Noosa koala habitat restoration project. A gift for all of us.

“Are we getting another Sub-division on Yurol Forest Drive?”

Locals and visitors to Noosa’s wondrous hinterland have often posed this question to our staff in the HinterHub, opposite the pub in Pomona.

I am very pleased to say, “No”!

A bit of background is in order.

The Yurol and Ringtail State Forests have historically been used for softwood pine and hardwood plantations for the last 30-50 years.

In 2016, through the initiative of Noosa Parks Association, discussions started with Noosa Council, Queensland Department of Environment & Science [DES] and Hancock Plantations [HQ] Queensland for the buyout of the harvest lease. The MOU and purchase arrangements were enacted in 2019.

This means that 2,400 hectares of land, which was under lease to HQ plantations, will come across to National Park in stages over the next decade. Some of the land is remnant forest requiring no significant on-ground restoration, other areas (approximately 1100ha) have had or are having their last plantation harvest and will require revegetation.

The total cost of this ‘buy out’ of the H Q lease was $3.6 million, split three ways.  The State pays a third, Noosa Council a third, and Noosa Parks Association one third. This means that our ratepayers have been able to secure this land, in perpetuity, for just $1.2 million of Noosa Council funds. Readers will be aware that with the recent Covid pandemic, prices everywhere have soared and particularly in Noosa.  This investment in the future of our shire, its wildlife and our kids is a very sound one indeed.

Big moves have been at play behind the scenes during last year with new partner interest from Greenfleet Australia to assist in funding the entire remaining 1000 ha of forest requiring revegetation through voluntary carbon contributions. As the area is State forest and a carbon abatement agreement needed to be made on title, an Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA) with the Kabi Kabi First Nations People was required before proceeding. In March this year the ILUA came to fruition and other agreements such as the Carbon Abatement Agreement and Land Access Agreement followed over several parcels of land.

As part of the agreements, Noosa Landcare will be hosting two Kabi Kabi specified Cert III Trainees per year to assist our crews undertake the entire 1000 hectares of restoration work.

The acquisition of this land creates a wildlife corridor between the hinterland and the coast. It is ‘blank canvas’ that may allow an expansion of the Noosa Trail Network, with Indigenous input into design and also a way to enhance habitat for our threatened species, including the Koala.

Noosa Landcare came into being in 1990 as a result of local farmers wanting information about weed management, general ‘Landcare’ issues and a deep concern about the planting of monocultures of softwoods and Gympie messmate in Yurol Forest.

So, here we are, 30 years further on, and those very forests that concerned our founders, are being rehabilitated into a sanctuary for many species, not just the iconic koala.

More information on this exciting project as it develops!


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