Council study maps koala habitat

A Redland City Council study has found there are approximately 10,000 hectares of koala habitat in the Redlands.

Redland City Mayor Karen Williams said Council’s Koala Habitat Review and Mapping project was the most comprehensive study ever into the city’s koala habitat.

“This report took two years to complete and details where koala habitat including individual koala food trees in urban areas are present on the mainland and North Stradbroke Island townships, as well as some locations where koalas have been sighted,” she said.

“The information will be used by Council to plan for the future of koalas in the city, ensuring our koala population is as healthy and robust as possible.

“It has been considered in the drafting of our new City Plan so we can look at how best to protect koala habitat from more significant development related risks as the city grows.”

Cr Williams said the project report and mapping was completed by leading environmental consultants Biodiversity Assessment and Management (BAAM) and Council.

“This report used several data sources including Department of Environment and Heritage Protection Moggill Koala Hospital records and Koala Action Group koala sightings from the last 17 years.” she said.

“It shows that approximately 10,000 hectares of Redland City is classified as being highly suitable habitat for koalas.

“The mapping will also guide Council’s day-to-day operations including  the development of habitat protection programs, infrastructure planning such as roads and underpasses and open space planning.

“This information has been fed into Council’s mapping system so these vegetation corridors are visible and informs the development of City Plan.

“The data and revised mapping is expected to be available for residents to browse on Council’s Red-e-map website from May.

“Some of the koala habitat identified in the report has been planted by Council as part of an ongoing program of cultivating koala food trees in strategic locations across the city, which has seen 38,000 koala food trees planted in the last five years.

Cr Williams said the Koala Habitat Review and Mapping project provided a scientific position from which to base future planning.

“I am a firm believer that the science needs to guide planning and this study gives us the data to now move forward with a strategic approach to vegetation management across the city,” she said.

“In addition to being available on our website, Council has sent this data to the State government and will also share the results with the Koala Action Group and Federal Government.

“At the end of the day koala numbers in the Redlands are declining as they are across Australia and we need all levels of government and the community to work together to come up with a solution and this data can inform these conversations.“