Thursday, September 21, 2006

Recent working bees


Spring and wildflowers are synonymous but the subject of weeds looms large on Coastcarers minds too! We spend many hours carefully targeting troublesome weed species. Most weeding is done by hand but occasionally herbicides must be used - see Frauke's recent article on 'black Flag' to read about a weed where herbicides are required when there is a large infestation.

On Wednesday 30th August we had an all day working bee at our Vlamingh Memorial project site in South Cottesloe, with an international group of volunteers from Conservation Volunteers Australia
plus a group of Murdoch students who are studying Marine Conservation Policy & Coastal Sustainability. We hand weeded Pelargonium capitatum (rose pelargonium) and added a thick layer of mulch around plants at the top of the memorial - to help the plants cope with the dry summer ahead. We also fixed up lots of the plant guards, which had been knocked about by the wind. The seedlings we planted in July are at present looking great and last year's plants are terrific! A big thank you to everyone for all their hard work on the day. Morning tea time pictured below.
We had two working bees on September 6th and 20th at the Cottesloe Native Garden on Broome Street, next to the Seaview Kindy. We hand delivered leaflets to all the neighbours and did our utmost to rally helpers but in the end we were just six people who did our best to to eliminate the carnation weed and blue lupin weeds from the site.
This area is a precious remnant of Cottesloe (limestone) ridge vegetation and even now, despite worsening weed problems, there are representatives of 30 local plant species still surviving in the area.
The naturalist Robert Powell undertook a plant survey in 1983 and at that time there were 37 naturally occuring plants at the site. Starting the same year, a group of interested local people championed by Mary and Eddie Edwards, weeded, did some planting and maintained the native garden for many years. The section closest to the kindergarten was planted with some non-local species but mostly local plants were chosen. Hakea prostrata is pictured below.
Tuesday 19th September was an excellent afternoon working bee at Grant Marine Park, in North Cottesloe.
During the afternoon students from Murdoch joined us and two WAAPA students interviewed the team as part of their studies and made a video about our local environmental volunteers. We weeded blue lupins and garden daisy and applied locally obtained mulch material around some of the small seedlings.
While we were weeding a Nankeen Kestrel hovered overhead - this bird is featured on our CCA logo. It pleases us to know that our efforts are contibuting towards restoring local biodiversity to the foreshore and that a more robust ecosystem is developing which in turn will support local bugs and butterflies, birds and insects.

Cottesloe Coastcare volunteers have spent hundreds of hours since July 2002 working at Grant Marine Park. Funding has been received from Coastwest, Envirofund and Town of Cottesloe. Part of the project was a Management Plan for the North Cottesloe Foreshore - you can read the M.P. on our website ( see the website link at the top of this page). When we look at the photos in our album it is great to see the level of restoration which has been achieved so far.

A brief summary of what has been achieved at the site includes the closing of many informal paths across the dune and the building of formal paths and a lookout. The children's play equipment was moved out of the natural area on to the lawns, a weed barrier was installed across the back of the dune - to keep lawn grasses separated from the coastal vegetation, some fencing built to channel foot traffic, dogs and bikes also rabbit control is continuing.
We have set up plant identification signs and made a herbarium collection of all 21 species of local plants remaining on the site. Cottesloe Coastcare volunteers have collected seed from the site each summer and we have planted approximately 2,700 seedlings over four winters. The survival of the seedlings has been excellent on the east side where there is some protection from the wind and competition from weeds has not been so fierce. On the west side of the dune many plants struggle but are growing slowly. People tramping over the dune has mostly ceased, there is an increased number of people controlling their dogs and the dumping of garden rubbish is decreasing markedly. A group of local Coastcare residents take some ownership for the Park and are prepared to continue hand weeding and maintaining the area. We enjoy watching its transformation from a weed infested, eroded place to an area where local plants are beginning to flourish and with the plants we anticipate an increase in insect, bird and reptile life.

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