Conway Beach conservation efforts off to a flying start

Aug 26, 2015 | ,
Treated prickly pear and revegetation in a degraded open patch in Conway Reserve.
Treated prickly pear and revegetation in a degraded open patch in Conway Reserve.

The Conway Beach Reserve has been a hive of activity lately with an area equivalent to more than 75 rugby fields (80 hectares) targeted for conservation works.

The foredunes were infested with weeds including lantana, para grass, singapore daisy, prickly pear and yucca.

As part of the initial weed control activity, more than 300kg of Yucca sp. has been removed by hand.

Reef Catchments Coastal Officer, Olivia Brodhurst said controlling weeds in the coastal reserve area helped foster the natural regeneration and regrowth of native plants.

“Intact vegetation protects the area from degradation and plays a vital role in reducing erosion from storm events. Critically, it also provides valuable habitat for native animals, helping ensure our region’s threatened species have improved access to the environment they need to survive,” she said.

“This work will help to improve the continuity of the dune vegetation which, once restored, will continue to shade out weeds.”

The Reserve includes a critically endangered Beach Scrub ecosystem, which provides habitat for various listed species including the northern quoll (Dasyurus hallucatus), rusty monitor (Varanus semiremex) and coastal sheathtail bat (Taphozous australis). Beach Scrub is also known to be habitat for vulnerable species including the beach stone curlew (Esacus magnirostris) and the false water rat (Xeromys myoides).

With valuable seagrass meadows offshore, Conway Beach is additionally an important site for marine turtles and is known to be a shorebird roost site.

Mrs Brodhurst said prickly pear and other weeds had been treated so far at the site.

“However ongoing management will be required to ensure the condition of the reserve continues to improve,” she said.

Conservation works in Conway Reserve were undertaken by Whitsunday Catchment Landcare for Reef Catchments – the Natural Resource Management Group for the Mackay Whitsunday Isaac region.

“Reef Catchments would like to thank Whitsunday Regional Council for their support of coastal conservation works and Whitsunday Catchment Landcare for their commitment to delivering conservation projects in our region.”

This project is a Reef Catchments initiative, through funding from the Australian Government National Landcare Programme (Looking After Local Landscapes).

For more information contact Olivia Brodhurst, Reef Catchments on: 0429 033 541 | E: olivia.brodhurst@reefcatchments.com