CLEAN AND GREEN: The restoration project in Gayndah is part of the 20 Million Trees Initiative.
CLEAN AND GREEN: The restoration project in Gayndah is part of the 20 Million Trees Initiative. Contributed

Green Army goes in to fight for lungfish, turtles

THE Green Army has deemed a project to bring turtles and lungfish back to the Burnett River a success.

Green Army supervisor Mark Cachia and a team of participants aged 17-24, with the assistance of landholders, business owners and the Burnett Catchment Care Association, undertook 15 hectares of land for weed control and restoration for the Gayndah Riparian Habitat Restoration project.

"We were required to undertake 15 hectares of weed control, 15 hectares of re-vegetation, 10 floristic surveys, three fauna surveys and 15 hectares of site preparation,” Mr Cachia said.

He said the group has worked on various along different stretches of the Burnett River, most recently near Gayndah.

"We got access to these properties through one of our project partners, the BCCA, and advertisements in the local newspaper,” he said.

Mr Cachia said para grass and castor oil plants presented the biggest challenge at one of their largest sites.

"The majority of our work is in riparian areas including Queensland blue gum woodland, dry vine forest and closed forest with melaleuca and callistemon species,” he said.

"The exotic plants that have been targeted include chinese celtis, also known as portuguese elm, red-head cotton bush, castor oil plant, para grass and balloon vine.”

Mr Cachia said while the removal of exotic weeds was an important function of the work he and his team did, the main focus was revegetation.

"To that end everyone learnt to dig holes for planting to ensure there was no glazing, properly pre-watering the holes to ensure adequate moisture,” Mr Cachia said.

Species planted included the sandpaper fig, the river bottlebrush, the silver-leaved ironbark and the hickory wattle.

"These are all local to the area,” Mr Cachia said.

"When these plants are small they are flexible and can easily bend with little resistance allowing them to stay in the ground during minor to moderate flooding.”

The project was part of the Federal Government's 20 Million Trees initiative.