Dog detectives and searches for wildlife using water-borne DNA are among the 18 projects that will share a total of $366,149 from Coffs Harbour City Council’s Environmental Levy (EL) funds for 2021/2022.
The Jaliigirr Biodiversity Alliance was successful in gaining funding for its ‘Surveying Platypus Populations in the Orara Valley Using eDNA Technology’ project which will use innovative science and citizen scientists to investigate the impacts of bushfires and other threats on platypus populations in the Orara Valley. Using pre-fire data, Council says around 30 sites will be studied through water sampling to search for platypus DNA in local waterways to help establish the status of the local platypus population.
The Alliance is also behind a plan to use specially trained Canine Scent Detectives to find koala scats for future genetic analysis in the Sawtell-Toormina-Boambee area. The project will undertake a detailed survey of koala activity in an area known to support an important, but fragmented koala population. The resulting DNA profiling and population analysis can then be used to establish the comparative health and genetic diversity of these populations.
Other successful organisations included the Sandy Beach Action Group, Coffs Harbour and District Local Aboriginal Land Council, Nana Glen Landcare Group, Woolgoolga Lake Working Group, Southern Cross University, Coffs Harbour Regional Landcare, Envite, University of New England and Jetty Dunecare.
Council introduced the Environmental Levy (EL) as a means of encouraging local residents and organisations to undertake environmental management and improvement works. The levy currently raises around $1.3 million a year at an average cost of $44 per ratepayer, of which approximately $300,000 is available to community groups.
“As always it’s fantastic to see a hugely diverse range of projects being put forward by groups that are passionate about their work and our environment,” said Coffs Harbour Mayor, Denise Knight.