CREATING CASSOWARY CORRIDORS
A EUBENANGEE EXPANSION…
14 DECEMBER 2020
Over 60,000 trees have been added to an internationally recognised coastal wetland near Innisfail – and the plan is to plant even more.
Eubenangee Swamp’s rehabilitation has been a 30-year project. The tallest trees have created a forest canopy while the smallest, planted just six months ago, extend the southern end of a rainforest corridor that will link the coast with mountain ranges on the Tablelands.
Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service ranger Chris Roach said the project was a labour of love for rangers and indigenous groups.
“The results are pretty amazing – it was hard work at the start but we’ve got a dedicated team and you can see the difference it’s making,” Mr Roach said. “With revegetation, weed and fire management and water restoration work, we’ve seen huge changes over a relatively short period of time.
“Areas that were infested with weeds, and silent to work in, are now alive with birds, frogs and all manner of wildlife. Ecosystems that were completely modified are now functioning again.”
Rangers are currently working with Terrain NRM and a group of indigenous people to plant native trees on what was previously marginal farming land. The land was added to the national park in 2003 to secure a wetland water source and to strengthen the link between coastal areas at Bramston Beach and Queensland’s tallest mountain Bartle Frere or Choorechillum.
Terrain NRM’s Tony O’Malley said trees had been planted along Casey Creek to widen the corridor as part of Terrain’s Building Rainforest Resilience project funded through the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program.
He said the funding enabled Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service to employ indigenous people for the next two years to work there on weed control and other revegetation maintenance.
“Planting the trees is the first step – keeping the weeds down so the trees can grow is an essential part of successful revegetation projects,’’ Mr O’Malley said.
“Eubenangee is considered a lowland climate refugia and the corridor is one of the Cassowary Recovery Team’s top priorities to conserve. It has been great to hear that a cassowary and his chicks have already been seen in the area.”
Mamu’s Steve Purcell said the project was bringing younger indigenous people “back on Country”.
“They look forward to going out there,’’ he said. “It gives them a sense of caring for their place and they see the value in that.
“It’s also rewarding for me. I remember this land as grazing country when I was a kid, with a couple of old swamp gums on it. Planting trees back on it is a good thing – for the environment and for cleaner waterways.”
About Eubenangee Swamp National Park:
The park now covers 1900 hectares. It is a destination for bird watchers, with more than 200 recorded bird species, a nursery for fish and crustaceans and an internationally significant coastal wetland conserving threatened vegetation communities. Some ecosystems in the park are no longer found anywhere else.
About the Rebuilding Rainforest Resilience Project:
This project is helping to reduce threats to rainforest species and ecological communities by improving priority areas through revegetation, weed management and habitat protection, and by finding solutions to cassowary deaths and injuries on roads. Terrain is working with community groups, traditional owners and government organisations on the project. This project is supported by Terrain NRM, through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program.
About indigenous involvement:
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations and businesses are encouraged to contact Terrain NRM about opportunities to provide goods and services. Terrain supports traditional owners to become members of threatened species recovery teams and to inform funding decisions for the Rebuilding Rainforest Resilience project.