Peninsula’s endangered bushland ‘of importance’

The Peninsula’s endangered Umina Coastal Sandplain Woodland (UCSW) is rated as an area of importance in the Central Coast Council’s draft Biodiversity Strategy 2019.
The entire area of the woodlands is reduced to less than 14 ha, the report said.
Originally it was the vegetation on the coastal sandplains at Umina, Woy Woy and Pearl Beach on the dunes and swales and their associated swamps and creeks.
“Historically, this flatter area has been drained and used for housing,” the report said.
“The UCSW’s entire area is reduced to less than 14 ha and, as such, is one of the smallest threatened ecological communities.”
The Central Coast Council strategy sets out a five-year program to guide conservation on the coast with a number of specific actions and targets, one of them being to protect biodiversity through land use planning.
It proposes establishing a Conservation Fund and the sale of biodiversity credits to help buy lands and to dispose of lands with no biodiversity or recreational value.
It plans to provide by the end of 2020-21 guidance for biodiversity management on private land with published guidelines for land owners.
Australian Conservation Foundation Central Coast branch president Mr Mark Ellis said inclusion of the Umina Coastal Sandplain Woodland in the strategy justified again the importance of this endangered ecological community which had been ignored by the State Government when it approved the Hillview St nursing home at Woy Woy earlier this year.
The site contains one of the last significant remnants of the woodlands.
The Office of Environment and Heritage has identified nine conservation management actions that need to be undertaken on the site to ensure the population of threatened species is sustained, saying threats included disturbance from recreational users, illegal dumping, inappropriate fire regime, slashing and spraying,and mixed weeds.
But all possible actions are only at the “proposed” stage.
Other sites of the woodlands are Woy Woy station, Umina Oval and Pearl Beach but the website site shows all management of these sites are only “proposed”.
The draft biodiversity strategy shows that across the Central Coast, excluding the national parks and state forests, 20 locally significant plant community types have less than 100 hectares remaining, the majority of them threatened ecological communities with a high conservation priority.
“If global trends are any indication of how local conditions may change, the Central Coast region can expect higher temperatures, an increase in bushfires, more intense rainfall contributing to more floods, more droughts, and sea level rise,’’ the report stated.
“Expected impacts on local plant and animal species include lowered populations, a synchronous flowering and emergence of pollinators, local extinctions and the spread of new diseases and weeds.”
It names the hooded plover and curlew sandpiper among the local endangered wildlife.
The report shows the extent of council’s Coastal Open Space (in 2017 it was 2597 hectares) and the land proposed for acquisition.
Central Coast Council voted at its August 26 meeting to put the draft out for public comment for a period of at least 60 days.

Central Coast Council agenda, 26 Aug 2019
Website, 28 Aug, 2019
Biodiversity Strategy 2019, Central Coast Council
Website, 28 Aug 2019
UCSW, Office of Environment and Heritage

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