2015-Case-Study-Burwood-beach-9
Connecting Coastal Vegetation and Volunteers from Leggy Point to Burwoord Beach
August 11, 2015

Audience

Beach enthusiasts and neighbours and friends and users of Glenrock State Conservation Area.

Contact

Burwood Beach Coastcare, Trees In Newcastle

Overview

Since 1989 Trees In Newcastle (TIN) has been supporting community groups in their on-ground endeavours and encouraging individual volunteers to enhance their landcare learning.

The ‘Connecting coastal vegetation and volunteers from Leggy Point to Burwood Beach’ project was conceived to unite landcare project sites and guardian groups along the coastal corridor of Glenrock State Conservation Area, between Glenrock Lagoon to the south, and the northern end of Burwood Beach.

Through training and support, the project enhanced the capacity of landcarers to undertake and maintain three coastal vegetation communities over 9ha and strengthened relationships between the Burwood Beach Coastcare, Awabakal Local Aboriginal Land Council (ALALC), Leggy Point Coastcare, National Parks & Wildlife Services (NPWS) and TIN.

This project was funded by the Federal Government’s Caring for Our Country program.

Background

Trees In Newcastle coordinates a volunteer program that provides a bush regeneration guru as a knowledge base, a minibus to transport volunteers to project sites and a selection of tools to undertake on-ground work. TIN seeks funding to support community groups to achieve their on-ground aspirations.

As a long-time supporter of Leggy Point Coastcare TIN successfully applied for a $50,000 Community Environment Grant to continue caring for the coast and no sooner had the application been submitted a community enquiry looking for support to do some on-ground work at Burwood Beach arrived.

The coincidence of the contact, right person at the right time, meant that the project intention to get a self-sustaining group up and running was well within reach.

Burwood Beach Coastcare group was initiated to undertake weekend activities specifically focused on coastal issues. The group commenced work for the first time in February 2014.

From February 2014, initial works were focused on weeding an area of recently burnt coastal heath behind the fore-dune, after deliberately lit fires in September 2013. Bitou Bush and annual weeds were rapidly colonising the ash bed left after the fire. The group swept through the burnt area on a number of visits within the first 6 months. During this time the majority of Bitou Bush and annual weeds were removed, and a diverse range of native ground covers and shrubs were observed to be regenerating, stimulated by the fire.

Whilst the weekend crew were capitalising on the benefits of post-fire regeneration a weekday TIN volunteer team focussed on transformer weeds Turkey Rhubarb, Fleabane and Blackberry Nightshade. The team prepared the dunes around Glenrock Lagoon for community planting events that have become a buffer to the littoral rainforest remnant and now protect and support the revegetation of a coastal midden.

The on-ground activities around the 0.6ha midden were undertaken in consultation and collaboration with the Awabakal Local Aboriginal Land Council and their Green Team. The project has provided for multiple opportunities to share knowledge, bush regeneration techniques and cultural understanding. The bush regeneration teams, the coastcare groups and community participants have enjoyed the opportunity to hear from the ALALC Cultural Officer and NPWS discovery Rangers at 3 events.

Four seed collection expeditions gathered enough provenance seed to grow 3825 plants for the community plantings. Trees In Newcastle’s community nursery propagated and nurtured the tubestock which have had not only survived but thrived and supported recruitment from the adjacent Littoral Rainforest Endangered Ecological Community.

The Burwood Beach Coastcare group focused activities to another location for the second half of 2014, weeding areas previously revegetated by TIN on the foredune directly east of the treatment plant. The coastcaring focused on maintenance weeding of small Bitou Bush, Blackberry and annuals, and some primary weeding of mature Bitou Bush and Lantana.

National Parks and Wildlife Service have been great supporters of the project, working alongside the groups on a number of occasions, using splatter gun on large infestations of Bitou Bush too big for physical removal, providing additional support for school groups to be a part of the project and facilitating conversations between the various stakeholder groups.

Having a variety of activities throughout the project has been instrumental in tapping into hidden talents, interests and community support.

  • For the scientifically minded, monitoring of vegetation with quadrats and photo points was popular.
  • For the botanical bent, seed collection in littoral rainforest for revegetation at Glenrock Lagoon was a winner.
  • Joint beach clean-ups and quarterly marine debris surveys with Surfrider Foundation engaged the surfers.
  • Planting days at Glenrock Lagoon, hosted by TIN and NPWS accompanied by the Aboriginal Discovery walks meant that the planting was with purpose in a cultural context.

The communication channels that kept everyone connected and up to date on the project activities were Facebook, which saw TIN’s likes double over the life of the project, Burwood Beach Coastcare’s Facebook page and TIN’s newsletter, which provided regular project updates to its 1050 subscribers.

The formal completion of the project in May 2015 has marked the start of a new chapter for Burwood Beach. The Burwood Beach Coastcare group has continued to work throughout 2015 on the last Saturday on the month, activities to include maintenance weeding around plantings at Glenrock Lagoon and secondary sweeps for Bitou Bush through the burn area.

Number Crunching

  • 32 weekday landcare sessions with the TIN team giving 839hr of time towards bush regeneration and seed collection
  • 17 weekend field days with Burwood Beach Coastcare giving 475 hours towards weed control and planting
  • 3 seed collection expeditions and 1 seed collection workshop
  • 180hr of landcaring provided by Hunter Christian College students
  • 2 Clean Up Australia Day events
  • 2 Marine Debris Surveys conducted with the Surfrider foundation
  • 2 Aboriginal Discovery Walks
  • 2 Community planting events
  • 122hr of targeted bush regeneration by TIN contractors
  • 147hr of targeted bush regeneration by Awabakal LALC contractors
  • 204 hr of seed collection and processing
  • 3825 plants planted
  • 9ha of coastal dune regenerated
  • 4 very happy community groups

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