Reedy Creek Reserve, home to an intact patch of endangered Queensland coastal forest, has some very special neighbours.
The intact coastal forest of Reedy Creek Reserve – a vegetation type now endangered in Queensland.
One of them, the loggerhead turtle, is among the biggest marine turtles on earth, and regularly comes in from the Coral Sea to nest on nearby beaches that Bush Heritage manages. Another is the rare grey goshawk, which has been spotted within the reserve itself.
And then there are the most recent arrivals: people who have joined a nearby residential project that is underpinning our conservation work here.
Called Sunrise@1770, it's part of a 600-hectare coastal strip bought by Michael Myer and Dellarose Swanson in the 1990s.
They kept a quarter of the land for housing and shared areas of native vegetation, and donated the rest to Bush Heritage to manage as a nature reserve. Residents pay a levy that funds management of the reserve.
This is a superb example of how humans can help our non-human neighbours.
All this has been protected thanks to the generosity of our supporters.
What this reserve protects
This reserve protects a very endangered thing – but it's not a particular plant or animal. In fact, it's a forest: intact Queensland coastal and riparian forest to be exact.
This type of vegetation has been dramatically cleared across much of its former range, to make way for development. These significant species and communities are found on the reserve and the adjacent foreshore, which Bush Heritage helps manage.
Beach stone-curlew. Photo: Wayne Lawler.
Swamp banksia. Photo: Carl Moller.
Eastern dwarf tree frog. Photo: Carl Moller.
- Red-tailed black cockatoo
- Beach stone-curlew
- Grey goshawk
- Barking owl
- Rose-crowned fruit dove
- Northern brown bandicoot
- Little red flying fox
- Giant burrowing cockroach
- Loggerhead turtle
- Flatback turtle
- Green turtle
- Lobelia nummularia
- Broad-leaved paperbark
- Silver-leafed paperbark
- Swamp mahogany
- Ribbon fan palm
- Pink bloodwood
- Moreton Bay ash
- Wallum banksia
- Mixed vine forest (endangered)
- Melaleuca, red gum and brushbox forest
- Corymbia and eucalypt forests
What we’re doing on the property
Bush Heritage staff carry out low-intensity burning as part of the fire management of Reedy Creek Reserve.
Reedy Creek's Reserve Manager, Mat McLean, says: ‘the people who live at the neighbouring residential development Sunrise@1770 play an essential role in the protection and restoration of this reserve.'
As well as paying an annual environmental levy used to look after the reserve, they also have to meet strict environmental guidelines, including using local native plants in their allotments.
Some residents even take part in the turtle monitoring program, keeping an eye on the sea turtles that use the beach abutting the reserve for nesting.
With the aim of protecting turtle eggs and young turtles, we regularly take concerted action to control foxes.
Revegetation work is also being carried out on the foreshore, to stabilise the dunes and protect nesting turtles from light pollution.
Further revegetation work is happening in cleared areas using endemic tree stock, and we are carefully managing areas of rare vine thicket rainforest, which have been degraded by unregulated recreational use.
Because this reserve abuts a residential area, fire management is a priority for ecological and safety reasons.
A young flatback turtle found during turtle monitoring. Photo: Steve Heggie.
The large head, strong jaws and tough shell of the loggerhead turtle should equip it well for a life spent in the oceans.
Yet despite their rugged battle dress, these gentle giants are endangered throughout the world.
They are slow to reproduce, and many get caught in fishing nets or are hunted. And their eggs, which females lay in nests dug into sand, are highly vulnerable to predation by animals such as foxes and dogs.
A flatback turtle prepares to lay its eggs – just one of the three species of sea turtles that nest on the beaches neighbouring Reedy Creek Reserve. Photo: Steve Heggie.
That's why Reserve Manager Mat McLean is working with the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service to monitor and protect the nesting sites of the local loggerhead turtles.
‘2010 has been a good year for the turtles,' enthuses Mat.
‘Volunteers have recorded over 130 nests, most of them loggerheads, which is 30% up on recent years – great news!'
At Reedy Creek Reserve, Mat is controlling foxes and carrying out revegetation work to make sure the turtles have the best chance of nesting successfully on the nearby beaches.
This reserve contains cultural heritage materials of interest to Aboriginal people. A cultural values assessment is planned to better understand the significance of the reserve.
When Michael Myer and Dellarose Swanson bought this land, they gifted an additional parcel of land to the traditional owners.