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pygmyHelping the Mountain Pygmy-possum at Blue Cow

Perisher has contributed in excess of $500,000 to a special Environmental Monitoring Fund, which is administered by the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS). This fund is used for activities such as monitoring and evaluating any long term trends in the Mountain Pygmy-possum population and the effects, if any, of ski area activity on the possum and its habitat.

In the early 1990's Mountain Pygmy-possum crossings were installed on Zali's and Side Saddle ski runs at Blue Cow. The tunnels are rock filled excavations that traverse the ski runs, providing natural ground cover and so allowing small mammals 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 that cross 'Zali's' were cleaned, improved and sections replaced during the 2004 / 2005 summer and a new crossing was installed underneath the Blue Cow road in March 2008. 

Additional fauna crossings have also been installed in other areas of the Resort, including Mount Perisher, Happy Valley and Goat’s Gully.  These crossings provide habitat and protection for small animals in those areas, including native rats and lizards.

The area of prime Mountain Pygmy-possum habitat at Blue Cow was closed to all ski and snowboard traffic in 2002. During the 2004 / 2005 summer Perisher staff assisted the NPWS in the planting of Mountain Plum Pine seedlings in the Blue Cow Mountain Pygmy-possum habitat area. The Mountain Plum Pine at Blue Cow is a staple food source for the Mountain Pygmy-possum and it was badly impacted by the bushfires in 2003. The newly planted seedlings are progressing well and more were planted over the 2006 / 2007 summer.

Planting of native trees and shrubs

Over the last six years over 8000 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,the Tube Town snow-tubing park on Mt Piper’s Ridge and on Mt Perisher. 1000 snow gums were also planted near the Blue Cow T-bar in Guthega after the 2003 bushfires. The monitoring of these plantings over the last five summers has shown a very good survival rate. This can be attributed to the healthy tube stock supplied by the nursery and also the post planting care the trees and shrubs have received. The ability to water the plants in summer through the use of the snowmaking system has helped the plants establish and also survive the dry periods. It is hoped that these plantings will help to establish vegetation corridors so that native fauna can move around in relative safety and also minimise the visual impacts of exotic vegetation species that are used to rapidly stabilise the ground after slope construction works.

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.

Vegetation monitoring

Scientific monitoring of vegetation across the resort has occurred regularly each summer over the past five years. Vegetation plots and transects have been established to monitor a variety of factors including the effectiveness of established and emerging rehabilitation techniques, the rate of natural regeneration of previously disturbed areas and the impacts of new development activities. Seven of these sites are in Perisher, with three at Front Valley and four at Tube Town, with the remaining sites being located around the Ridge Chair area at Blue Cow. Monitoring is ongoing and is undertaken by a specialist plant ecologist.

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