Green and golden opportunity

Article image - Green and golden opportunity A Green and Golden Bell Frog; image by Helen White.

Strathfield Municipal Council in Sydney is undertaking a coordinated effort to protect local Bell Frogs.

While best known for being the environmental mascot of the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games, the Green and Golden Bell Frog (Litoria aurea) is now the focus of cooperation between Strathfield Municipal Council and the New South Wales Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH).

The Council is a neighbour of Sydney Olympic Park, which is home to a relatively large Bell Frog population (although that group is geographically and genetically isolated from the frog population along the Cooks River in South Strathfield).

Development pressure from sale of open space areas along the Cooks River has increasingly limited breeding habitat and dispersal opportunities available for the Green and Golden Bell Frog. Securing the future of the species in Strathfield is dependent on enhancing remaining green corridors to facilitate its breeding and dispersal opportunities. It is also dependent on educating the general public, especially those whose properties are close to open space areas where the frog species occur or may disperse to. Council began approaching OEH for assistance.

A community engagement event was held in May at an area of open space along the Cooks River. Staff from Council and OEH attended along with expert educators from the Frog and Tadpole Study Group and a wildlife display contractor. A Bushcare event was held simultaneously, attended by students from a local Buddhist Monastery.

Although relatively small, the letterbox drop advertising the event brought in many of the local residents that Council was especially interested in speaking with. These residents provided valuable perspectives. Plans for enhancing existing Bell Frog habitat were highlighted and positively received.

Council would not have had the resources to engage and educate the community to the level that has occurred without financial and expert assistance from OEH. Based on the recent community engagement event, the general public are keen to work with Council in ensuring the future of the Green and Golden Bell Frog along the Cooks River.

Ongoing habitat enhancement and community engagement events will be essential for the future of this natural icon in Australia’s largest city.