Media response - woody weed removal, Malbeck Drive Reserve

Published on 01 March 2023

Response to The Advertiser.

  • I've just spoken to a resident who is gravely concerned about where the Koalas and other wildlife will now live after a number of trees were cut down on Malbeck Drive Reserve last week. Would the council be able to provide a reason as to why the trees were cut down? Was there any planning or consultation conducted into what local wildlife would be affected by the decisions?

Woody weed control is being undertaken at Malbeck Drive Reserve as part of a wider watercourse restoration program, and to address ongoing drainage issues within the reserve and Panalatinga Creek.

The removals included the highly invasive Desert Ash, which is a declared weed requiring control and is being gradually removed within the majority of watercourses across our council region. The koala photographed by the resident is climbing up the base of a non-native tree. Non-native species such as Desert Ash do not provide appropriate long-term habitat or a suitable food source for koalas.

Experience has shown that removal of woody weeds can actually improve habitat value for wildlife due to the increased regeneration of native understorey species, improved health for our large native river red gum trees, and a reduction in weedy leaf litter that impacts on water quality.

Subsequent revegetation further improves habitat and attracts a greater diversity of fauna species, including woodland birds, insects and fish.

We’re excited to be planting new trees and shrubs in the reserve soon as part of a separate project to upgrade the reserve’s playgrond.

During the past 10 years council has undertaken numerous ecological restoration projects within our watercourses, resulting in the creation of a more diverse vegetation structure and the return of wildlife, while also resolving water quality and flooding issues.  

You can see a before-and-after example of one of the creeklines we’ve previously restored and improved here.