BETTER OUTLOOK: Projects on nature refuges around the south-east’s dams have resulted in 86ha of land planted for koalas and 170ha of weeds controlled in high priority koala habitat.
BETTER OUTLOOK: Projects on nature refuges around the south-east’s dams have resulted in 86ha of land planted for koalas and 170ha of weeds controlled in high priority koala habitat. Neville Cattell

Landowners on dams work to protect koala habitat

HUNDREDS of hectares of koala habitat are now better protected thanks to enhancement projects recently completed around the region's dams.

Projects jointly funded by Seqwater and the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (EHP) within nature refuges at Mount Crosby Weir, North Pine Dam and Leslie Harrison Dam have resulted in 86ha of land planted for koalas and 170ha of weeds controlled in high priority koala habitat.

About 40ha of land at the Mount Crosby Weir Nature Refuge was revegetated with koala habitat trees.

Weeds close to the revegetation areas were also treated under the project.

Seqwater CEO eter Dennis said the organisation joined forces with EHP in 2011 to improve koala habitat on Seqwater land.

"Nature Refuge Conservation Agreements place a formal covenant over land to protect biological diversity. Seqwater has six nature refuges across south-east Queensland spanning almost 10,000ha," Mr Dennis said.

"The agreements give landholders the means to protect the conservation values of the land. The agreements also provide protection against a future land use which may compromise the drinking water storage buffer zone, which protects our precious water reserves."

Mr Dennis said the projects had been delivered by contractors along with operational staff.

Environment Minister Steven Miles said nature refuges were a great example of the conservation outcomes that could be achieved when the State Government partnered with landholders to protect important ecosystems and native species on private lands in Queensland.

"Collaborating with private organisations and individuals is vital to enhance and enlarge Queensland's protected area estate," he said.

The Queensland Government has provided $385,043 of funding for these projects.

"In partnership, we've revegetated 86ha of koala habitat, we've restored a further 170ha of koala habitat through targeted weed control, and we've eradicated over 100 wild dogs and foxes from within the nature refuges," Dr Miles said.

He said since 1994, 497 nature refuge agreements had been established, protecting more than 4 million hectares of high value conservation land.

The Australian Koala Foundation estimates there are likely to be less than 80,000 koalas remaining in Australia today and it could be as low as 43,000.

In May Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk extended the vulnerable listing for koalas statewide.

Under Ipswich City Council planning strategies, 28% of the city is protected green space.

Vegetation retention is also a high priority for the council with developers required to compensate for lost mature native vegetation with a one for one tree replacement policy.

However critics have slammed the idea with developers clear-felling to build infrastructure rather than retaining established trees where possible.



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