Caring for our Coastal Emus

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Calling all citizen scientists and wildlife enthusiasts! Clarence Valley Council is keen to learn about where you've seen coastal emus.

Local landholders, together with the Clarence Valley Council, the Office of Environment and Heritage and the Coastal Emu Alliance are working to protect coastal emus and their habitat. To do this, we are collecting data on where our emus are located via an online register. The emu register will let you pinpoint a sighting location on a map. You'll also be able to add more information about the sighting.

Furthermore, if you haven't seen an emu but still want to share your story - go for it! Head to the stories tab to begin telling us about your experiences.

Calling all citizen scientists and wildlife enthusiasts! Clarence Valley Council is keen to learn about where you've seen coastal emus.

Local landholders, together with the Clarence Valley Council, the Office of Environment and Heritage and the Coastal Emu Alliance are working to protect coastal emus and their habitat. To do this, we are collecting data on where our emus are located via an online register. The emu register will let you pinpoint a sighting location on a map. You'll also be able to add more information about the sighting.

Furthermore, if you haven't seen an emu but still want to share your story - go for it! Head to the stories tab to begin telling us about your experiences.

  • Seeking coastal emu scat for diet analysis

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    5 months ago

    Emu scat full of native seeds. Image: J. Keating.


    We are assisting researchers at Western Sydney University to collect scat samples from coastal emu, in an attempt to better understand the diet composition of the local endangered population. Members of the public are urged to keep an eye open for emu scats.

    Collection of material from the wild requires a scientific licence from the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service. There are several local representatives on the permit list. Clarence Valley Council Natural Resource Management Project Officer, Caragh Heenan, is listed on the permit and can take collection of...

    Emu scat full of native seeds. Image: J. Keating.


    We are assisting researchers at Western Sydney University to collect scat samples from coastal emu, in an attempt to better understand the diet composition of the local endangered population. Members of the public are urged to keep an eye open for emu scats.

    Collection of material from the wild requires a scientific licence from the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service. There are several local representatives on the permit list. Clarence Valley Council Natural Resource Management Project Officer, Caragh Heenan, is listed on the permit and can take collection of samples. When you observe the coastal emu scat, please contact Caragh Heenan for further processing at Caragh.Heenan@clarence.nsw.gov.au or phone (02) 6641 7357.

  • Emu-friendly fencing

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    5 months ago

    Barriers to movement are one of the main threats to the coastal emu. Image: S. Otton.


    Barriers to movement are one of the main threats to the coastal emu. Certain kinds of fencing or thick weed growth can limit the ability of the coastal emu to access food trees and habitat. Vehicle strike also increases in areas where fences are built close to the roadside, as emus cannot cross the road easily.

    We are urging locals to consider installing emu-friendly fencing to help protect the last 50 coastal emus remaining in this endangered population. Download our Emu-friendly Fencing pamphlet to...

    Barriers to movement are one of the main threats to the coastal emu. Image: S. Otton.


    Barriers to movement are one of the main threats to the coastal emu. Certain kinds of fencing or thick weed growth can limit the ability of the coastal emu to access food trees and habitat. Vehicle strike also increases in areas where fences are built close to the roadside, as emus cannot cross the road easily.

    We are urging locals to consider installing emu-friendly fencing to help protect the last 50 coastal emus remaining in this endangered population. Download our Emu-friendly Fencing pamphlet to learn more about how you can consider coastal emu in property planning.

  • Post-fire update | December 2019

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    6 months ago

    September 2019 saw wildfire spread across the range of the endangered population of coastal emu, but thankfully sightings have continued to be recorded, with 70 new records. Wildfire is a known threat to the coastal emu, by directly threatening the survival of individuals, and through loss of nesting habitat and food resources. Read more in our Post-fire Update.

    Image courtesy of S. Otton

    September 2019 saw wildfire spread across the range of the endangered population of coastal emu, but thankfully sightings have continued to be recorded, with 70 new records. Wildfire is a known threat to the coastal emu, by directly threatening the survival of individuals, and through loss of nesting habitat and food resources. Read more in our Post-fire Update.

    Image courtesy of S. Otton

  • Wrapping up the first year of Coastal Emus in the Clarence

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    6 months ago

    In October 2018 Clarence Valley Council launched an Environmental Trust funded project to engage the public about the plight of the endangered coastal emu population. View the summary of some of the methods of engagement and subsequent reach.

    In October 2018 Clarence Valley Council launched an Environmental Trust funded project to engage the public about the plight of the endangered coastal emu population. View the summary of some of the methods of engagement and subsequent reach.

  • Protection of endangered emus: a community responsibility, urges Council

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    8 months ago

    Clarence Valley Council is urging locals to consider installing emu-friendly fencing to help protect the last 50 coastal emus remaining in this endangered population.

    Clarence Valley Council’s natural resource management project officer, Dr Caragh Heenan, said “members of the public are encouraged to consider the needs of native wildlife when installing fencing and choose wildlife-friendly options. Many fences in critical coastal emu habitat around Shark Creek and Taloumbi were destroyed after the recent fires, so rethinking the fencing needs of the landholder could play a critical role in protecting the coastal emu.”

    “Barriers to movement are one of...

    Clarence Valley Council is urging locals to consider installing emu-friendly fencing to help protect the last 50 coastal emus remaining in this endangered population.

    Clarence Valley Council’s natural resource management project officer, Dr Caragh Heenan, said “members of the public are encouraged to consider the needs of native wildlife when installing fencing and choose wildlife-friendly options. Many fences in critical coastal emu habitat around Shark Creek and Taloumbi were destroyed after the recent fires, so rethinking the fencing needs of the landholder could play a critical role in protecting the coastal emu.”

    “Barriers to movement are one of the main threats to the coastal emu. Certain kinds of fencing or thick weed growth can limit the ability of the coastal emu to access food trees and habitat.”

    “Vehicle strike also increases in areas where fences are built close to the roadside, as emus cannot cross the road easily,” she said.

    “It’s natural to want to mark out a property boundary, but if a fence isn’t needed to keep stock contained, then having no fence at all will benefit this endangered coastal emu population,” explained Dr Heenan.

    “Emus can struggle to get through a four-strand, plain wire fence, but even changing to three strands can make a difference. Barbed wire, mesh, and electric fencing all have an impact on emus and so are discouraged.”

    “Allowing coastal emus to move freely in our landscape helps the birds and the native vegetation, as emus disperse seed and promote germination of many of the native shrubs, herbs and grasses in our region,” Dr Heenan said.

    With the odds against them, coastal emus need your help. Following the recent bushfires, we are now more interested than ever in receiving sightings of emus, particularly chicks. Sightings can be reported on the Coastal Emus in the Clarence register at www.clarenceconversations.com.au/coastalemus.


    Coastal emus are at risk of extinction, with fences acting as a barrier to movement and proving a threat to their survival. Image credit: S. Otton.

  • The devil is in the detail

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    8 months ago

    The location where an animal was sighted and the time that it was observed are the most important pieces of information for us when it comes to your data, and the subsequent use of it in directing management decisions within council and state government.

    Come on an investigative journey with me! Recently, a coastal emu male with four chicks was seen by 'Observer 1' at 7:15am and seen again over 600m away to the north by 'Observer 2' at approximately 8:00am. Obs1 thought they saw the emu heading south. Obs2 wasn't sure of the direction, but also couldn't confirm that...

    The location where an animal was sighted and the time that it was observed are the most important pieces of information for us when it comes to your data, and the subsequent use of it in directing management decisions within council and state government.

    Come on an investigative journey with me! Recently, a coastal emu male with four chicks was seen by 'Observer 1' at 7:15am and seen again over 600m away to the north by 'Observer 2' at approximately 8:00am. Obs1 thought they saw the emu heading south. Obs2 wasn't sure of the direction, but also couldn't confirm that their sighting was at 8am, or earlier. So we are left with a riddle:

    a) Was the emu seen by Obs1 actually heading north in order to have been seen half an hour later in that location? If this is the case, we would investigate searching for a nest to the south of Obs1's sighting as the origin of travel.

    b) Was the emu seen by Obs2 actually observed up to an hour earlier than they thought and heading south in order to have been seen by Obs2 in time? If this is the case, we would investigate searching for a nest to the north of Obs2's sighting as the origin of travel.

    The answer is, we just don't know! Further sightings could help us to identify their direction of travel and origin in order to assist us in managing the correct habitat. Inaccuracies increase the theoretical area for management and efforts are subsequently diluted over the increased area.

    Now imagine if a similar sighting was made inaccurately in terms of location - we would have an even larger search area to deal with!

    When it comes to data, the devil is in the detail and we need your help! One way around the problem is to use an App on your phone when taking photos.

    IPhone: Context Camera is available on the Apple iStore and can be used to record the latitude/longitude as decimal values inset on a photo, as well as a date/time stamp - two very handy bits of information!

    Android: GPS Map Camera is available on the Google Play Store and can be used to record the latitude/longitude as decimal values inset on a photo, as well as a time stamp - two very handy bits of information! Once opening the App, click on the second icon from the top left, scroll to half way down the list and select Map + Lat/Long. This will provide us with a visual and numerical representation of location as well as a date/time stamp!

    For example, the photo below was taken today, the 25th of September 2019, at 1:30PM of a few trees in the park across from the Council Rushforth Rd depot at 121 Tyson St, Sth Grafton (-29.716, 152.927). This image was taken with Address and Lat/Long, but the Map + Lat/Long is even better!



  • Coastal emu networks in a nut/egg-shell

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    about 1 year ago

    In December 2018, Clarence Valley Council hosted a coastal emu community information session, working alongside Office of Environment and Heritage to update Brooms Head and Gulmarrad residents on the importance of protecting this iconic species.

    One of the items that was raised as feedback was the need for more information on the groups that work on the coastal emu population and how they fit together. We've heard your cries and we are here to help!

    You can now download a list of the groups relating to coastal emu work in the Clarence Valley and Richmond Councils, as well as their...

    In December 2018, Clarence Valley Council hosted a coastal emu community information session, working alongside Office of Environment and Heritage to update Brooms Head and Gulmarrad residents on the importance of protecting this iconic species.

    One of the items that was raised as feedback was the need for more information on the groups that work on the coastal emu population and how they fit together. We've heard your cries and we are here to help!

    You can now download a list of the groups relating to coastal emu work in the Clarence Valley and Richmond Councils, as well as their contact details.

    Coastal emu networks fact sheet - Download

    Still unsure of who to contact? Get in touch with the team at Clarence Valley Council (Meet the Team) and we can help to direct your query to the right place!

  • Coastal emu cookies go down a treat!

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    over 1 year ago

    Clarence Valley Council and Office of Environment and Heritage ran a coastal emu community information session last month, which was well attended with over 50 local community members stopping by. Attendees indulged in both learning and coastal emu cookies.

    If you were there and are now having cookie withdrawals, I have good news for you! The recipe has been loaded onto the Caring for our Coastal Emus site and is available for download.

    Get baking and spread the word regarding coastal emu conservation with delicious baked goods.

    After all, threatened species conservation goals are easier to swallow with a full...

    Clarence Valley Council and Office of Environment and Heritage ran a coastal emu community information session last month, which was well attended with over 50 local community members stopping by. Attendees indulged in both learning and coastal emu cookies.

    If you were there and are now having cookie withdrawals, I have good news for you! The recipe has been loaded onto the Caring for our Coastal Emus site and is available for download.

    Get baking and spread the word regarding coastal emu conservation with delicious baked goods.

    After all, threatened species conservation goals are easier to swallow with a full stomach!



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  • Coastal emu community information session and barbeque

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    over 1 year ago


    Coastal emus (Dromaius novaehollandiae) are listed as endangered under the NSW Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016, with fewer than 50 individuals known to remain on the east coast. We need your help to protect these birds and their habitat.

    Clarence Valley Council and Office of Environment and Heritage are working in partnership with local landholders; North Coast Local Land Services; National Parks and Wildlife Service; and Gulmarrad Public School to host a coastal emu community information session. The information session will take place at Gulmarrad Public School on Monday the 17th December 2018 from 2.30 PM.

    ...


    Coastal emus (Dromaius novaehollandiae) are listed as endangered under the NSW Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016, with fewer than 50 individuals known to remain on the east coast. We need your help to protect these birds and their habitat.

    Clarence Valley Council and Office of Environment and Heritage are working in partnership with local landholders; North Coast Local Land Services; National Parks and Wildlife Service; and Gulmarrad Public School to host a coastal emu community information session. The information session will take place at Gulmarrad Public School on Monday the 17th December 2018 from 2.30 PM.

    The information session includes presentations regarding the threats to the coastal emu and management actions being taken by local organisations and community members. Come and learn how to participate as a citizen scientist and do your part to protect this iconic population.

    For more information regarding the information session or Coastal Emu Register, please contact Caragh Heenan (Project Officer NRM) from the Clarence Valley Council Natural Resource Management team via Caragh.Heenan@clarence.nsw.gov.au or (02) 6641 7357.

    Please RSVP by COB Tuesday 11th December 2018 via Eventbrite (www.eventbrite.com.au) and search for Event #53027565877.


  • The Coastal Emus in the Clarence Register and Story page goes live!

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    over 1 year ago

    Clarence Valley Council has been working with the Office and Environment and Heritage through a NSW Environment Trust grant to deliver improved outcomes for the endangered coastal emu in the Clarence. These emus are under threat of extinction, with fewer than 100 remaining.

    The funded work will include on-ground activities to address threats to emus, including fire, pest animals and barriers. Education material will be developed and disseminated to landowners in emu habitat to help protect the last remaining coastal emu population.

    As part of the program, we are launching the Coastal Emu Register! The register will enable us to...

    Clarence Valley Council has been working with the Office and Environment and Heritage through a NSW Environment Trust grant to deliver improved outcomes for the endangered coastal emu in the Clarence. These emus are under threat of extinction, with fewer than 100 remaining.

    The funded work will include on-ground activities to address threats to emus, including fire, pest animals and barriers. Education material will be developed and disseminated to landowners in emu habitat to help protect the last remaining coastal emu population.

    As part of the program, we are launching the Coastal Emu Register! The register will enable us to gather data on where emus are in the landscape to further learn about why emus prefer a particular habitat, why certain habitats contain more species than other similar habitats, and why they are declining from particular areas. By understanding their distribution, we can determine the conservation value of regional zones and further develop management guidelines for natural resources.

    So without further ado, I declare the Coastal Emus in the Clarence Register and Story page is going live! Get involved, register a sighting and leave your story!

    Happy sharing and thanks for being involved!