Meet the landholders transforming their land into a koala oasis

Healthy Land and Water Team Leader Dennis Gannaway and Project Officer Tom Lally with landholder Sam.

 

Passionate landholders Sam and Shane are dedicating significant time and effort into transforming their block at Purga into an oasis for native species of plants and animals, including threatened local koala populations.

A koala spotted on Sam and Shane’s property.

Sam and Shane purchased their 28 hectare property in late 2016. The property had not been maintained for 40 years, was overgrazed and in some parts was being overrun by Cats claw creeper and other invasive weeds. They set about removing cattle which were spreading weeds and causing damage to the creek, removing weeds, and establishing and implementing a property management plan.

Not long after they purchased the land, they discovered koalas living on the property. This discovery completely changed Sam and Shane’s mindset and plan for the property, which was initially going to be a hobby farm. They created a new property management plan and allocated about 4.5 hectares to preserving creek and restoring koala habitat through regeneration and revegetation.

Part of the Land for Wildlife network for several years, Sam and Shane have both always had an interest in nature conservation. As a result of their hard work, Sam and Shane have already seen an increase of koalas, native grass species and other wildlife. Go to the end of the article to learn more about the work Sam and Shane have been doing on their property.

The property has been selected for works as part of Healthy Land and Water’s koala protection project, funded through the Australian Government’s Environment Restoration Fund. Healthy Land and Water’s Land Restoration team is currently mapping out on ground activities in collaboration with Sam and Shane to support them in their efforts. These activities will include removing weeds and erecting fencing to exclude cattle from sensitive koala habitat.

 

 


Pictured: Landholder Sam with Healthy Land and Water Team Leader Dennis Gannaway.

Healthy Land and Water lending a helping hand

Sam and Shane’s property is one of many in the area where Healthy Land and Water will be undertaking koala conservation efforts, thanks to recently announced funding.

Koala detection dog Danny in action.

Healthy Land and Water team members Dennis Gannaway and Tom Lally recently visited Sam and Shane’s property with koala detection dog Danny, to discuss and plan project activities, identify where the koalas live on the property and conduct a habitat condition survey which will provide baseline data to inform the scope of work.

This additional funding builds on Healthy Land and Water’s Protecting Koalas project which is focused on protecting, restoring and increasing priority koala habitat, building collaboration on koala conservation and improving understanding of South East Queensland koalas.

A series of community fire and property management awareness workshops will also be delivered as part of the program – keep an eye on our website and social media for more information.

Why is this work important?

Koalas are vulnerable to extinction, and koala populations in South East Queensland are at elevated risk for a variety of reasons.

A growing human population has led to large-scale clearing of better-quality Koala habitats with many Koalas now struggling within smaller, fragmented patches of poorer-quality forest. This, combined with decline in habitat condition through drought, fire and climate change and disease, vehicle strike, dog attack, and reduced genetic diversity, have culminated in causing further, substantial decline in koala populations.

The project is designed to conserve koalas in South East Queensland through activities which will protect and restore key koala habitat and build knowledge of koala numbers and distribution.

Some of the initiatives Sam and Shane have implemented include:

• Fire management using mosaic burning methodologies.
• Weed management including the removal of Cats Claw Creeper along the creek line.
• Soil improvement using a keyline plough and contours.
• Planting of over 700 trees and native shrubs to regenerate the property, including koala fodder.
• Desilting the dam and planting to establish habitat for frogs, turtles and birds.
• Predator management – Working with Ipswich City Council and neighbours on wild dog and fox management.
• Implementation of contours to assist with maintaining the moisture in the soil and setting up fire, wind and sound barriers throughout the property. They are currently planting and finding reduction in watering of trees near contours due to soil moisture being contained.
• Working with like-minded people such as other Land for Wildlife community members.
• Establishment of water points – Off stream.
• Fencing – Including koala friendly fencing on the koala conservation area.

 

This project is being delivered in partnership with Seqwater, landholders in the Land for Wildlife program around Grandchester and landholders in the Flinders Peak area.

This project is supported by Healthy Land and Water through funding from the Australian Government.

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