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Plantation & Conservation Site

The Maria River Project continues to progress apace. With 2 rows of Eucalyptus robusta (swamp-mahogany) and one each of Eucalyptus tereticornis (forest red gum) and Eucalyptus nicholli (narrow-leaved black peppermint). Yes the robustas are the strongest! Water or lack of it and high humidity has been a huge issue across the last six weeks dramatically slowing down our planting.

The lack of available water will be soon solved with a rollout of 600m (the length of a row) irrigation polypipe with eight outlets that can deploy 60m flexible hosing to reach the remotest seedlings. The water in our dam is in the process of being chemically tested and interim results show extremely low salinity. We will pump from the dam into the main polypipe possibly using a floating solar pump.

The Maria River Committee is in the final planning stages of a building that will provide protection for our leaf pickers and tractor.

The Committee will be looking for a break in the recent oppressive heat starting so we can switch from watering to planting. In preparation we have ripped six more planting lines.

The four rows of the seedlings are surrounded on both side by a twenty centimetres strip of grass that provides the eucaIMG_3683lyptus with some protection from grazing kangaroos. Still there has been some minor grazing by the small mobs of kangaroos.

This week we will start an experimental pollarding of the smaller local Melaleucas (a non-eucalypt koala food tree) on the Maria River Eucalypt Farm to provide us with experience of the technique and direction on our timing of pollarding eucalyptus in 3 or 4 years’ time.

We have started putting together both a photographic and pressed collection of the flora of both our forest and flood plain.

Our photographic collection of the huge biodiversity of animals is well underway with placement of wildlife cameras, capturing those basking water dragons and the incredible swamp pheasanIMG_3675ts.

Again, I need to thank Port Macquarie Landcare Nursery and the dedicated bunch of skilled volunteers that produce our magic seedling Koala food trees. In particular, I appreciate the ideas and guidance Landcare President Estelle Gough gives each Monday morning.

Remember if you’re a local, a visitor from NSW, interstate or overseas come and visit the magic of the north shore of Port Macquarie and help plant some trees in the incredible beauty of the Maria River flood plain. Contact the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital if you want to be involved via email info@koalahospital.org.au or telephone 02 6584 1522

Graham Hargreaves