The Central Coast has a vast extent of beautiful and unique bushland and wetland reserves, covering over 6000 ha. Bushland and wetland reserves are important for the conservation of native animals and plants, protection of catchments, the preservation of landscape character and cultural heritage, and are recognised for their significant value to community health and well-being. These areas also support and help conserve a diversity of local and regional wildlife.
Although access to some reserves and some parts of reserves is prohibited to allow native wildlife to remain undisturbed, Council has provided walking tracks, picnic areas, lookouts, and opportunities for mountain biking. These are areas that residents and visitors can experience and enjoy the natural environment.
When exploring our beautiful bushland and wetland reserves, we encourage our community and visitors to enjoy nature-based recreation with minimal impact. This will help preserve and protect our natural areas and wildlife for years to come.
Environmental Volunteer Program
Environmental volunteering provides a chance to get outdoors, be active and meet like-minded new friends. Our volunteers have an opportunity to work in a range of diverse and tranquil environments including bushland and wetland reserves, coastal areas and high conservation areas such as wildlife corridors and the Coastal Open Space System (COSS).
We tailor a program of activities to protect and restore habitat for native flora, fauna, fungi, threatened species and endangered communities whilst enhancing the natural values important to the local community.
Controlling pests and weeds
Pest animals and weeds can present a significant threat to our biosecurity, economy, environment, and community well-being. We educate and work with residents and landowners on weed management to help minimise the impacts to our environment. There are also programs in place to help control feral animals such as foxes and rabbits.
Coastal Open Space System (COSS)
Central Coast Council’s conservation reserve network includes the Coastal Open Space System (COSS), established in 1984 by the former Gosford City Council to achieve environmental and community benefits. The COSS consists of high-value natural reserves important for the conservation of native plant and animal life.
Many parts of the COSS are located on ridges, such as Kincumba Mountain (formerly known as the Avoca Ridge); Rumbalara-Katandra Ridge and The Ridgeway at Matcham, which means that headwaters of a number of local creeks and drainage lines are well vegetated protecting water quality and the biodiversity values of waterways.
The Council-owned reserves making up the COSS network are mostly classified as Community Land and categorised as Bushland as defined by the Local Government Act 1993. It is not however a legal mechanism for protecting and conserving land in the long term. The two main elements of the COSS were: a) public land managed for biodiversity, heritage, education and scientific endeavours and recreation in the natural setting; and b) private land identified for addition to the COSS through acquisition. Council currently manages over 2000 ha of COSS lands.
Protecting wildlife and your pets
To help protect our unique biodiversity within many natural reserves, including all COSS reserves, companion animals such as cats and dogs should be prevented from entering. Dogs are prohibited in all COSS reserves, dog walking is not allowed, even on a leash.
Within the Coastal Open Space System (COSS) and other priority natural reserves, Council also undertakes a fox control program which aims to reduce fox numbers. Predation by foxes is a threat to many native animals and is listed as a key threatening process under the NSW Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016. Fox control may be a risk to domestic animals. Pet owners are encouraged to keep their pets safe and prevent them from entering natural reserves.
For information on the beautiful locations to exercise your dog, see the dog parks, beaches and off leash locations page.
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