Bunyah Koala Project

Restoring habitat for a threatened Koala population

Bunyah Koala Project

Restoring habitat for a threatened Koala population

Community Participation -


The issue

Koalas were until recently very commonly heard and seen around private properties in Bunyah near the Wang Wauk State Forest, but dropped off dramatically after the drought and fires of 2019-20. Historical clearing has greatly decreased habitat in the Wang Wauk River catchment, and Chlamydia is compounding multiple stressors on the koala population.

The solution

A group of neighbouring landholders holding over 100ha of land formed an incorporated association called the Bunyah Restoration Project. Funding for habitat restoration was successfully sought from the Foundation for National Parks and Wildlife and then from the Australian Government’s Saving Koalas Fund Community Grants. Work is underway on riparian protection and revegetation in 160ha of cleared land sitting between the Wang Wauk State Forest and Myall valley. As well as protective fencing and mass plantings of native vegetation, the project will install arboreal drinker systems, and will include detailed monitoring of the local koala population using song metre arrays, spotlight surveys, drone sensing and chlamydia testing, in partnership with the University of Newcastle and MidCoast Council.

The impact

The project has already protected about 5km of riparian corridors.  A further 4km of riparian corridors will be protected over the next two years. Plans to plant 18,000 new trees is well underway with approximately 5,000 trees already in the ground. An extra 140ha of hill country has been approved for protection under a carbon farming arrangement. An open day in partnership with Karuah & Great Lakes Landcare attracted 28 enthusiastic participants, and further open days are planned for 2023-24.


Planting success is highly dependent on moisture conditions, plantings were only done at times when the soil in the planting area was properly wet from rainfall.

Exclusion of riparian areas from grazing encouraged some impressive natural regeneration.

Protective fencing for gullies and water reticulation for arboreal drinkers provided opportunities to improve grazing management over the property as a whole.

Key facts

  • 5km of riparian corridors already protected
  • Further 4 km of riparian corridors to be protected
  • 18,000 trees to be planted
  • 140ha of bush to be rewilded as carbon farming

Project Partners