Greening Thomatis Creek

February 10, 2020

Three years of tree-planting at Holloways Beach is reaping rewards for volunteers.

Wildlife is returning to a stretch of eroded land where almost 200 people have helped plant thousands of trees. The land is beside Thomatis Creek about 2km from the ocean – a stretch that was once cleared but later left unused and partly swept away by floods.

Terrain NRM’s Rowan Shee said many of the trees were now three metres tall.

“We’re working to reconnect two areas of beach forest and mangroves so that there is an unbroken wildlife corridor, more fish habitat and a creek bank that’ll stand up to floods better,’’ Mr Shee said.

Three hundred seedlings were planted at a community event on the weekend, bringing the total to almost 3,500 for the site. Terrain NRM has worked with Holloways Beach Community Garden volunteers, cane farmer Mark Savina, Cairns Regional Council, Dawul Wuru Rangers, Queensland Corrective Services, Holloways Beach Coastcare and people from all over Cairns since securing funding from the Queensland Government’s Department of Agriculture and Fisheries for the project.

Holloways Beach Community Garden’s Cameron Blackley said woodland birds were among the species returning to the patch.

“Years ago, this was like a section of desert and the lowland forest around it was a dumping ground,’’ he said. “We wanted to change that. Now we’re looking at trees growing into a forest and it’s a beautiful thing to see.”

“The whole area is an incredible opportunity to re-establish a lowland environment. It’s a hotbed of mixed species, a lot of them rare.”

Mr Shee said floods swept away early mangrove plantings.

“It has been a challenging project but we’re slowly getting there,’’ he said. “We want to get to the point where the creek moves naturally through the landscape without cutting out big chunks in the wet season.”