Yarra Ranges Council aims to install several nest boxes and hollows across six locations in the municipality as a part of storm recovery works.
Fallen logs and stumps collected during the storm clean-up are being repurposed in bushland sites to create habitat for local fauna including the threatened Powerful Owl. It’s estimated that over 25,000 trees fell within the Yarra Ranges municipality during the 2021 June storm.
Some of those trees housed valuable tree hollows. Tree hollows are an increasingly scarce and a valuable resource, as they provide habitat and protection for many native species.
The Council has endeavoured to replace these important natural structures and Yarra Ranges Council Biodiversity Rehabilitation Coordinator Scott Allen said the program would target over 30 species that rely on hollows for breeding and nesting.
“We share the sadness of our community over the loss of our trees in the June storm and we’ve been working to find a way that efficiently replaces some of the important natural hollows that are used by so many of our locally native species,” said Scott.
“Large hollows suitable for owls or possums can take hundreds of years to form so it’s vital that we replace what once was there.”
Some of the priority species that will benefit from this will include various microbat species, Yellow Bellied Glider, Sugar Glider, several small to medium owl species such as the Sooty Owl and the Boobook Owl. There will also be specialised hollow logs that will cater specifically for the threatened Powerful Owl.
Yarra Ranges Council has partnered with The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) to deliver this project.
Council Biodiversity Rehabilitation Coordinator Scott Allen said, “DELWP has been instrumental in providing detailed species information and assistance on best hollow practices to support species in the region”.
“We’re all on board and working together to ensure that this project is delivered and monitored into the future and that the right species utilise these hollows,” said Scott.
“DELWP and Council are committed to restoring those hollow bearing trees that were lost from the storm and responsibly recreating essential habitat for some of our key and iconic wildlife.”