VULNERABLE: A koala atop a fence at a golf course .
VULNERABLE: A koala atop a fence at a golf course . contributed

Fencing, road speeds failing koalas

AN AUDIT of Noosa's failing koala protection infrastructure recommends a major overhaul to help rescue one of our best-loved species from decline.

A Koala Infrastructure Audit and Feasibility Report by consultants 02Ecology has found "most existing koala exclusion fencing on council roads is in poor condition”.

O2Ecology said these structures do "not appear to be maintained with an appropriate frequency to ensure function”.

"It is recommended that all existing koala exclusion fencing is cleared of vegetation, mended and maintained to prevent koalas from entering the road side.

"Current fencing could potentially be extended where there are gaps between two sections of fencing.”

It is recommended that koala exclusion fencing is extended, existing fencing upgraded and associated existing structures retrofitted where appropriate on Walter Hay Dr (south and north of existing fencing), Eenie Creek Rd (east and west of existing fencing) and Weyba Rd.

The consultant also wants new koala exclusion fencing in collaboration with Department of Transport and Main Roads retrofitted on Cooroy Noosa Rd and McKinnon Dr.

Some koala warning road signs have been found to be obstructed by vegetation and "rural roads have limited lighting”.

"Additional lighting may be beneficial at extreme pinch point crossings or unfenced areas where multiple (koala) hits have been recorded,” the report said

"In very high risk or pinch point areas where there are multiple koala-collision records and hard infrastructure is not feasible, practical changes to speed limits may increase driver and koala safety.

"In some cases it may be beneficial to extend lower speed zones to ensure that deceleration from or accelerating to higher speed zones occur outside the hotspot area.”

A Koala Conservation Action Plan update by principal environment officer Peter Milne recommends works being scheduled by council after 02Ecology drew up this list of "hot spots areas of risk for koalas”:

80-100km/hr speed zones: Yurol Forest Dr, Pomona (Yurol), Bruce Highway, north of Cooroy, McKinnon Dr, Cooroibah, Cooroy-Noosa Rd, Tinbeerwah,Walter Hay Dr, Noosaville to Eumarella Rd, Eenie Creek Rd, Noosa Heads,Louis Bazzo Dr, Pomona, Junction Rd, Lake Flat Rd and Cootharaba Rd, Cootharaba, Cooroy Belli Creek Rd, Ridgewood, Old Ceylon Rd, Ridgewood, Eumundi Noosa Rd, Doonan, Bruce Highway, north of Cooroy.

40-60km/hr speed zones: Park Rd, Noosa Heads,Noosa Dr, Noosa Heads, Leslie Dr, Noosa Heads, Links Dr, Noosa Heads, Noosa Springs Dr, Noosa Heads, Cooyar St, Noosa Heads, Sunshine Beach Rd, Sunshine Beach, Solway Dr, Sunshine Beach.

The consultants also identified a number of streets that connect with some of the above roads that are also risk areas for koalas. These are mainly concerned with the following localities of Noosa Heads, Tewantin, Doonan, Marcus Beach and Peregian Beach.

Mr Milne said the Queensland University of Technology has approached councils to undertake broad scale koala data collection using drones and thermal imagery technology.