A MASS planting of about 15,000 trees is underway in the Hinchinbrook in a bid to restore coastal wetlands and improve water quality flowing into the Great Barrier Reef.
The trees are being planted across about 60 hectares in wetlands adjacent to rivers and streams in the lower Palm Creek area.
More than 6000 trees have been planted so far at Mungulla Station and neighbouring properties near Ingham over the past through months under the program which is being undertaken by Greening Australia and Australian Conservation Volunteers Australia.
Greening Australia, through its Reef Aid program, is working with landholders to rebuild eroding gullies and restore coastal wetlands across the catchment.
Conservation Volunteers Australia is coordinating the tree planting, with international visitors among those getting involved in the project.
Conservation Volunteers Australia Townsville Regional Manager Sharon Marks said the volunteers were from all different backgrounds and ages.
“They come from all over the world like Korea, Denmark and Germany and stay a week at Mungalla Station helping with weeds, planting trees, collecting seeds and working in the nursery as part of the restoration works,” Ms Marks said.
“They also get to experience some of the outback, the indigenous culture at Mungalla and they tour the region.
“Sometimes we get up to three teams with nearly 30 volunteers onsite but generally there will be just one team of international volunteers plus the Skilling Queenslanders for Work local trainees who are doing a 23-week traineeship in Conservation and Land Management.”
Greening Australia Project Manager Niall Connolly said the revegetation efforts supported habitat connectivity.
“Our focus is on creating new habitat to connect up some of the remnant patches of vegetation in this area,” Dr Connolly said.
“It’s for the benefit of wildlife such as mahogany gliders and birds such as the Nankeen Night-Herons, White-browed Robins and Azure Kingfishers.”
Dr Connolly said partnerships with organisations like Conservation Volunteers Australia were important to enable community volunteers to participate in the restoration works and contribute to helping the Great Barrier Reef.
“At Mungalla we have a great relationship with Jacob Cassady and the Mungalla Management Board which is allowing us to make strides in restoring and protecting the priority coastal wetlands in this area,” he said.
“A good working relationship with the landholders and enabling the community to participate is absolutely vital.
“Conservation Volunteers Australia have been a great partner to help deliver the on-ground works and enhance the wider community engagement.”