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Two big wins for wildlife

Posted: 2pm 22 Apr 2021

The future of koalas, kangaroos and echidnas around Clear Mountain is looking brighter thanks to a new land buyback program initiated by Moreton Bay Regional Council.

Under the annual $1.8 million Land Buyback Program for Environmental Purposes, Council has started acquiring strategic land parcels to conserve the region’s ecological communities and protect native habitat and wildlife from development.

A 4.18ha property at Clear Mountain is the first to be bought as part of the scheme and will link Eatons Crossing Road Reserve, Edward D Alison Park, and the greater wildlife corridor along Eaton’s Crossing Rd.

Mayor Peter Flannery says it is a great start to the program.

Protecting the future

“As our region grows, we must increase our investment in protecting wildlife corridors, habitat and greenspace; not just for koalas but also for our other 51 rare and threatened fauna species, for generations to come,” Mayor Flannery says.

“I hope this new Council initiative helps reassure locals that environment preservation is a key consideration of Council amongst all our work like infrastructure delivery, waste collection, and road construction.

“This complements the work we do in the green infrastructure space, which will see more than $1.5 million invested this financial year into fauna crossings and underpasses, protective fencing along roads and wildlife signage for drivers.”

Mayor Flannery says wildlife is at risk of being hit by cars in areas where rope bridges and fauna fencing can’t be installed.

“So please slow down when you’re driving through bushland areas.”

Ecological value

Councillor Cath Tonks (Div 9) says she hopes to see a lot more land preserved for conservation.

“Residents and drivers travelling along Eatons Crossing Rd regularly report seeing wildlife like koalas, kangaroos and echidnas, so this particular parcel of land holds significant ecological values nestled between our suburbs and the bush,” Cr Tonks says.

“It’s also been identified that through restoration and rehabilitation we can improve the riparian values of Cedar Creek, which borders the property.

“Just as Council is planning to provide new housing for our growing human population, we are also planning to protect the habitats our wildlife call home so that their population can grow too.”

Clear Mountain couple Jan and Dennis with Moreton Bay Regional Council Mayor Peter Flannery

Generous donation

The purchase follows the announcement this week that a small but vital piece of Moreton Bay Region will be protected as wildlife habitat forever, thanks to the generosity of a Clear Mountain couple.

Jan and Dennis donated 6ha of bushland on their private property to be managed in perpetuity under a Voluntary Conservation Agreement (VCA) with Council.

“We love the bush and we’ve always tried to be sustainable as well,” Jan says.

“I’m a virologist but I’ve always been interested in nature and botany and things like that, so I think it’s important to actually record what’s here – even this year I’ve just found new plant species that I’ve never seen before.

“I’m proud that this property will forever act as a corridor joining the conservation park over the road and the Council land behind us.”

Co-existing with nature

Her husband Dennis says he’d like to thank Council for getting the ball rolling on the agreement for the sake of the local wildlife.

“There are definitely koalas, and we’ve had echidnas walk past our backdoor,” Dennis says.

“I just caught and relocated a fawn-footed melomys this morning that’s been decimating my pumpkins and sweet potato vines, so we live in semi-harmony with the locals.”

Dennis says it’s distressing when land is cleared without thought for native species and the couple is pleased to play a part in helping.

“Because of the pressure for population in this part of the world it means there’s a lot of development going on, and we’re just trying to form some kind of buffer between that and the wildlife and trees.”

It is the 15th VCA signed in Moreton Bay Regional Council’s history.

Wildlife refuge

Mayor Peter Flannery says the land has a spectacular array of flora and fauna - ideal habitat for native wildlife including koalas, possums and many bird species.

“Thanks to Jan and Dennis we’re able to safeguard this wildlife refuge from future development, which is essential in the Clear Mountain area as the connector between our hinterland and suburbs like Eatons Hill.

“I think this is a fantastic initiative and I hope more locals will take a leaf out of Jan and Dennis’s book, especially if you have land available on your property that you think can play a part in keeping Moreton Bay Region green.”

In exchange, Council provides VCA landowners with rates relief and grants to help maintain the land for many years to come.

Find out more about the land buyback scheme here.

Learn more about conservation agreements and other ways to protect native flora and fauna here.

Read more local news here.

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