The Glenbog Guidelines and Education

The burrow in the picture above was originally within a planned dump point. At this stage in time, the dump point was successfully moved and the burrow was not disturbed. The left picture below was successfully saved when the bulldozers stopped near the markers. In the right picture below, the road was planned above the burrow within the tree clump. Instead the road was made around the clump of trees and again, the burrow was successfully saved.

The NSW Forestry Corporation’s planners, managers, roaders, ecologists etc visited our Sanctuary for a couple of Wombat Awareness Days where we had the opportunity to educate the wombat’s behaviour, social structure and how and why better protect burrows during logging. Associate Professor Julie Old from Western Sydney University also attended one of the days to discuss the use of possible combining WomSat GPS with the Forestry’s GPS system in the future.

The Guidelines have since been used in all Northern sections of Glenbog State Forest, Mogo State Forest and Corunna State Forest. When logging is planned in the Northern section of Glenbog, the planner is now kindly marking burrows, sending GPS and maps to us and we can check before and after with so far satisfactory results.

The guidelines have also been successfully used in other land clearing areas such as Lake Wallace and we are currently working with a large private company about to clear approximately 400 acres. Our aim is for the guidelines to be used wherever wombat burrows and land disturbance are combined.

THE GUIDLINES

Guidance material for management of wombat burrows within Glenbog State Forest, north of the Snowy Mountains Hwy, Eden Management Area.

Before a new road or dump is constructed a survey of the road prism or dump must be conducted to detect wombat burrows. Surveys for wombat burrows are to include:

1. - A search for wombat burrows within a proposed road prism or dump location >48hrs prior to construction.

a. - The search must be conducted on foot.

b. - The search area must be documented by recording the: observer, date, time, start and end coordinates, locations of all burrows observed and level of activity for each.

2. - Where a wombat burrow is detected, a visual assessment of the burrow must be made by trained FCNSW staff to determine if the burrow is active.

a. - If the assessment determines a burrow not to be active following both an external assessment for recent use and an internal search using headlamp or torch, the assessor must record the determination and the burrow location (GPS point and notes). Field marking of inactive burrows is not required. If all burrows within the assessed road prism or dump are not active approval may be given to construct the road or dump within 12 hrs of assessment.

b. - If burrow activity is confirmed or cannot be determined proceed to step 3.

3. - If a visual assessment determines a burrow to be active (ie: clear evidence of current use) OR cannot be determined:

a. - The location of the burrow is to be clearly marked with pink paint/tape.

b. - Find an alternate location for the proposed road or dump and repeat steps 1 and 2. The PA must contact the Planner if an alternate road alignment is greater than 50m from the original alignment as an amendment to the harvest plan is required.

Where an alternate road or dump alignment is not practicable, proceed to step 4.

4. - >48 hours before construction determine the occupancy of a burrow by:

a. - Taking a photo and GPS location of the burrow entrance (photo must capture at least 3m around burrow entrance). The burrow must be marked with pink flagging tape/paint until it’s determined to be inactive (refer to step 2).

b. - Use a torch or headlamp to search the burrow.

i. - If the entire burrow can be seen and it is not occupied go to step 2. If the entire burrow cannot be seen, proceed to 4c.

c. - Place a remote camera aimed at the burrow entrance >48 hrs prior to construction and rake ground material away from the burrow entrance. Less than 12 hrs prior to road or dump construction, assess camera captures and soil at burrow entrance for activity.

i. - If the camera and soil does not confirm wombat use of the burrow, the burrow is not active (refer to step 2).

ii. If the camera does capture a wombat entering or exiting the burrow as supported by prints, the burrow is occupied. Liaise with Wildlife Rescue Far South Coast and the Wombat Protection Society immediately to establish the most suitable method to assess:

1) - Whether the burrow has multiple entrances otherwise ensuring its safe exit if disturbed; and if not

2) - The most appropriate method to ensure safe removal of the wombat.

A single entrance burrow must be confirmed unoccupied before the PA can give approval to commence construction.