Birrigan Gargle Local Aboriginal Land Council and Yaegl Elders, is involved in the project and will be engaged in activities that increase the community’s capacity to manage the ecological values of their lands at Wooloweyah.

The emu has great cultural significance for the Aboriginal people of the Bandjalung, Yaegl and Gumbaynggirr nations on the North Coast. The Upper Coldstream Biodiversity Project is working with Macquarie University’s National Indigenous Science Education Program, the Firesticks Project and the Yaegl community to do surveys, fire management planning, and ecological burns on Birrigan Gargle Lands.

Project updates

Keep in touch with the latest project updates via the Upper Coldstream Biodiversity Project newsletters: 

Spring 2014 newsletter

Autumn 2015 newsletter

Saving the north coast emu

The great pressure the coastal emu is under requires an intensive management program to instigate a recovery in the population numbers. The Upper Coldstream Biodiversity Project is working with a range of stakeholders and partners to determine the immediate recovery actions required and is implementing key activities that will restore habitat and reduces threats. This short video tells the story.



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