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)


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