The NSW Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) received $118,677 through Round 1 of the Port Kembla Community Investment Fund program to implement the Big Island Little Penguin, Shearwater and Petrel Remediation Project between 2017 and 2019.
The project, run by the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) and Berrim Nuru Aboriginal Environmental Services, rehabilitated a 1.2 hectare site and included restoring native vegetation and rehabilitating the native nesting habitat for Little Penguins, shearwaters and petrels. These birds nest on the Five Islands Nature Reserve throughout the year, but unfortunately weed species such as kikuyu grass and coastal morning glory interfere with underground burrows used by the seabirds. In some cases, the weeds entangle the birds and prevent them from leaving their burrows.
The immediate results of the project have been impressive, most notably with the return of the White-faced storm petrel on Big Island after a 56-year breeding absence. The number of Shearwater and Little Penguin burrows has also increased significantly. It is expected that these results will continue to improve in the coming months and years.