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Rehabilitating coastal native vegetation

Residents and visitors to Scotts Head and Valla Beach will have noticed bush regeneration activities going on within public reserves. The work is part of a Nambucca Shire Council initiative to protect and enhance priority threatened vegetation communities in local public reserves. Reserves are important to the community and to the environment, as they maintain lifestyle values and biodiversity in rapidly developing areas.

At Valla Beach, fencing and planting has been installed at Deep Creek Reserve and Valla Headland and weed control activities have been undertaken. The Reserve now has a five metre strip of fenced plantings adjoined to the existing riverside vegetation zone bordering Deep Creek.

Hugo Marree, Senior Land Services Officer said of the project, “The aim is to rehabilitate an area of Sub-tropical Coastal Floodplain Forest which is an endangered ecological community (EEC) listed for protection under NSW legislation.

Hugo continued, “Riparian buffer zones are essential to stabilise river bed and banks and providing many other social, economic and environmental benefits.

“The buffer zones also protect water quality, provide habitat for threatened species and enable more productive fisheries.”

At Valla beach headland pedestrian control fencing now protects new plantings of advanced Tuckeroo trees (Cupaniopsis anarcardioides) that will offer long term protection to the existing Themeda grassland community, another coastal EEC in the spotlight for Nambucca Shire.

Work to enhance Themeda is also being delivered at Scotts Head headland, where weed control is the focus to address declining condition in this area.  The NSW Scientific Committee states that the Themeda Grassland on Coastal Headlands of the North Coast EEC is likely to become extinct if the current rate of decline is not addressed.

Two incidents of vandalism to the new plantings at Valla Beach Reserve occurred soon after installation, with Council delivering extra resources to repair the damage.

Hugo said of the damage, “The rapid response from council demonstrates their strong commitment to maintaining this area in the long term but it is hard to fathom the reason for such malicious behaviour.

“We are asking all residents and visitors to these areas to send information involving vandalism of native vegetation in public reserves to Council.”

In another area of Scotts Head, work at Wakki Beach headland is a flagship project in its own right.

Control of invasive weeds across a 16 hectare area has become a priority due to existing Themeda grassland that contains the only known endangered population of Glycine clandestina (broad leaf form), as listed under the Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995 (NSW).

A number of weeds including bitou bush, invasive exotic grasses and lantana are being targeted by contractors and Council staff. Council also has plans for education signage and pedestrian infrastructure in this area that will increase public knowledge and appreciation of this unique native vegetation.

The components funded by North Coast  Local Land Services at Valla Beach and Scotts Head were completed during 2016, with Wakki Beach Headland works continuing over the coming two years and a five year ongoing maintenance commitment by Council.

Careful planning and combined funding under various programs has made this larger scale environmental restoration project possible for Nambucca Shire Council. North Coast Local Land Services has supported the project with funding from the National Landcare Programme and Catchment Action NSW. Other major partners include the Office of Environment and Heritage, Department of Crown Lands via North Coast Holiday Parks and Nambucca Shire Council.

Hugo concluded, “The success of the various grants demonstrates local, state and federal government commitment to protecting and enhancing public green spaces and special biodiversity assets.

“There is a real value in building strong government and community partnerships to get the most value from competitive funding opportunities.”

Media contact:

Hugo Marree, Senior Land Services Officer, Phone 0427 366 422

Photo captions:

The rehabilitation project at Wakki Beach headland at Scotts Head helps protect a listed endangered plant population within the Themeda grassland endangered ecological community.