Helping the Mountain Pygmy-possum at Blue Cow
The Mountain Pygmy-possum (MPP) is listed as an endangered species under the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Act. There is a known population of the MPP in the Blue Cow area of the resort. As a good custodian Perisher makes efforts for the conservation of this species.
Since the early 1990’s, numerous fauna crossing have been installed across Perisher Ski Resort, including in the areas adjacent to the MPP habitat. The tunnels are rock filled excavations or tunnels that traverse ski runs and roads, providing natural ground cover and allowing small animals such as possums, rats and reptiles to cross open areas, safe from the threat of feral predators. The tunnels also help to maintain a space under the snow so that the animals are able to move around as needed. Some of the tunnels are cleaned and improved as time goes on, to ensure they remain open and effective. Perisher now has over 15 of these crossings throughout the Resort, in areas including Happy Valley, Goats Gully and Lower Rollercoaster.
Additional MPP habitat was created as a rehabilitation offset for the construction of the Freedom Quad chair at Guthega. Excess rock from slopeworks was used to create habitat and improve connectivity of the area, and hundreds of the plants used in the revegetation works will provide food for the MPP.
The area of prime MPP habitat at Blue Cow, previously known as ‘Rough Rider’ has been closed to all ski and snowboard traffic and grooming vehicles since 2002. This is to minimise potential disturbance to hibernating possums during the winter months. The Mountain Plum Pine at Blue Cow is a staple food source for the MPP and it was badly impacted by the bushfires in 2003. Following the bushfires Perisher staff assisted the NPWS in the planting of Mountain Plum Pine seedlings in the Blue Cow MPP habitat area. The plants are progressing well and more have been planted in recent summer months. 2013 monitoring results from NPWS saw the highest number of MPP since the 2003 bushfire, with 16 female and 12 male MPP caught and tagged. This is attributed to the revegetation work undertaken and trapping of feral predators.
Planting of native trees and shrubs
Over the last three summers over 7000 native shrubs, trees and grasses have been planted throughout the resort. The plantings have been predominately in the vicinity of the Ridge Quad chairlift area, Boot Hill, Mt Perisher, Centre Valley and Guthega Freedom chairlift area. The recent wet summers and the ability to water the plants through the use of the snowmaking system have helped the plants establish. It is hoped that these plantings will help to develop vegetation corridors so that native fauna can move around in relative safety and also minimise the visual impacts of exotic grass species that are used to rapidly stabilise the ground after slope construction works.
Revegetation work is monitored for years afterwards to ensure it is successful. New techniques are trialled and monitored in partnership with NPWS. Recently a degraded bog was rehabilitated using excavated sods from works in the Freedom Quad Chair area. It was the first time that something of this scale had been attempted and to date the work has been largely successful.
Perisher works with specialist alpine nurseries to ensure the plants used for rehabilitation within the resort area are the best quality, and local to the area. Nurseries source native plant cuttings and seed for propagation from the Perisher area, to ensure the correct species and genetic material are being maintained in the local vegetation.
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