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Waterwatch to the rescue
Written by Administrator   
Thursday, 07 December 2006
THE much-needed expansion of Caloundra Road has begun.  But four lanes of 100km per hour traffic are not fauna-friendly.

The Department of Main Roads is attempting to minimise the environmental damage it is causing by involving a local community group.

The Mooloolah River Waterwatch and Landcare group (MRWL) is working closely with the department of Main Roads and the developer FRH, conserving what they can.

Jan Kesby, co-ordinator of MRWL working to preserve nature

Well before the first bulldozer was on site, Jan Kesby, co-ordinator of MRWL was lighting fires.    Many Australian native plant species need fire to produce seed.

Last year, the areas that have now been cleared were burnt to encourage the plants to seed well.    Jan and her crew of trusty volunteers collected seed from at least 100 different species, including the endangered Christmas Bells.   “We’re keeping the seed source alive,” said Jan.   “We’ve collected about 50 grass trees as well.    They are now potted up in the MRWL nursery.    We’ll put these back onto the site when the roads finished.”

Plants are not the only things being rescued by MRWL.    A population of a threatened species of frog, the wallum froglet, was found in the middle of the new road.    Big slabs of soil containing the frogs are being dug up and transported to the nursery.

“We’ll keep the soil moist and shaded and then hopefully, we’ll be able to put it back once construction is finished.    We wanted the frogs to be kept in their habitat.    The soil slabs also have a number of small, delicate wallum plants and more seed,” said Jan.

Big slabs of soil containing the [threatened] frogs are being dug up and transported to the nursery.

A fauna underpass will be constructed to allow the safe passage of echidnas, frogs, reptiles and small mammals.    A family of ducks have already used it to cross the road.

A multi-purpose overpass will also be constructed near Sattler’s Road.    This will allow pedestrians, bike riders and horses to cross safely.    The native fauna has also not been forgotten and the overpass will include a vegetated strip with poles and ropes for the possums, koalas and gliders.    The MRWL will assist Main Roads in revegetating the areas leading up to and away from the overpass.    Both the underpass and overpass will be fenced to funnel wildlife to the safe crossing points.

Main Roads is keen to reuse and salvage whatever plants they can from the construction site.    A number of cabbage tree palms will be relocated and use to landscape a round a bout on the connection road.

The rescue operation will continue for some time yet.    It’s anticipated that the soil slabs (with frogs included) and some of the rescued plants will be put back into the area surrounding the road development mid next year.

Last Updated ( Thursday, 07 December 2006 )
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