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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