Works begin to ensure future of Mulgoa's platypus population

Mulgoa Landcare is hoping to ensure a future for the local platypus population. Picture: Trevor McKinnon
Mulgoa Landcare is hoping to ensure a future for the local platypus population. Picture: Trevor McKinnon

Regeneration and restoration works are under way along Schoolhouse and Mulgoa creeks to ensure the future of a recently discovered population of platypi.

The aim of the efforts of Mulgoa Landcare is to lessen the impact of the Black Summer fires on the rare species and securing the area from future fire impacts.

Water quality will also be monitored and nearby communities will be educated in protecting the species.

The group has received $55,000 to complete the works from the Landcare Led Bushfire Recovery Grants package.

Mulgoa Landcare co-ordinator Lisa Harrold said that there had been anecdotal stories of platypus living in the creeks, but until recently, no evidence.

This evidence was certified by applying Environment DNA sampling. Indications if platypus presence was found along Mulgoa, Schoolhouse and Jerry's creeks.

Mulgoa Creek. Picture: Supplied

Mulgoa Creek. Picture: Supplied

Ms Harrold said that drought and bushfire had led to a large scale impact on platypi populations.

"Platypus are often referred to as 'indicator species' - a bit like the 'canary in the coalmine' and urban sprawl has significantly impacted waterways and the health of platypus habitat," she said.

"A recent study indicates there has been an 18 per cent decline in populations of the iconic species in fire affected areas in the nine months following the bushfires. Add the additional stress of ash in waterways followed by pollutants and sediment in the flooding, and platypi have had a great deal to contend with.

"Platypi are hardy creatures, but their food source is not. Water invertbrates are incredibly sensitive to water quality so the work being done by Mulgoa Landcare and our greater network and funded by the Landcare Led Bushfire Recovery Grants is crucial in supporting their habitat and survival."