Powerlink launches conservation project in Ipswich region

A conservation project that will see 11,500 koala habitat trees planted and established at Grandchester, near Ipswich, was launched in December.

The Grandchester Koala Offset Project, being delivered in partnership between Powerlink Queensland, Ipswich City Council and SEQ Catchments, will establish and maintain 20ha of koala food and shelter trees in the Grandchester Conservation Estate.

Powerlink chief executive Merryn York said, in the long term, the project would deliver a larger social and recreational area for people living in the area, as well as strong environmental returns.

“The protection, revegetation and rehabilitation of the Grandchester site will help us meet our obligations to offset impacts on koala habitat and other biodiversity values as a result of building our essential transmission lines and substations in South-East Queensland,” Ms York said.

“We will also work closely with our partners in this project to manage key aspects such as fire risk, weeds and pests to ensure native regeneration in this area can also occur.”

An environmental offset is an action taken to counterbalance environmental impacts that result from an activity or a development.

To mark the project’s commencement, a family-friendly event to promote koala conservation was held at the Grandchester Railway Station.

“Today’s [December 8, 2013] activities saw the continuation of SEQ Catchments, Powerlink, Ipswich City Council, Ipswich Koala Protection Society and West Moreton Landcare working together as they have done for many years to enhance the environment in South-East Queensland,” SEQ Catchments chief executive officer Simon Warner said.

“Our team will be using best-practice techniques to ensure strong survival and growth rates for the 11,500 trees to be established over the next five years.

“We will also be working hard to prevent and manage fire risk, invasive weeds and other pests that have the potential to suppress native regeneration if they’re not effectively controlled.”

Site preparations are currently under way at the reserve, with tree plantings expected to commence in early 2014, weather permitting.