WITH the koala recently listed as a threatened species, Ballina Shire Council could soon join the growing list of councils preparing a Koala Plan of Management.
The Office of Environment and Heritage has identified the shire as a “priority area” for koala conservation.
Up to $50,000 will be provided to the council for koala population surveys and habitat mapping in the 2012/13 financial year, with an extra $30,000 in 2013/14 for further work on a comprehensive koala plan of management.
A report from the council’s strategic and community services group explained it was advantageous to have a plan on a “holistic basis”.
If there is no plan, koala management is dealt with in an “ad hoc” way in response to development applications.
A koala plan of management also “provides an opportunity for collation of enhanced mapping and data in relation to ecological attributes in the shire and a variety of community education outcomes”, the report states.
It would contain information about koala populations and habitat, threats and management measures for consideration in the development assessment process.
There is little information about koala populations in the Ballina area.
It is hoped the mapping phase would also feed into a broader biodiversity study for the shire.
Mapping and population analysis could take up to nine months, with the plan of management process expected to take an additional 12 months.
Councillors will consider the preparation of a koala management plan at Thursday’s meeting.