Resident worries for Koalas after Valley land clearing ops
A MARY Valley resident has flagged wildlife and tourism-related concerns after recent roadside tree clearing and vegetation removal operations along part of the Mary Valley Highway.
The Department of Transport and Main roads conducted the works along the 3.2km stretch to "implement a clear zone by removing vegetation within the road corridor" as part of their statewide Safer Roads Sooner project.
Brooloo resident Annie Joseph said she disagreed with the "clear zone" idea and argued tree clearing works were compromising the "unique appeal" of the Mary Valley.
"We live in a beautiful, untouched place, and chopping down our big, beautiful gum trees is a blanket rule that has no logic in our environment," Ms Joseph said.
"It makes no sense for the Mary Valley as an eco-tourism attraction or for our wildlife."
Ms Joseph said she had seen at least one koala crossing the road during the operations, along with three dead echidnas.
She suggested road barriers and more road lighting as alternatives to chopping down trees.
A TMR spokeswoman said the stretch of Mary Valley Road (including Gympie Brooloo Road) had a "history of single-vehicle, off-road crashes" and needed the clear zone to eliminate "potential hazards".
"Along with safety, the conservation and protection of flora and fauna is a priority for the department," the spokeswoman said.
"Before starting works, we conducted an ecological assessment in accordance with the Nature Conservation (Wildlife Management) Regulation 2006. The assessment determined the site was not within a high-risk flora area.
"A fauna spotter-catcher was also engaged to ensure works were conducted in accordance with the Queensland legislative requirements.
"Spotter-catchers play an important role during clearing works by ensuring any wildlife within or entering the work area is relocated safely.
"We wrote to stakeholders, including local environmental groups, on 29 October advising them works would start in early November."
Koala Action Gympie co-ordinator Michelle Daly said 12 koalas had been killed by road strikes since June this year, including three on the Mary Valley Highway and two in a "hotspot" near the Kandanga turnoff at Amamoor.
Ms Daly confirmed TMR had advised Koala Action Gympie of their operations, and that a fauna spotter would be present throughout, prior to commencement.