Airport protects Marcoola Bushland Reserve native species
  • Thursday 28 October 2010

Native plants are being reintroduced to parts of the Marcoola Bushland Reserve north of the Sunshine Coast Airport as part of a three year weed management program.

Sunshine Coast Airport general manager Peter Pallot said a large amount of woody and grass weeds, including groundsel and lantana, have been removed from the site as part of a planned strategy to achieve a balance between the future environmental management of the area and removal of any hazards to aviation that the large vegetation posed.

"Council is required to manage the wetland area under direction of the owner, the Department of Environment & Resource Management, (DERM), and also to maintain clearances for aircraft using Sunshine Coast Airport," Peter Pallot said.

"In addition, part of the Marcoola Bushland Reserve at the northern end of the airport runway, needs to meet stringent guidelines for airspace clearances," he said.

"Since May 2010, through a series of on site meetings and ongoing correspondence with several representatives from the local Sunshine Coast DERM office, we’ve discussed alternatives, strategies, industry best practice and future rehabilitation and environmental management of the area," he said.

"The outcome was a long term Vegetation Management strategy which reduced the amount of future clearing and ensured a very large amount of weed management in the area to remove such noxious weeds like lantana that were heavily present and threatening to overgrow the current native vegetation, and the rapidly growing Melaleuca trees which caused the highest risk."

"The revegetation has involved removal of ‘not of concern’ vegetation to help restore, maintain and enhance the biodiversity and environmental values of the area."

"DERM has demanded a ratio of 2:1 or two plants revegetated for every one removed; however, the Sunshine Coast Airport is committed to a ratio of 3:1 to ensure that replanted species successfully repopulate the area and create stable ecosystems."

Division 8 councillor Debbie Blumel said the higher ratio means we increase both the available habitat and buffering from David Low Way by rehabilitating a previously very degraded area with plantings of sedges, reeds, ferns, heaths and wetland species."

"Instead, council are planting a low growing Wallum Heath species that grow naturally in the area as the site in question is actually listed as National Estate Wallum and is a part of the Noosa-Maroochy Wallum Area," Cr Blumel said.

"This will also provide the ideal habitat for a number of endangered Queensland fauna including the Ground Parrot, the Wallum rocketfrog, Wallum Sedgefrog and Wallum froglet," she said.

"The program will encourage the wallum heath and wetland species to establish and thrive, while ensuring that tropical weeds and lantana do not reinvade.

"Council environmental officers have been directly involved in overseeing the clearing and revegetation works.