Many of our favourite garden plants come from overseas and, whilst they may look nice in our gardens, they can cause serious environmental problems if they find their way into the natural environment. Volunteers at Bucasia learned this lesson on Saturday 11 May at a Coastcare Activity, hosted by Reef Catchments and Mackay Regional Council. In just a couple of hours, nine volunteers removed an amazing 400kg of weeds from the dune, all of them garden escapees.
“Weed species can multiply aggressively, out-compete native plants, and form dense infestations in coastal dunes,” said Reef Catchments Coastal Coordinator Kerri Woodcock. “By removing 30 large bags of invasive weeds, Coastcare volunteers have vastly improved the condition of the coastal dunes at Bucasia.” Ms Woodcock said.
Once the weeds were removed volunteers then re-vegetated the area with local natives, which will improve the habitat for local animals, as well as stabilise the dune and act as a wind break for nearby dwellings.
An afternoon Coastcare Activity was held at Blacks Beach Spit, a 42 hectare coastal Reserve with significant environmental and recreational values.
“After the success of last month’s Coastcare Activity where 1 tonne of litter was removed from the Spit, it was great to have 14 Coastcare volunteers come along to help clean up the Spit,” said Reef Catchments Coastal Project Officer, Claire Bartron.
“Blacks Beach Spit has substantial natural values, and supports wildlife populations of national and international significance,” said Ms Bartron. “As well as directly benefiting the environment within the Spit, by removing litter from this tidally-influenced area we are also preventing it from entering the marine environment and doing damage there.”
The volunteers collected a trailer load of rubbish which weighed in at approximately 800 kilograms.
“It just goes to show what a small group of dedicated volunteers can do,” said Ms Bartron, “between the two events we have removed nearly 2 tonnes of rubbish, and all because of community members coming out and caring for their coast.”
To volunteer at Coastcare Activities in 2013, or subscribe to emails to find out what projects are happening on our coast, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0429 155 841.
Coasts and Communities is a joint initiative of Mackay Regional Council and Reef Catchments with support from Mackay Regional Council’s Natural Environment Levy and the Australian Government’s Caring for Our Country initiative.
Image: Volunteers with their ‘haul’