Greenfleet plants trees to help protect turtles
Wednesday 24th of August 2016
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Greenfleet plants trees to help protect turtles

On August 24, the biggest environmental tree planting project ever undertaken in the Bundaberg Region was officially launched.

On the day, Jack Dempsey, Mayor of the Bundaberg Region, Wayne Wescott, Greenfleet CEO, planted the first of 90,000 native trees in the Barolin Nature Reserve.

Barolin Nature Reserve has a long history of cattle grazing with areas cleared of trees and drainage channels constructed. Now managed by Bundaberg Regional Council, the Reserve is progressively being restored to its natural state to protect the high conservation value of its plant life.

Thanks to our supporters such as Disney AUNZ, we are able to plant native trees to transform the land back to its natural state. Greenfleet will revegetate about a third of the Reserve with native trees to bring back native bush to bare areas.

Spokesperson for Environment and Natural Resources, Cr Bill Trevor is delighted that Greenfleet has chosen to invest in a project of this scale and provides the expertise to make it a success.

Under the project, Greenfleet will maintain the planted areas for five years to ensure good survival of the trees and in return Council has guaranteed that the trees will remain in place for a minimum of 30 years.

Mayor Jack Dempsey said the Greenfleet project was a win for Council, the community and the environment. “This will revitalise one of our region’s most popular and significant natural areas,” he added.

As it grows, the forest in Barolin Nature Reserve will sequester carbon, protect the Reserve’s unique biodiversity values, incidentally improve water quality in the fringing coral reef and extend habitat for native wildlife.

But the more surprising of all, is the tremendous positive difference this project will make to the turtles at the nearby turtle rookery.

The Reserve is adjacent to the Mon Repos Conservation Park, a regional park supporting the largest concentration of nesting marine turtles on the eastern Australian mainland and with the most significant loggerhead turtle nesting population in the South Pacific region. Loggerhead turtles are listed as critically endangered* in this region and the success of nesting and hatching turtles at Mon Repos is critical for the survival of the species.

Artificial coastal lighting is one of the major threats to the turtle population. Artificial lights interfere with the turtles’ natural habits and instincts, resulting in negative impacts on the population.

Nesting turtles prefer to nest on dark beaches, and after the hatchlings emerge from their nests at night, they find their way to the sea by moving towards the lightest horizon as they see it.

“The Greenfleet native forest will help the endangered marine turtles at Mon Repos by reducing the glow of lights onto the beach. When they mature, the trees will filter light pollution from the city and in the long term minimise disturbance of the nesting and hatching turtles,” Wayne Wescott explained.

“When I visited Mon Repos the rangers explained that the hatching turtles need a dark beach so that they can get safely out to sea. I am very proud that, in the long term, the Greenfleet forest will help the turtles to thrive.”

Greenfleet's proposed revegetation area at Barolin Nature Reserve

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