Kristen beside stump of Indian Rubber Tree

This week we were honoured with a visit to Fox Gully Bushcare by Kristen Collie, Ranger at Daisy Hill Koala Centre.

Mt Gravatt Environment Group is now sharing data on Koala sightings with the Koala Centre with intitial data suggesting that our furry friends a quite active in surrounding streets.

One fact that really stands out is the number of Koalas injured by dog attacks in backyards or hit by cars on the roads.

The Koala Centre, which comes under the new Department of Environment and Heritage Protection, operates the Koala Ambulance during business hours. Rangers take injured and dead Koalas to the Moggill Koala Hospital and record details locations.

Brisbane City Council also operates a 24 Hour Animal Ambulancecall 07 3403 8888 for any sick or injured wildlife – even Blue Tongue Lizards.

Kristen was also impress by our community’s commitment to habitat restoration and restoring wildlife corridors. We visited Zone 13 where our Tuesday Bushcare group have removed a huge area of Fishbone/Sword Fern Nephrolepis cordifolia.

We then moved onto inspect the restoration where the wildlife corridor cuts through private properties to Klumpp Road. Standing beside the stump of the huge Indian Rubber Tree and seeing water trickling down the gully from the restored spring, really demonstrated the community commitment to our wildlife.

Our 2012 Community Gully Day is planned for Sunday August 5th and will concentrate on replanting the area cleaned up in 2011.


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Proposed Telstra Mobile Tower

Cr Krista Adams has received information that Telstra is proposing to build a mobile phone tower at the back corner of the Klumpp Road Park & Ride, right beside Mimosa Creek. Krista Adams letter

I have updated the Mimosa Creek Precinct Landscape Plan – ver 2.2 with proposed tower location and access. Based on current information this proposal will not impact on development the Firefly Gully wildlife corridor however the safety issues are less clear.

Telstra almost certainly complies with the safety standards set by Australian Radiation Protection & Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPNSA) however we have an opportunity to comment on the proposed tower installation in our community.

Please come to the Telstra Information Session:

Mt Gravatt Hawks Soccer Club  – Wednesday 18 April – 5pm to 7:30pm

The science on the long-term health effects of using mobiles and/or spending time near mobile phone towers is very unclear. As shown by these extracts from the ARPNSA fact sheets on electromagnetic energy (EME).

My personal experience is that these types of radiation are powerful and almost certainly dangerous. The issue is the level of exposure which is a combination of transmission power and distance from the source.

My first experience was in the early 70s when as a trainee PMG technician I visited the Bald Hills radio transmission tower. When you see a bare fluorescent bulb burst into light just by being held near the transmitter, then go into the field and see a two-inch spark drawn from the heavily insulated guy wires which is then tuned so you can listen to ABC radio.

400 metre coverage area

My latest experience is with my iPhone. I routinely carried my phone in my pocket with the touch screen against my leg. Over time I found that my skin in that area became hot even when the phone was removed. I have since changed how I carry my phone and the problem has disappeared.

Telstra mobile towers are low power however distance is still an important safety factor. The question is: What is a safe distance? EM Watch suggests a 400 metres as clear safe distance.

What do we want for our community? Come along on Wednesday and have your say.

Kerstie Olsson is Coordinator for our Mt Gravatt Summit Clean Up this year.

Kerstie is a busy professional however she and her children have enjoyed being part of the Mountain Clean Up in the past. So this year she has volunteered to take on coordination.

Why do families like Krestie’s keep coming back to pick-up other people’s rubbish? I suspect that like me they love being in the bush combined with the simple pleasure of working alongside a group of enthusiastic cheerful individuals and, of course, there are always the surprises. Just ask John McCrystal how he felt to look up and see a Koala walking down the road towards them.

Please join the team at Mt Gravatt Summit – 8am to 10am Sunday 5th March and perhaps have a coffee at Echidna Magic Cafe afterwards.

Register online – Mt Gravatt Summit – Clean Up Australia

Alternative Clean Up sites around the Mountain

If climbing a mountain seems too energetic for a Sunday morning you can join:

Galahs Eolophus roseicapillus - Mt Gravatt Showgrounds - Feb 2012

Lizi Drysdale at Mt Gravatt Showgrounds

2012 will see Mount Gravatt Girl Guides and Mt Gravatt Environment Group partnering to landscape the Guide Hut as the first step in our Pollinator Link between Mt Gravatt Reserve and Bulimba Creek. Pollinator Links will bring birds, butterflies and native bees back to suburban backyards.

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Brett Simpson at Roly Chapman Bushland

Roly Chapman Bushland is a beautiful peaceful habitat along the banks of Mimosa Creek. Be quite as you cross the pedestrian and you may see turtles sunning themselves on the rocks.

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Tailed Emperor Polyura sempronius - Acacia Way - Aug 2010

Melissa Harris at Toohey Forrest – Mt Gravatt Campus Residence

Griffith University Mt Gravatt Campus is an important part of the Mountain habitat and home to amazing butterflies like the Tailed Emperor.

(l-r) Michael Fox, Susan Jones, Hon Vicky Darling MP, Hon Phil Reeves MP

Wednesday 15th, Sue Jones and I joined Hon Vicky Darling MP, Minister for Environment and local member Hon Phil Reeves MP, Minister for Child Safety and Sport at Mt Gravatt Lookout to officially present the independent environmental report: Mimosa Creek Precinct – Flora, Fauna and Fauna Corridor AssessmentBiodiversity Assessment & Management Pty Ltd – Nov 2011.

Like many visitors Minister Darling was pleasantly surprised by Mt Gravatt Lookout,  the view over the CBD with the ranges beyond, Echidna Magic Cafe and picnic area all within a unique habitat which is home to Koalas, Echidnas and forty five butterfly species. With two hundred and sixty-three native plant species this unique 66 hectares has 10% of the species diversity of the whole 22.6 million hectares of Great Britain.

Koala Phascolarctos cinereus - Photographer Alan Moore

Delivering this report is another step in a process that started in July 1893 when, in response to community action, Mt Gravatt was declared an environmental reserve. Prior to that Mt Gravatt and surrounds were designated as a railway timber reserve.

In 2012 the problems are different but whole of community action is more vital than ever as we work to build long term security for this extraordinarily diverse habitat by engaging private property owners, community groups, university and school as well as local and state government departments in a collaborative effort to restore vital wildlife corridors. Therefore Mt Gravatt Environment Group initiated this report as an independent ecological assessment of the areas of Mt Gravatt Reserve and Roly Chapman Reserve covered by our Mimosa Creek Precinct Landscape Plan, including potential wildlife corridors links. The report was half-funded by an $8,000  State Government grant which was matched by in-kind support from researchers  Biodiversity Assessment & Management Pty Ltd.

Key findings

Fauna and Flora Habitat Values

  • Essential habitat for Koalas within Roly Chapman Reserve can be preserved and expanded create wildlife corridors through Vegetation Communities 9 and 6:
    • Endangered habitat -Vvegetation Community 7 (pink); and
    • Of Concern habitat – Vegetation Community 8 (orange).
  • Forty-seven terrestrial vertebrate species recorded during field survey – two are considered species of conservation significance:
    • Koala – Phascolarctos cinereus
    • Topknot Pigeon Lopholaimus antarcticus
  • Nine species of Endangered or Vulnerable plants

    Topknot Pidgeon Lopholaimus antarcticus

    can potentially be restored by habitat restoration allowing natural regeneration.

  • Essential habitat for Tusked Frog Adelotus brevis – bushland to west of and including Fox Gully
  • Three species of mosquito eating micro-bats identified during field research:
    • o   Gould’s Wattled Bat Chalinolobus gouldii
    • o   White-striped Freetail Bat Tadarida australis
    • Eastern Bentwing Bat Miniopterus oceanensis.

Recommendations – Movement Corridors

  • Ground fauna, particularly mammals, have suffered series declines.
  • Corridor A – greatest potential
    • 25 metre wide corridor connecting old farmland with Mimosa Creek across Klumpp Road
    • Significant increases in useable habitat possible:
      • 9 hectare addition with revegetation of farmland
      • 4 hectare addition with revegetation of grassed and weed-infested area along Mimosa Creek – Vegetation Community 6
  • Extensive revegetation of farmland and restoration of grassed and weed-infested
  • Corridor B – narrow potential corridor connecting Fox Gully with Mimosa Creek
  • Corridor C – revegetation programs to complement existing vegetation

Report in Action

  • Findings used in submission for purchase of old farm as part of BCC Bushland Acquisition program
  • Mimosa Creek Precinct Landscape Planupdated to provide a masterplan for restoration and reconnection of Mt Gravatt and Roly Chapman Reserve
    • 18 property owners committed to restoration of Fox and Firefly Gully wildlife corridors
    • $8,000 contributed to corridor restoration by local residents

MacGregor Lions Club – Roly Chapman

Saturday – 4 Feb – 8am to 10am

The MacGregor Lions Club team is partnering with Mt Gravatt Environment Group in restoration of the native gardens along this popular walk/cycle path Roly Chapman Reserve.

Roly Chapman Reserve is a special part of our local environment supporting a wide variety of native flora and fauna including the Striped Marshfrog Limnodyynastes peronii which we found at the Lions’ working-bee in December.

Frogs are a good indicator of the health of a habitat so finding a new species is very encouraging and a powerful acknowledgment of the value of the restoration work of the Lions team.

Roly Chapman with pretty Mimosa Creek meandering through bushland is also a key part in the wildlife corridor connecting Mt Gravatt Reserve and Bulimba Creek.

Join the team restoring this special place. For details email – Macgregor.Lions.Secretary@gmail.com or contact John Spriggs on 3849 6479.

Sunday morning 4th December and John McCrystal and a friend were riding Shire Road to the summit of Mt Gravatt. John, a member of Team Fatboyz, was practicing for the Rio Tinto Ride to Conquer Cancer – August 18-19, 2012, he certainly didn’t expect to encounter two Koalas running down the road towards him!

Koalas travel 5 to 10km to find new home territory.

“They came running down the mountain and then starting running toward us on the road. They then froze in front of us started snorting, I think they were scared. We had to shoo them off the road. They then climbed the first tree they found.” John

John grew up on the side of Mt Gravatt and he had never heard of Koalas on the Mountain. I have heard from others that there have “never been” Koalas on Mt Gravatt and any animals found must have been relocated there after recovery from injury. This has always seemed to be an unlikely explanation because injured animals, including Koalas, are returned to locations as close as possible to where they were found.

Koalas on Mt Gravatt – What is the answer?

Southside Community News – Jan 2012

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Professor Carla Catterall, Griffith School of Environment, advises that from the 1970s to the 1990s koalas were not seen in Toohey Forest, in spite of many naturalists  walking in the forest and doing ecological surveys there.  This has been a puzzle given that Koala food trees are present in reasonable numbers.  Professor Catterall suggests that Koalas may have previously been in the forest then extirpated (local extinction) in the early 20th century.

Koala fur industry

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Hunting for Koala pelts was a major industry after European settlement. Who would want to wear Koala fur? The Koalas I have handled didn’t exactly feel luxurious and soft. Glenn Fowler’s 1993 report, “BLACK AUGUST” Queensland’s Open Season On Koalas in 1927 available at Australian Koala Foundation site, provides and insight into this unlikely trade.

‘Although (fortunately for the koala) not highly valued, the koala’s thick soft fur soon acquired the reputation as being a particularly effective insulator against the cold – ideal for protecting the human body from “the icy blasts of winter in Northern Canada and Europe”. Koala fur was renowned for its ability to withstand any amount of hard usage.’ Fowler, 1993.

For me, the really sobering thing was realising that as recently as 1927 the Queensland Government approved a six month open season on Koalas. More than 500,000 Koala pelts were delivered to market – a huge impact given the number of pelts that would have been unusable and the joeys left to starve.

Koalas returning to Mt Gravatt

Koala sightings Mimosa Creek Precinct

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Nature is now giving us a second chance with Koalas now breeding successfully in the Reserve and increasing sightings particularly around our Fox Gully Bushcare site: Mimosa Creek Precinct.

Griffith University researchers believe that there is more functional linkage between Toohey Forest and other forest areas in the western past of Brisbane than might easily be assumed: in spite of the hazards of roads. We have one sighting of a Koala successfully crossing the Motorway onramp however the recent death of a Koala hit by a car on Klump Road highlights the need for safe wildlife corridors connecting Mt Gravatt Reserve with Mimosa Creek, Roly Chapman Reserve and Toohey Forest.

Cathyrn Dexter, Griffith University, is leading a project with Main Roads Department which aims to create permeable landscapes that will allow animals to move around without having to interact with roadways: safer for wildlife and drivers.

We will draw on Cathyrn’s research as we restore the Fox Gully wildlife corridor to improve the chance for Koalas to move safely across Klumpp Road. In the short term we are working with Cr Krista Adams to have Koala crossing signs erected on Klumpp Road. While the active police presence is likely to have much greater impact on speeding, Koala crossing signs will be a valuable community education tools building awareness that nature is returning a special animal to our urban bushland environment.

Anna Bligh, Premier of Queensland, joined local member Phil Reeves and community members on Tuesday, for morning tea at Echidna Magic.

(l-r) Sheamus O'Connor, Premier Anna Bligh, Hon Phil Reeves

Sheamus O’Connor, Sue Jones and I (Michael Fox) represented Mt Gravatt Environment Group. Sheamus took the opportunity to explain his outlook on the environment to Anna. An articulate spokesperson for future generations, Sheamus’ credibility is firmly grounded in his personal contribution to restoration of Mt Gravatt Reserve. Not satisfied with joining the Gertrude Petty Place Bushcare team, Sheamus organised a group of fellow students from Mt Gravatt SHS to replant the degraded area at the entry to the Summit Track.

(l-r) Sue Jones, Hon Phil Reeves, Premier Anna Bligh, Michael Fox

I took the opportunity to brief the Premier about the wildlife in the Reserve and the baseline fauna and flora research being undertaken with a grant from the Department of Environment. Anna was particularly pleased to hear that Koalas are breeding in the Reserve and that the BAAM researchers had already identified three species of micro-bats and Topknot Pigeons previously unknown to be present on the mountain.

(l-r) Premier Anna Bligh, Michael Fox, Hon Phil Reeves, Sue Jones

We also presented the Premier with a reminder of the unique nature of this Reserve. The glow-in-the-dark mushrooms Mycena lampadis were only identified on the mountain earlier this year. Queensland is a large and amazing state so it is a real pleasure to surprise our Premier with the unique flora and fauna that can be found only ten kilometres from the CBD.