BlueScope Steel: A new habitat for endangered frog species in Australia
The Green and Golden Bell Frog (Litoria aurea) was once one of the most common frogs, found in vast numbers along the east coast of Australia. However, it is now an endangered species.
The construction of a dedicated pond habitat area at the BlueScope Steel Port Kembla facility represents one of the most successful attempts within the Illawarra region to conserve and expand the population of this endangered species.
Two ponds were installed for the frogs at the Port Kembla Steelworks site in 2008. The pond area has helped to increase the population of the Green and Gold Bell Frog by creating a habitat linkage between two existing breeding sites.
Sustainable design and construction practices were used during the installation of the ponds, to limit the carbon footprint:
- Soil excavated from the area was used as a protective embankment around the ponds;
- Two large rain water tanks were placed, to ensure a continuous supply of water for both ponds and the surrounding indigenous vegetation;
- Granulated slag and old sleepers from the Port Kembla Steelworks’ internal rail network were reused as retaining walls;
- Mulch from discarded wooden pallets and leaf material were used as groundcover; and
- Rocks from the local quarry were used as foundations for the pathways and access routes.
The construction of the habitat has been a success. Two key performance indicators were achieved within a few months of the ponds being installed:
- Unaided colonisation of the pond habitat area by the Green and Gold Bell Frog species; and
- Survival of the tadpoles and successful metamorphosis to the terrestrial phase.
Education, training and awareness programmes ensure that all employees can recognise and respond to sightings to ensure the conservation and preservation of this endangered species.
Last updated: March 2012