Creating Backyard Biodiversity

Backyard Biodiversity is a program which aims to increase native habitat by encouraging Clarence Valley residents to make their backyards wildlife friendly. The program has emerged out of the aims of Council’s Biodiversity Management Strategy, which promotes improving and creating habitat for a wide variety of our local native species.

Wildlife friendly backyards

Biodiversity is the variety of all forms of life, including plants and animals. The Clarence Valley has undergone many changes that have impacted both the native flora and fauna. Much of our area was described in the late 1800’s as richly forested land.  There are now only small pockets of forest left on the floodplain, and in other areas the remaining bushland can be subject to weed infestations, inappropriate burning and clearing which has further impacted our wildlife through habitat loss.

You can make a difference to wildlife by planting native plants in your backyard and helping to bring back habitat by including the following elements in your backyard;

native plantPlant Local Native Species
A garden with local native plants can provide important habitat for a range of our local fauna. There are links here to guide on what are the best plants for your area. 

Local native species are adapted to our climatic conditions and will perform the best in your yard. Seedlings can be purchased from the Council’s Community nursery at Townsend where local seeds are sourced and grown.
native plantBirdbaths and Food Trees
Birdbaths are an easy and simple way that you can attract birds to your backyard. Ensure your birdbath is located in an area where birds feel safe to use it – under a tree, or hanging from a branch, and away from predators. Read more here
FrogFrog ponds
Frog ponds can be all sorts of sizes and shapes and you can grow native aquatic plants too that will provide shelter for frogs and insects. They can also provide water for birds.  Read more
Lizard lounges
Most backyards will already have lizard lounges in the form of wood piles, hollow logs, a pile of branches and bark, tall grasses and ferns.  If you’d like to encourage more lizards, then using upturned pots, pieces of pipe, piles of rocks and planting some tall native grasses will encourage local skinks, blue tongued lizards, and land mullets.
hollowHollows
Tree hollows are naturally occurring holes in either live or dead trees, which over 40% of Australian mammals and 90% of parrots need for nesting. However on average, a eucalypt takes over 150 years to naturally form a hollow. Nest boxes are a manufactured artificial tree hollow that can be placed in suitable trees, and can be made in various sizes to suit parrots, gliders, bats, owls and possums.   Read more
paddock treesPaddock Trees
Paddock trees and small patches of native vegetation are an important feature of the Clarence landscape and play a major role in the productivity of farms and are crucial to wildlife.  Read more
gardenSmall gardens and balconies
Not everyone has the space to plant trees, but a variety of native plants can be kept in pots and provide food and shelter for small animals. Look on these lists for small shrubs and plants that can be adapted to life in a pot here.
catsPets
Cats and dogs are natural hunters – please be pet responsible. Many native animals including Koalas can fall victim to dog attacks when they are on the ground, moving between favourite trees.  Keep your dog from roaming and use a lead when out for a walk. Cats predate on birds and lizards and other wildlife. Put a bell on your cat, keep them indoors at night and keep bird baths away from cats.  Koalas in the Clarence Valley Factsheet.
weedsControlling weeds in your garden
Weeds are plants growing in the wrong place. Controlling weeds in your backyard helps stop the spread to native bushland and helps garden plants thrive. There are many weeds that can simply be pulled out and disposed of in the red bin. Some persistent weeds might require the use of herbicides.  Visit the Department of Primary Industry’s weed page.  

Using less or no pesticides is ideal for native wildlife. Poisoned rats and mice can become easy prey for owls which then can ingest the poisons by eating rats that have swallowed baits.
property on the waterYour property on the water
Living on the river gives extra opportunities to help native species. Riparian (riverside) vegetation provides important shelter, food and roosting sites for birds and mammals. Many of the plants that occur here also protect the banks from eroding, improve water quality and shade the river aiding fish. There is a list of the riparian plants that are suitable for your area here.

Seen anything interesting at your place? Call Council on 6643 0200.

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