Volunteers Restore Coastal Heathland


Most would agree the coastal environment along the Great Ocean Road is arguably one of the most beautiful natural locations in the world. The region is bursting with spectacular sights of dramatic cliffs, huge surf, and pristine beaches all delicately highlighted by one of Australia’s largest collections of indigenous flora and fauna.

Part of the reason the region stays so beautiful is many hardworking volunteer groups contribute hours of their time to protect, maintain and enhance the coastline we all love.  One such group is the dedicated members of the Anglesea Coast Action group.  You might have spotted them hard at work every second Saturday of the month planting indigenous species, controlling environmental weeds, developing walking tracks, preventing coastal and dune erosion and encouraging the growth of indigenous vegetation.

Over the past four years the group has been working on a project to restore the well known Anglesea heathlands which are renowned for their large diversity of wildflowers including strikingly coloured native orchids.  In November 2006 Anglesea Coast Action in partnership with ANGAIR Inc were successful in obtaining a Natural Heritage Trust Envirofund Grant of $15,700 to restore the original heathland vegetation between Anglesea Surf Club and the “Pullover” Lookout on the Great Ocean Road.

Above are historical photos of the area. (PLEASE PUT YOUR CURSOR ON EACH OF THE ABOVE HISTORICAL PHOTOS TO REVEAL THE CAPTION AND YEAR TAKEN)

The Problem

In 2006 the heathland was completely engulfed by environmental weeds and it was obvious that unless the weeds were removed quickly the original indigenous vegetation would be totally destroyed.  Environmental weeds including Coastal Tea Tree, Sweet Hakea and Giant Honey-myrtle invaded the site, smothering and killing most of the indigenous vegetation.

PHOTOS ABOVE SHOW THE SIZE OF THE ENVIRONMENTAL WEED COASTAL TEA TREE AND THE SWEET HAKEA (ANOTHER ENVIRONMENTAL WEED).  ON REMOVAL INDIGENOUS VEGETATION BEGAN TO GERMINATE (SEE SLIDES BELOW)

The Results

The ongoing devotion to the project has produced outstanding results.  The diversity of the regenerating flora has been excellent with at least 90% of the site now restored.  The soil on the site has become more moist and warm with the removal of environmental weeds and these conditions are ideal for germination of soil borne seed and the germination of heathland plants has been prodigious.  Since the project began, there has already been a list of more than 100 indigenous plants that have re-established.

The success of this project can also be attributed to the support received from the many students at St Bernards Catholic Boys College in Essendon. The schools Santa Monica campus for their year 9 students is located at Big Hill near Eastern View.  Groups of visiting students were involved in regular working bees with Anglesea Coast Action roughly every 6 weeks.

PHOTOS ABOVE SHOW PROGRESS AT PEGGED AREAS OF THE SITE IN  THE FOLLOWING ORDER:

  • Peg 5 2008, Peg 5 2009
  • Peg 8 2008, Peg 8 2009
  • Peg 10 2008, Peg 10 2009
  • View of Anglesea Clifftop now

How You Can Help

Volunteers are always needed to ensure our coastlines are properly maintained.  If you have some spare time and are the kind of person who gets satisfaction out of restoring indigenous vegetation to its original condition, or you love getting back to nature, then you can get involved. The Anglesea Coast Action group meets the second Saturday of every month at 9am at the Motor Yacht Club, Pt Roadknight, followed by a working bee from 10am till midday.

For more information contact Carl Rayner on 5263 2193 or 9331 2810, email: crayner3@gmail.com.

Story provided by Carl Rayner, Anglesea Coast Action.

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