Sunday, March 08, 2009

Sharing Experiences Sustains and Encourages Coastcarers

On Saturday, 7 March 2009 five Cottesloe Coastcarers joined about 15 other volunteers, contractors, students and Coastcare Officers for a fascinating workshop on the Rehabilitation of Coastal Dunes at the Kwinana Recquatic Centre. Craig Wilson, the Coastcare Officer for the South Metropolitan Region set the scene with his presentation on the planning of coastal rehabilitation projects

which gave us some useful hints on how to improve our own application for our 2009/10 Coastwest Project. Christopher Lukes, the Coastwest Coordinator at DPI added to this information and made us aware of some of the bureaucratic hurdles that need ingenuity to overcome.

With Julia Cullity from DEC we all tried to identify the numerous plants she had brought to demonstrate how often the 'goodies' are very similar to the 'baddies' and that it takes some sharpening of perception to be able to tell the difference.

This very hands-on, practical and useful approach was also taken by David Bright, a contractor with Environmental Services who had been involved in long-term coastal rehabilitation in the Coogee Beach area. His experiences confirmed some of CCA's and it was particularly encouraging to learn that the lifespans of weed seedbanks on dunes are relatively short so that we can actually expect to eventually get rid of our pet hates (i.e. Tetragonia decumbens and Pelargonium capitatum).

His success rates were impressive and he confirmed our deep-planting practice - he was particularly successful with planting cuttings of Spinifex hirsutus up to half a metre deep into the sand. These plants proved amazingly effective in trapping moving sand and increased the height of a foredune by 1.5 metres within a relatively short time.

David was emphatic about long-term planning, especially with respect to pre-planting weed control and seed collecting. He recommended ordering plants from nurseries in September in time for planting in mid-May, surprisingly early. His plants thrived on being watered regularly for the first year and not at all after that.
At the end of his presentation we went to the area he had been talking about and we could see for ourselves that his plants looked very healthy and there were comparatively few weeds. We were impressed.

Apart from the information gained from the presenters, it is always great to talk and network with other passionate coastcarers.

A big thank you to the organisers and the sponsors who made this whole day workshop possible and provided the food and drinks.

(Photos by Robyn Benken)

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Cleaning up Cottesloe

This week we had a clean up Australia (Fri)day as well as a Clean up Australia Day!
On Friday 27th February about 30 volunteers from the Business Assurance section at Pricewaterhouse Coopers joined CCA for a beach clean up. You can see in the photo above the many bags of rubbish collected along Cottesloe's main beach in just two hours. Many thanks to all the good folk from PwC for their on-going commitment to helping community groups care for the environment. Thanks too for donating some great work gloves to Cottesloe Coastcare. We have 2,500 seedlings to plant during the autumn and winter of 2009 so the smart new gloves will be very useful indeed! The $8 found and handed to Cottesloe Coastcare will buy three more local seedlings to plant this year. (click on photos to enlarge)

Sunday 1st March was Clean Up Australia Day. Jade Hankin, Town of Cottesloe's Sustainability Officer organised a site at Cottesloe beach for volunteers to meet, equipment, registration and fruit nourishment! An enthusiastic team of adults and children donned gloves, and armed with recycling and rubbish bags we all set off to collect garbage from the beach, along fences and the hundreds of bottles and cans thrown among the vegetation. There were dozens of bottles and cans thrown into the teatrees and wattles of John Black Dune Park, to the west of the Cottesloe tennis courts. We were upset to find so much broken glass and rubbish in this area. Many bottles had their necks broken off and were buried in the sand with the jagged glass sticking out, so we had to be very careful removing this dangerous litter. Sadly bottles broken and buried in this manner are not an uncommon find on the beach as well. Most empty and broken bottles found at John Black Dune Park were beer bottles or bottles of alcoholic drinks.

Town of Cottesloe has twice weekly rubbish pick-ups and large sums of ratepayers funds are spent on rubbish collection and campaigns to draw attention to rubbish pollution and the environmental costs of litter. It is extremely upsetting to find that so many people continue to "Rubbish Cottesloe" and that the litter messages are simply not getting through to many people.


Captain Clean-Up (pictured above) called in to say Hi and congratulate all the workers for their excellent work. He arrived bearing fruit icy-poles for us all, and these were greatly appreciated as it had been hot and sweaty work. Quentin is showing some of the children a small lizard (West coast ctenotus) which had crawled into a bottle chasing dregs of fluid and had died unable to escape. We often find lizards dead inside drink bottles and this is yet another reason to place rubbish in bins provided. The children were very upset about the dead lizard.
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