Habitat haven for the Green and Golden Bell Frog

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Green and Golden Bell Frogs have a peculiar habit of appearing in unlikely areas and disturbed habitats, from landfill and brick pits to golf courses. Once an extremely common species across all of Sydney, the Green and Golden Bell Frog now has only about 40 populations left, suffering an ongoing decline and shrinking of their distribution since the 1970’s. Loss of ideal habitat, and pressures from predators including native waterbirds, introduced Mosquito Fish and feral cats, are thought to be contributing factors behind their occupancy of degraded and unlikely habitats. This presents an urgent need for the creation and restoration of high quality, predator free habitat for the species.

img_0600Dragonfly Environmental have been working with the Sydney Olympic Park Authority to manage existing ponds to bring back much needed habitat for the Green and Golden Bell Frog. Kronos Hill is a wildlife corridor extending for 1.5km atop an area of remediated landfill adjacent to Haslam’s Creek. Currently there is a range of restoration projects being undertaken at the site, including reestablishment of mid-storey shrubs and thinning of trees to restore habitat for small forest birds, and the retention of log piles and dead wood habitat for reptiles and insects. The site’s ponds, which have existed for some time, were suffering from sedimentation whilst lacking appropriate shelter to protect struggling local Green and Gold Bell Frogs from predators.

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Dragonfly Environmental started by draining existing water from the site’s ponds, to eradicate the introduced Mosquito Fish, which decimate Green and Golden Bell Frog tadpoles, and which have been the primary hindrance to local breeding populations. Our team then removed thick accumulated sediment, making way for the installation of impermeable pond liners, facilitating improved water retention and conforming to their preference for habitat disturbance. Frog-friendly netting was then installed above the ponds to reduce predator access to breeding frogs and tadpoles. Due to the species apparent preference for ephemeral ponds and fluctuating water levels, the ponds are currently being filled naturally with rainwater and runoff over time to entice the species to disperse to the site.

Whilst there is a long way to go towards the full recovery of the Green and Golden Bell Frog, our project aimed to create a breeding haven, free from the pressures of predators and degraded habitat. Our efforts will hopefully result in unhindered breeding and facilitate increased dispersal of the species to other potential habitat sites in the locality. We are looking forward to sharing progress updates as the ponds mature on our Facebook Page.

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If you have a wetland in need of care or management, Dragonfly Environmental are the people to do it and are happy to send out expert staff to carry out an initial assessment free of charge. Call us on (02) 9918 4486 or email contact@dragonflyenv.com.au to find out more.