Sea spurge removal from beaches

The coastal beaches in Wynyard and Somerset are popular recreational areas, as well as important habitats for red-capped plovers and other shorebirds. Unfortunately, sea spurge is invading our beaches and, if left unchecked, will curtail recreational use – the plant contains a toxic sap that irritates eyes. Wynyard Landcare is hand-pulling sea spurge that is invading the narrow dunes – a time consuming task requiring enthusiastic volunteers. Future plans are to enhance the biodiversity along the dunes by planting coastal wattle and other native shrubs. Working bees are held monthly.

Howie Island – Pacific Gull rookery

This 2ha island is home to one of the largest Pacific Gull rookeries in Tasmania. Other birds breeding on the island include sooty oyster catchers, pied oyster catchers, caspian terns, silver gulls, and cape barren geese. The island also supports many migratory and non-breeding bird species.

Tree mallow, an exotic weed, is infesting the nesting area for Pacific Gulls and forcing the birds to nest in less suitable sites. Rice grass and African boxthorn are weeds that need eliminating before they spread. Tree mallow is best removed by cut-and-paste before the plants set seed and during May-July, the birds non-breeding period. Follow-up maintenance over a few years is essential to remove new seedlings germinating from dormant seeds.

Monitor and document biodiversity

Local residents at Lapoinya were appalled when they discovered Forestry Tasmania was planning to log their favourite 65ha patch of bush adjacent to their hobby farms.

Landcare members and associates conducted a quick flora and fauna survey looking for un-documented endangered and vulnerable species. All data on the presence of species was uploaded to the Natural Values Atlas which is used by governments to develop strategic plans for conserving biodiversity and managing ecosystems. The Lapoinya coupe is an important refuge for Tasmanian devil, spotted-tailed quoll, and giant freshwater lobster. Remote cameras are being used to record the presence of nocturnal mammals. Wet Brooker’s Gum, a threatened plant community, is also present. 34 bird species were recoded – indicating a functioning ecosystem.

We are keen to extend monitoring and documenting biodiversity to other nature reserves, including the use of remote cameras and sound recorders.

Doctors Rocks – habitat revegetation for penguins

Though degraded, Doctors Rocks is an important nesting site for penguins. We aim to eradicate broom & blackberry, and revegetate with native coastal grasses and shrubs. Improvements will also benefit local families who use the site for fishing and recreation. Weed removal and replanting activities are undertaken during May-July, the non-nesting period for Little Penguins.

Carbon abatement in native forests

With climate change on the agenda and the government offering credits for carbon abatement, landcare members and associates measured the size of living and dead trees. This data was used to calculate the amount of carbon stored in the Lapoinya coupe. The value of carbon storage can be compared with the profit/loss from logging if it happens.

Frenchs Road Nature Reserve – biodiversity

This valuable 34ha of remnant bush is quite rare in the fertile farming region of north-west Tassie. The biodiversity conservation reserve is home to a wide range of flora and fauna including giant freshwater lobster, burrowing crayfish, Tasmanian devil, and 10 endemic bird species. Over the past two decades “friends” of the reserve have removed willows, pine trees, blackberries and other invasive weeds; re-vegetated degraded areas; erected boundary fences to keep out stock; and constructed tracks, bridges and amenity facilities for recreational visitors. The challenge now is developing a management strategy that opens the reserve to recreational users whilst ensuring weeds and feral animals are controlled, and biodiversity conservation is not compromised.

Directions to Frenchs Road Reserve

Table Cape – tourist attraction and devil habitat

We are planting trees and shrubs along the track between the Table Cape lookout and the Lighthouse. The thriving population of devils at Table Cape are free of facial tumour disease.

Fossil Bluff – geological tourist attraction

Blackberries growing on the steep foreshore at this popular tourist attraction are being removed and the gaps replanted with native trees and shrubs.

Inglis River – controlling river bank erosion

The Inglis River nature reserve, being close to town, is a unique and valuable natural resource. The 6km track along the Inglis River is used daily by many walkers, joggers, bird enthusiasts, and the elderly. Fishermen have their favourite spots along the river, and canoeists paddle the river. A platypus can be sighted on most days.

Landcare volunteers are planting native trees and shrubs to (i) stabilise the river bank against erosion which causes large trees to fall, (ii) control exotic weeds through plant competition, and (iii) provide a habitat for native birds, animals and fish.

Sisters beach – enhancing foreshore habitat

Locals are re-vegetating recreational and picnic areas along the foreshore where pine trees once stood.