From weeds to wildlife…

June 25, 2020

Yellow-bellied gliders and native frogs are on the wish-list for a degraded creek reserve near Ravenshoe that is undergoing a transformation.

Terrain NRM and the Tablelands Regional Council have joined forces to restore land at South Cedar Creek by removing guinea grass and lantana, and planting hundreds of native trees.

More than 1000 trees went into the ground recently, after spraying and brush-cutting marked the start of a four-year restoration program.

Terrain NRM’s Tony O’Malley said seven hectares was being targeted as part of a bigger project “Native Vegetation: Many Hands Make Light Work” which is funded by Terrain through the Queensland Government’s Natural Resources Investment Program, to improve the resilience of big patches of native vegetation in partnership with local councils.

Tablelands Regional Council’s Kylie Freebody said the land was in Marshall Park reserve near the top of Tully Falls Rd, and the focus was on restoring wet sclerophyll forest.

“This country is really important for quite a few species that are listed as ‘vulnerable’, as well as three endangered eco-systems,’’ she said. “We’re looking to help species like the yellow-bellied glider, greater glider, magnificent brood frog, Lumholtz’s tree kangaroo and tapping green-eyed frog.

“This land is considered an important linkage for biodiversity conservation but over the years it has been taken over by invasive weeds.”

Lantana is listed as a Weed of National Significance and guinea grass is a transformer weed which out-competes native vegetation.

Mr O’Malley said weed removal was the focus for five hectares at South Cedar Creek, and revegetation work would benefit another two hectares. He said local councils, the Far North Queensland Region of Councils and Terrain NRM had worked together to choose priority areas for the work.

Ms Freebody is looking forward to measuring the changes.

“There will be more tree-planting next wet season, for now we’re in the maintenance stage,’’ she said. “By removing the invasive weed species, it gives native understorey herb and shrub species the chance to regenerate but you’ve really got to keep on top of it.

“It has been good to see the community getting behind this project too. A landholder across the creek has also cleaned up the weeds in the creek bank and allowed us to plant trees and we’re hoping to speak with other private landholders about planting trees.”