$1m koala haven now a reality
A MAJOR $1 million conservation project that will create a vital link for local koala populations and other native wildlife has been completed near Ipswich.
About 26 hectares of cleared grazing farmland was rehabilitated and 12,500 koala habitat trees planted as a part of the Grandchester Koala Offset Project.
The project in the Mt Grandchester Conservation Estate was delivered in partnership between Powerlink Queensland, Healthy Land and Water and the Ipswich City Council.
The native trees first planted in 2013 had a 98 per cent survival rate and an average height of five metres, with some reaching eight metres tall.
Healthy Land and Water chief executive officer Julie McLellan said it was one of the best re-vegetation sites the organisation had ever seen in south east Queensland, even despite challenging conditions.
"Over the past five years, the trees have endured very challenging weather conditions - large periods of drought conditions interspersed with patches of extreme wet weather," she said.
"Despite these difficult conditions, the trees have thrived as a result of our dedicated project team using effective planting strategies and best-practice maintenance techniques to ensure strong survival and growth rates."
Ipswich City Council Works, Parks and Recreation chief operating officer Bryce Hines said council would continue to maintain the plantings into the future by managing fire risk, invasive weeds and feral posts on an ongoing basis.
"The Mt Grandchester Conservation Estate is part of the highly valued Little Liverpool Range environmental corridor in the Ipswich area," he said.
"These plantings have created a vital link for active koala populations and other local native wildlife throughout this important corridor.
"As these new trees further integrate with existing natural bushland, we look forward to soon seeing koalas call this site home."
Powerlink Chief Executive Merryn York said the rehabilitation on the site was a commitment the company made as part of recent project works in the region.
"This project has delivered significant environmental and biodiversity outcomes, as well as offering broader community, recreational and social benefits for the Ipswich area and beyond," she said.
"We take our environmental commitments seriously so it's been really encouraging to see this important conservation site transformed in just a few years - and the exceptional tree growth rates show no signs of slowing down.
"This initiative provides ongoing benefits to strengthen koala habitat connectivity and protect the environmental values of this green corridor."