Friday, July 22, 2011

Have a look at our new website!

We recently updated our Cottesloe Coastcare website. Our blog is now within our website.
You can search the blog by date or using a search category. And it's now much easier to add comments too. Why don't you subscribe to CCA's blog using RSS feeds, then you will be the first to hear about what Cottesloe Coastcare volunteers are up to!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Weedy Seadragon campaign

It has been almost 18 months since Weedy Seadragons started taking up lots of my time. It has been an interesting, often frustrating but very worthwhile campaign.... and it is not over yet!
Many people have shown their interest and we have almost 2,500 signatures on our parliamentary petition. (you can print the petition from our website).

This photo is of Josh Byrne ( Gardening Australia presenter) signing our Weedy Seadragon petition on Saturday May 21st. It was a community planting day at our fantastic new 'Grove library'. Josh Byrne & Associates are the project environmental consultants. Josh is very supportive of our call to have the weedy seadragon fully protected in WA. Thanks for your support Josh!

Students from several schools have been involved and you can read some great letters from kids on our facebook page.

Even if you are not a facebook member you can watch wonderful videos on our site and view fantastic photos, mostly taken at Cottesloe by photographer and keen snorkeller Mark Binns. This 'weedy wall paper' above, will give you some idea of Mark's interest and talent!

Giz Watson, MLC, Member for the North Metropolitan Region spoke at parliament for the second time on 12th April 2011 about weedy seadragons. We are extremely grateful to Giz for her support and interest.Giz launched our petition in early March and will present our petition to parliament soon. (Read Giz's speech to parliament and see photos from the petition launch on our facebook page.)

Liza Harvey, MLA, Member for Scarborough is also a strong supporter of our call for protected status for weedy seadragons in WA. You can read Liza's letter to Fisheries Minister Moore on the facebook page.
Nyoongar elder, Noel Nannup shared a wonderful story with us about the creation of wardarn noort (weedy seadragon). Photo - Noel signing our petition with Kopi. You will find more on this story at our facebook 'Discussion' page.

I have spoken to groups including dive groups, schools and made a presentation at Perth Region NRM, Coastal and Marine Reference Group. I am extremely grateful to the people and clubs who have sent individual letters to Premier Barnett and to the Fisheries Minister.

We maintain that this beautiful, fragile, endemic fish which is only found in Southern Australian waters deserves full protection in WA. It is fully protected in all other states. It is the marine emblem of the state of Victoria yet in WA they can be collected by anyone! Weedies always die in domestic aquariums as they require perfect conditions and live food - mysids, copepods and other tiny crustaceans.

Weedy seadragons and their relatives are listed as 'Nationally Threatened Species' on the Environmental Protection Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.On the CITES RED LIST (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) they are listed as 'nearly threatened' species. This status may only be changed if there is scientific monitoring and population figures available or if their habitat is further and dramatically degraded. There is, however, no funding available for population figures nor for monitoring of populations at present. Leafy seadragons have the same 'status'- yet they are protected Australia wide. If a seadragon is collected in NSW the fine is $11,000 and up to 3 months jail for an individual, and $55, 000 for corporations.

When leafy seadragons were protected Australia wide and when weedy seadragons were protected in all the other states - the main reasons given were - over collection for the aquaria trade and loss of habitat - eg as seagrass beds were disappearing and pollution was altering marine ecosystems.

We believe that a protected weedy seadragon in WA will be a well recognised, charismatic and emblematic species to increase community awareness of the need for marine conservation. We call on the WA government to grant full protection to the weedy seadragon.
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Thursday, May 26, 2011

It's planting time for 2011

We are well under way with our planting for 2011. You can see in the photos that on Friday 21st May the wet weather and strong wind did not deter a great team of enthusiastic and expert volunteers.

We were lucky to have a small team of Conservation Volunteers Australia help us on three days - very ably led by Steven. Thanks to Woodside for the sponsorship of this team. The photos were both taken on Friday - you will see us huddling in the rain enjoying a hot cuppa. The second photo is of a group of students from UWA's Guild Volunteering. Sally and her team lifted our spirits when they arrived in the afternoon. Speaking for myself I was flagging by then but their enthusiasm and hard work, despite the 'inclement' conditions, was fantastic! Now we hope for some more rain for the new seedlings.

Sally sent this post for our blog:
It was a rainy, windy Friday morning, but that didn’t stop a group of eight volunteers from UWA’s Guild Volunteering heading down to south Cottesloe beach to assist Cottesloe Coastcare Association in re-vegetating a section of the dunes. The students put in a full effort and had a great time, despite the wet weather, enthusiastically digging big holes and planting a variety of native flora. All the students agreed it was a fun and gratifying experience, and are keen to get involved with other CCA projects in the future.
Thanks very much, we had a great time!

Thanks to everyone - just another 2000 plants to go!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Congratulations to Mike Ewing

Photo - (L) Professor Michael Ewing, Cottesloe Mayor Kevin Morgan, Robert Churchill, Charles Murphy (R)
Wednesday 11th May was the annual Volunteers Sundowner at the beautiful, jarrah panelled Town Hall at the Cottesloe Civic Centre. Food and wine was served under pretty red chinese lanterns. Cottesloe's Mayor, Kevin Morgan, honoured the role played by the many volunteers in our community. Volunteers working in areas of sports, surf lifesaving, cancer support, the Toy library, Friends of the Library, Wearne Hostel, TAPPS, boy scouts, SOS, KCL, Earthcarers and Cottesloe Coastcare and many others, were acknowledged.

The Mayor then presented the 2011 Cottesloe Volunteer awards to ex-Mayor Charles Murphy for his long and distinguished role in local government and to Robert Churchill for his years of helping the elderly and frail in the community and for his work with Meals on Wheels.

A third award was presented to CCA's popular Chairman, Professor Mike Ewing. Kevin Morgan spoke about Mike's passion for plants at work and outside work. He said Mike is interested in sustainable farming practices and is widely respected in his field nationally and internationally. He has a particular passion for pasture legumes and continues to explore the use of different pasture plants in dry and saline areas to reduce erosion and to increase farm productivity.

This passion for plants led Mike to Cottesloe Coastcare, where he has been Chairman for over 10 ten years. Mike feels strongly that the work of Cottesloe Coastcare is worthwhile and he enjoys the friendships with the hardworking and creative members who each enthusiatically and efficiently carry out the range of roles that together make Cottesloe Coastcare such a tremendous organisation.

The Mayor also noted that Mike is a very practical person and is pretty handy with a spade! His success in planting the coastal plants in deep holes is legendary. He encourages everyone to dig out that extra spade or two of sand to allow plants to stabilise and grow in their micro environments, capturing any rain that falls and attracting blown humus. Success with these deep holes can be seen most recently at Mudurup rocks where the area has been transformed with robust plants despite an extremely low rainfall over their first growing season.

Congratulations to our Cottesloe Coastcare Chairman Mike Ewing.

(thanks to Vic Waters for the photo)

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Sunday, March 20, 2011

The watering team from Hale.

Leah, one of our enthusiastic Cottesloe Coastcare volunteers, sent me this post.

"On Friday morning 18 March I spent two delightful hours with volunteers from Coastcare, twenty five Year 6 boys from Hale School along with a couple of teachers and parents.

The exercise was to water some of the young native plants and this was achieved by filling a bucket from a large water container and carrying it to the plants as directed.

It was a joy to interact with these young lads and witness their enthusiasm. Once the procedure was explained they worked diligently to achieve the outcome that had been proposed. 

As I watched them happily go about the task, in the most orderly manner I could not help but smile to myself and think: "this group could build the Pyramids". A credit to all concerned".

Thanks to Leah for these notes, and a big thank you to Yr 6 teacher Mark Hoppe and colleagues, and all the boys - for a job well done.

After our working session I told the boys about our campaign to have the threatened weedy seadragon granted protected status in Western Australia. Many of the boys knew lots about this wonderful endemic fish. They told me that the male carried the eggs and that they were delicate creatures that were threatened by marine pollution. The boys said that 'weedies' should be left in the ocean and should not be collected for aquariums, where they usually die. We agree!!

Some of the boys said they would check out our face book page and give it the 'thumbs up'. ( you will find our petition on facebook)
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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Trinity triumphs - again!

Earlier this week CCA volunteers were very pleased that a team from UWA's Trinity Residential College gave us a hand. Tiny seedlings planted at Vlamingh 8 months ago are growing well despite this long hot and very dry summer. It has made a big difference that we have had good weed control at the site plus the fact that the seedlings have now received 4 good drinks since they were planted.

As you can see in the bottom photo, a weedy seadragon (photo) came to the working bee! The students showed interest in our campaign to have the endemic and fragile weedy seadragon protected in WA. Thanks to several students who have become facebook 'weedy fans'!!

Aaron Walker, the Senior Resident Advisor from Trinity Residential College sent this post for our blog:
"On Tuesday the 22nd of February around 20 residents from Trinity Residential College volunteered down at the Cottesloe beach front to assist in Coastcare's dune rehabilitation program. As part of our Community and Environment program, we took down some of our new residents, Resident Advisors and members of the Trinity Residents' Club to help volunteer during our O-Week activities. All those who attended agreed it was a rewarding experience."

Many thanks to you all and good wishes for a great study year.
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Monday, February 07, 2011

Sunday sessions

Cottesloe Coastcare's ' Sunday sessions' are working well. The working bees are held on the first Sunday morning in the month from 9am to 11am. Frauke has been a keen organiser of these sessions - a big thank you to Frauke and to Keith.

In this photo you might think that Lindsay is pretending to be a tree to keep the sun off Marion? In fact Lindsay is laying some brush material in eroding sections at Grant Marine Park. Unfortunately some people insist on walking into the restoration area, creating new tracks and destroying plants in the process. We attempt to close off most of these tracks to allow nature to recover.
Marion is burying (female) long leaved spinifex heads in a hope that they will germinate in these sandy exposed patches. Now we will wait for some rain and hope some of the seed germinates and the spinifex plants flourish.

Frauke and Keith are filling buckets for the rest of the team. We water small seedlings that are struggling through a hot and very dry summer. Mostly it is during their first summer when seedlings need some extra water.If they can survive that first summer they usually have developed a sufficient root system to be on their own after year one.

Corinne is giving special attention to some small plants - hopefully she took some time to enjoy the view too. A little different to Corinne's native land, England. Corinne is keen to do some snorkelling off our beautiful Cottesloe Reef -she will be especially on the look out for our precious weedy seadragons. Good luck Corinne!

Megan very kindly baked the best ever home made biscuits for morning tea - thanks Megan! Here you can see the hard working team enjoying a well earned rest at the end of another successful Sunday session.

Thanks to everyone involved.

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Saturday, January 29, 2011

Fairy-wrens in Cottesloe

Cottesloe residents Paul and Sally Nelson alerted Cottesloe Coastcare to two sightings of a group of Variegated Fairy-wrens on the Cottesloe foredunes recently. Sally says that they have not seen these beautiful small birds for many years and they are delighted to think they may be making a comeback to Cottesloe dunes.

David Taggart, who is a weed Contractor for Town of Cottesloe and a keen naturalist, also reported seeing a group of Variegated Fairy-wrens in early summer, at Cottesloe Native Garden.

The Variegated Fairy-wren (Malurus lamberti) (according to Micheal Morcombe's 'Field Guide to Australian Birds' and from Wikipedia information) survives across 90% of Australia, in many different habitats. Sally and Paul's photo (above) is taken from Marine Parade. The close up photo showing a male in breeding plumage is from Wikipedia.

click here for Wikipedia article

Non-breeding males and females do not have the breeding male's bright colours, they have brown-grey feathers. Apparently the birds live in co-operative groups and together defend their territories.

Male wrens pluck yellow petals from flowers and display them to attract females as part of courtship! Perhaps the fact that Cottesloe Coastcare volunteers have been planting many low wattles has been to the benefit of the wrens. Wrens need scrubby vegetation to hide from predators and for a safe place for nest building. The local vegetation re-introduced by Coastcare provides food and habitat for insects. The wrens main diet is insects. Sally and Paul are very concerned that some people still allow their dogs (and cats) to enter the dunes. Cats and dogs can be a severe threat to our local wildlife.

'Our Variegated Fairy-wrens' may be Malurus assimilis, M.elegans or perhaps M.pulcherrimus. Perhaps someone who knows more about birds than me might let us know to which race our wrens belong.

This is why CCA volunteers work so hard - our aim is to achieve a more robust and diverse ecosystem on the Cottesloe foreshore - so sightings such as these lift our spirits!
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Saturday, December 18, 2010

Hale boys and CCA - part 2

You can read in the previous posting about the wonderful work done at one of CCA project sites by the Year 6 boys from Hale School.

I asked some of the boys if they might send me an email with some feedback about the
session they had with us. You can read Massimo, Haseeb, Nick and Domenic's messages below:

"Coastcare is one of the many organisations that are dedicated to helping our beaches look better. We had the privilege of sharing that united goal as we helped Coastcare with many activities like watering and caring for the native plants. This all took place at Cottesloe Beach. Our contributions to Cottesloe Beach were recognised by the Coastcare staff and the community members of Cottesloe. Our Year 6 class thoroughly enjoyed working with Coastcare." Massimo Kirk & Haseeb Riaz

"Total fun, enjoyment and laughter the whole day and as a bonus helping the Perth
environment. Great cause and great feeling after woods. Gives you an new sense of understanding of care for the environment." Nick Kelly

“Helping with the Coastcare organisation was one of the best things I’ve ever done. Not because it was incredibly fun nor because we got a prize at the end of it but because of the great feeling that comes to you when you realise you have done something good. It gave me a sense of “Well I’m doing my bit. I’m giving back to our beautiful planet. And most importantly, I would come back and do it again and again and again.” Domenic Quail

Many thanks to Massimo, Haseeb, Nick and Domenic for their messages.
It means a great
deal to us that young people think that the work done by CCA volunteers is important and is appreciated by them ALSO that they felt good about lending a hand.
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Hale & CCA - a great team

Mark Hoppe and his Year 6 Hale School boys put in a great morning's work with CCA volunteers recently.

Just before school broke up for summer holidays the boys and their teachers made time to do some community work. Kate Sputore, the North Metro Coastcare Officer and Cottesloe Coastcare volunteers met the team near Vlamingh Memorial at our ' Caring for Our Country' project site.

The work for the day included hand watering approximately 2,500 seedlings, removing many bags full of weed seed heads and tidying up hundreds of plant guards.
Considering our very poor rains this year it was vital to give the seedlings an extra drink in the hope that this will help them make it through their first summer.

A big thank you to Mr Mark Hoppe and everyone else involved in an excellent job, so well done.
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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Tea Party with Synergy

During Melbourne Cup week Kate Sputore, the North Metro Coastcare Officer organised a celebratory morning tea party. The November 5th event marked the completion of Cottesloe Coastcare's Synergy funded project at Mudurup Rocks.

Six representatives from Synergy, joined CCA volunteers, contractors and Town of Cottesloe staff who have assisted in the project.

The top photo shows the verge area at Mudurup Rocks which is now planted out with local plant species and has been mulched to help the plants cope with their first summer. CCA volunteers have been hand weeding and hand watering all the plants at the site.

The group at morning tea included Carolyn Jenour - Coastal and Marine Program Manager Perth Region NRM, Stuart Knott (far left) of Cambridge Coastcare and the PRNRM Coast and Marine Sub-Region Rep; Craig Wilson (South Metro Coastcare Officer) and Barry McGuire (far right). Barry is the Indigenous Projects Officer with Perth Region NRM. Barry talked about the importance of Mudurup Rocks to Aboriginal people.
If you want to read an article by Ken Macintyre about this important Aboriginal site go to CCA's website :

The Synergy employees were pleased to see all the project achievements. Constantin Ortheil (second left) congratulated everyone involved. In his talk he made the comment that the use of local provenance green stock means that the plants are best adapted to local harsh conditions and salt laden winds.

This final photo shows the verge area as it was before the project commenced. This part of the site was like much of the area in that it was uncared for, covered in weeds and eroded badly in some sections. The new pine log fencing will provide some deterrant to damage from people and dogs. Rabbit control will assist in the survival of plants and a limestone retaining wall was constructed on the west side of the project area, to stop erosion.

Stands of weedy Victorian teatree were removed and replaced by approximately 3,500 seedlings of 20 different species.
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Friday, October 29, 2010

Buckets of donations from IGA

Buckets of Donations: from plastic bags to buckets.

Robyn Benken of Cottesloe Coastcare (CCA) was delighted to receive a cheque for $1,390 from Drew Randall, the owner of Cottesloe IGA. This is the second generous donation Cottesloe Coastcare has received from IGA. The money has been given by IGA customers when they take a paper bag at the store. CCA is a great supporter of Cottesloe IGA and Mosman Park IGA’s initiative to eliminate the use of single use plastic bags.

The forty new IGA buckets will be used by Cottesloe Coastcare volunteers to hand water 6,500 local seedlings which they planted over the last five months. After such poor winter rains the buckets will be well used this year. The remainder of the donation will pay for seedlings to be planted next autumn and winter.

Robyn said that "volunteers can only continue working towards restoration of the Cottesloe foreshore with on- going community support. The group is therefore extremely grateful to IGA.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Scotch College beach walk

On September 3 a group of Scotch College Year 9 students met up with Cottesloe Coastcare volunteers to collect rubbish at South Cottesloe and learn about marine life washed up on the beach.

We identified sea grass and many different sea weeds ( red, green and brown algae). We found lots of decomposed sponges, many cuttlebones, barnacles, various shells and sea urchins - just to mention a few finds!

Here you can see some of the boys holding a somewhat smelly fish, a dead crab and a cuttlefish bone.

In this photo Julie is telling us all about Curtin Uni's studies concerning marine pollution from anti-fouling agents used on boats. She told us that female marine snails developed male sex organs (imposex) as a result of exposure to toxic tributylin (TBT). TBT has been banned in WA since 1991. Recent studies at Fremantle's South Mole and at Garden Island have shown that the rate of imposex is now dropping considerably.

Thanks to Scotch College's Daniel Quinlivan and the Year 9's for their interest in CCA's work and thanks for the rubbish collection. We learnt together about the rich marine biodiversity in the ocean by studying some of the flotsam that comes ashore each winter.

If you want to learn more about what can be experienced on a beach walk go to:

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Friday, August 13, 2010

A day off!

After our big planting effort for 2010 some Cottesloe Coastcare volunteers with fellow Coastcarer friends -Rae and Walter from Stirling Coastcare, all decided to have a bush walk at Bold Park in the sunshine.

For those who may not know, Bold Park was established as a "place for the people" in 1936 and was named after William E. Bold who was Town Clerk of Perth from 1900 to 1944. The park was declared an A Class Reserve in 1998 and is now managed by the Botanic Garden and Parks Authority.

The total area is 437 hectares and there are over 1000 plant species present (300 of these are native).
There is also an abundance of wildlife with a big number of reptiles, amphibians and invertebrates. The excellent bird leaflet published by Birds Australia and BGPA states that Bold Park is an important refuge for over 80 species of birds. Many are resident all year but others are migratory or "sometime visitors".

We took the clearly marked, 5km Zamia Trail on Monday 9th August and as you can see in the photos the native wisteria (Hardenbergia comptoniana) was flowering beautifully, wreathing a Firewood banksia (Banksia menziesii) in the photo above; and in the photo opposite, (with a glimpse of the Indian Ocean behind) the native wisteria is growing over a coastal daisy bush (Olearia axillaris).

Several wattle species had started to flower. In this photo the walkers are admiring the bright sunshine yellow of a dune wattle (Acacia lasiocarpa) or dune moses (Acacia pulchella) - I can't remember which species this particular plant was!

No Cottesloe Coastcare activity is complete without a cuppa so we gathered on the top of Reabold Hill for our tea and cake. The short boardwalk with its excellent interpretive signage and wonderful views is well worth the visit if you have not discovered this beautiful spot yet!

It was also a farewell to Nacho (second left) as he is returning to Spain after 3 months in Perth with his partner. He has given us much of his time and has been an important member of our winter planting team.
Adiós y gracias Nacho.
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