Supporting ecosystems and threatened species
Creating and maintaining biodiverse, resilient landscapes with well functioning ecosystems is an important element of the ACT’s approach to nature conservation.
ACT NRM supports that work by engaging in a range of projects including:
- habitat rehabilitation and restoration
- invasive species control
- capacity building
ACT NRM currently focuses its efforts in three priority ecosystems in the ACT and surrounding region:
ACT NRM collaborates with researchers and land managers to help reverse species decline and support species recovery. Most of the ACT’s threatened species fall within the three priority ecosystems.
ACT NRM is administering threatened species projects funded by the Australian Government to:
- expand the Mulligans Flat – Goorooyarroo Woodland Experiment, which is a nationally significant conservation sanctuary ($600,000)
- improve the condition of natural temperate grassland sites for recovery of a suite of threatened grassland species, including the Grassland Earless Dragon and Striped Legless Lizard ($4651)
- extend the Corroboree Frog captive breeding program at Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve to outdoor enclosures that replicate the frogs’ natural habitat ($20,000).
Projects are aligned with the ACT Government’s action plans for threatened species and ecological communities, and with the Australian Government’s Threatened Species Strategy.
Grassland Earless Dragon
The Grassland Earless Dragon is a small lizard with short robust limbs. It is further characterised by three longitudinal stripes on its stout body. The main threats to the Grassland Earless Dragon are:
- loss of habitat
- degradation of habitat
- increased fragmentation of habitat
- impacts of predators
- direct human disturbance.
The ACT has a Grassland Earless Dragon Captive Breeding Program.
Corroboree Frogs are striking black and yellow striped frogs that are found only in higher elevation areas of the ACT and NSW, where they breed in Sphagnum moss bogs and other wet seepage areas.
There are two species of Corroboree Frog:
- Northern Corroboree Frogs are found in Namadgi National Park in the ACT and in nearby NSW
- Southern Corroboree Frogs are found in Kosciusko National Park (NSW)
Both species were once abundant but are now endangered, having undergone severe declines over the past 20 years due to the introduced pathogen, the Amphibian Chytrid Fungus, which has affected frogs worldwide.
In the ACT it is estimated that only a handful of Corroboree Frogs remain in the wild from original populations.
In 2003 the ACT Government established a captive breeding colony of Northern Corroboree Frogs at Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve from eggs collected in the wild. There are currently around 600 frogs in captivity in shipping containers at Tidbinbilla. A key aim of the program is to release Corroboree Frogs back to the wild to re-establish breeding populations and to allow for natural disease resistance to Chytrid Fungus.