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Environmental Values:

The proposed Gai-mariagal Aboriginal-owned National Park will protect threatened species and eight ecological communities in the area some of which are not currently protected within the NSW Park system. The area contains high species richness with at least at least 163 fauna and 517 flora species recorded locally.

The land provides connectivity for wildlife from Garigal National Park West and Narrabeen Lagoon through to Wheeler Creek Valley via Oxford Falls Valley. Connectivity like this will become increasingly important as the rate of climate change increases. Connectivity of suitable habitat is an important ecological function for urbanised flora and fauna. Large areas of habitat provide this direct connect and reduce the need for species to cross dangerous barriers i.e. major roads and urban areas in search of resources such as food, water, shelter and prospective mates.
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The proposed park will provide protection for the catchments of creeks that flow into Narrabeen Lagoon which is Sydney’s largest lagoon and is recognised as a regional resource.

Increases in the population of Sydney and in disposable income lead to increased pressure from various forms of recreation – some of which are destructive in bushland. The area needs to be well managed to protect biodiversity.

The area is also known to contain Matters of National Environmental Significance (EPBC Act 1999) including; 7 places on the Register of the National Estate (RNE): 4 Natural Areas (Belrose Grevillea caleyi Site, Deep and Middle Creeks Area, Mona Vale Road Bushland Corridor and Ku-ring-gai Chase NP), one Indigenous Area (Wheeler Creek Valley Area) and 2 Historic Areas (Narrabeen Lagoon Catchment, Upper Middle Harbour Area).

There is a World Heritage Property in the vicinity (Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park 1 km to the west 3km to the north) and a Commonwealth listed Threatened Ecological Community in the vicinity (Western Sydney Dry Rainforest and moist Woodland on Shale - Critically Endangered ecological Community).

Geology

This portion of the Hornsby Plateau contains upland sites - remnant plateau tops of generally low relief; headwater valleys with dish shaped profiles; major valley sides – the dominant landform - featuring low cliff lines and intervening linear to concave-convex hillslopes; and valley bottoms, which feature either a bedrock dominated stream channel or a valley fill of deposited sediments.

On the Hornsby Plateau, the ecological significance of podzol (i.e. iron pan layer under leached white sand) soils is the distinct differences in plant associations that occur in otherwise uniform settings, according to the presence or absence of a podzol. Species such as Christmas Bush (Ceratopetulum gummiferum) and Grass trees (Xanthorrhoea arborea) are two examples of species that favour podzol soils, while Scribbly Gum (Eucalyptus haemastoma) may grow in proximity to but rarely if ever on podzol soils (Buchanan and Humphreys, 1980).

A further important characteristic of the sandstone is its linear joint structures - breaks in the body of rock which may form along planes of weakness either inherited from the original sedimentary materials or resulting from the process of lithification. These joints may be orientated laterally, vertically or at some intermediate angle. Joints which penetrate some metres to tens of metres through the sandstone strata are particularly important in the long term processes of mechanical weathering and drainage development described in the following sections.

Some minor occurrences of basaltic igneous rock have been identified in the Middle Creek catchment in the form of small dyke features. This rock, in stark contrast to the Hawkesbury sedimentary unit, contains no quartz mineral and weathers readily at the outcropping surface to yield clay materials – some of which had economic value during Aboriginal occupation of the area and close to which ceremonial sites were established.

Commonwealth-listed Threatened Species
There are records of 39 Commonwealth-listed Threatened Species (6 Birds, 2 fish, 5 frogs, 8 Mammals, 1 reptile and 16 plants) and 13 migratory species (all birds) and 14 listed Marine Species (All birds) in the vicinity. (Commonwealth Department of Sustainability, August 2013)
There are records of at least 20 Threatened fauna state-listed species and 3 Threatened flora state-listed species from within the area.

State listed Threatened fauna
State-listed Threatened fauna species recorded include small mammals such as the Eastern Pygmy Possum, Southern Brown Bandicoot, Spotted-tailed Quoll, Little – and Eastern Bentwing Bat, Eastern Freetail Bat, Southern Myotis, Grey-headed Flying Fox, greater Broad-nosed Bat and last but not least the iconic Koala with one very recent sighting near Forestway (roadkill).
Threatened birds such as the Powerful Owl, Glossy Black Cockatoo, Black Bittern, Varied Sittella, Scarlet Robin, the Eastern Osprey and Swift Parrot, Threatened amphibians such as the Giant Burrowing Frog and the Red-crowned Toadlet and the Rosenberg’s Goanna, a Threatened reptile which is a recurrent resident of the proposed park area.

State-listed Threatened flora
State-listed Threatened flora species include the Hairy Geebung, Camfield’s Stringybark and Caley’s Grevillea, which are confirmed from recent sightings within the area. Other listed Threatened species which are known to occur in the vicinity are the Black-eyed Susan, Netted Bottle Brush and the Bauer’s Midge Orchid.

Locally Significant Native Species
Furthermore enigmatic and well-known marsupials as the Swamp Wallaby and Short-beaked Echidnas are residents within the proposed area. Known populations of Sugar Glider, Feather-tailed Glider – both known to be susceptible to habitat fragmentation - are breeding in the boundaries of the proposed National Park.

Locally significant bird species such as the Pheasant Coucal, Painted Button Quail and the Rock Warbler are sharing the unique habitat of Red Hill with the Brush Bronzewing, the Bar-shouldered Dove and the Tawny-crowned Honeyeater.

Water Dragon
Eastern Water Dragon

Osprey
Osprey

Powerful Owl
Powerful Owl

Echidna
Puggle - juvenile echidna

Heath Monitor
Heath Monitor

Lace Monitor
Lace Monitor

Callistemon
Callistemon citrinus

Styphelia
Styphelia triflora
Wattle
Acacia longifolia
Grevillea
Grevillea speciosa
Flannel Flower
Actinotus helianthii
Callistemon
Callistemon rigidis
Eucalyptus
Eucalyptus camfieldii
Grevillea
Grevillea sericea
Epacris
Epacris longiflora

Alliance for Gai-mariagal National Park
P.O. Box 845, Narrabeen, NSW, 2101, Australia

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