Green and Golden Bell Frogs are an elusive bunch but they’re starting to make themselves known in places around the Illawarra they haven’t been spotted in years.
A group from Conservation Volunteers recently found the threatened species hiding among reeds at the Coomaditchy Lagoon in Port Kembla. It’s the first record of the amphibian in that lagoon in more than 15 years, according to the NSW BioNet wildlife atlas.
“When the team leader called this in, my hair stood on end, “ CA regional manager Adam Woods said. “Frogs are a good indicator of environmental health, so the more people we can educate about our frogs and the tools they can use to provide data, the more secure the future of this species will be.”
Mr Woods said it is not unusual to find threatened or endangered species of frogs around the Illawarra with several developments creating offset ponds to ensure the population of frogs aren’t depleted. He also noted many in the public had misconceptions about the infamous frog, especially due to its history with development.
BlueScope has a purpose-built facility on the outskirts of their Port Kembla steelworks plant specifically to look after the Green and Golden Bell Frogs, and reported a “boom” in the population around March 2017.
The discovery of threatened or endangered species may hinder a development, but a Wollongong City Council spokesman said it was not common and usually there were remedies able to be put in place to help frogs and people co-exist.
All development applications are required to be accompanied by a Statement of Environmental Effects which will be reviewed by council.
The spokesman said if someone was wanting to build a home on land where the Green and Golden Bell Frog was found they may need to consider design to avoid direct impact to the frog and their potential habitat.
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The green and golden bell frog first gained notoriety in the late 1990s as its discovery at Homebush halted construction of the Olympic tennis courts, which were then built in another location.
In early 2012, then Gilmore MP Joanna Gash suggested the frog be removed from the threatened species list because its presence had halted the Princes Hwy upgrade at South Nowra.
Volunteers will continue to survey the lagoon each Wednesday in February and March while habitat restoration in the area will take place over the next 12 months. Mr Woods said more education sessions for the general public are on the cards in coming months.