* Brandy Hill Quarry

C'wealth Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment
Port Stephens LGA

In response to community concerns, we were contracted by the Commonwealth Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environmment (DAWE) to undertake an independent assessment of the Brandy Hill quarry site between Seaham and Woodville to the west of Raymond Terrace. Of concern was a proposal to clear ~ 50 ha of Eucalypt woodland and the potential impact that this action may have on any resident koalas living in the area to be cleared. Recent sightings of koalas on lands close to the quarry property, including mothers with back young,  had heightened community concerns, more so given the impacts of the 2019/20 bushfire season and associated loss of koalas from other areas in NSW.

To do this work we implemented a review of historical koala records within a 10 km radius of the quarry site, implemented Spot Assessment Technique (SAT) surveys at 350 m across the area proposed to be cleared, and at 500 m intervals elsewhere, and undertook extensive spotlighting searches across the site. While we were able to confirm areas of generational persistance to the immediate south and west of the quarry property (and also at Dun's Creek and Glen Oak to the north) and did find two significant koala activity cells in the south of the quarry property, the greater proportion of the site was unequivocally the subject of low use by koalas at this point in time, including that area proposed for clearing.

Our work also identified significant differences in habitat quality between higher and lower elevations of the site, and some of our recommendations arising from our study focused on the importance of securing this higher quality habitat area to consolidate east-west connectivity. A copy of our final report can be downloaded from: