Local community groups within the Surf Coast and Bellarine have received a share of over $40, 000 in State Government funding.
The Coastcare Victoria Community Grants Program aims to support local action that protects and enhances coastal environments.
In 2014, local groups including Jan Juc Coast Action, ANGAIR, Torquay Coast Action and Surfers Appreciating Natural Environment have all been recognised and received funding for their conservation projects.
Local environmental volunteer group ANGAIR has received $2, 000 to count towards re-establishing threatened Moonah Woodlands in Anglesea – a project the group has been working on in partnership with GORCC for more than 7 years.
ANGAIR volunteer Bill McKellar said the group had just 200m of site left to rehabilitate, with the funding set to help complete the project.
“When we started, coastal tea tree – a native to Australia but non-indigenous to the area and an invasive weed – had taken over.
“The occasional Moonah and Bearded Heath had survived, however, they were stretched to the limit and competing for space,” he said.
Mr McKellar said the project had been worth seven years of hard work and dedication.
“The results are magic – it really is extraordinary,” he said.
GORCC conservation officer Georgie Beale said the project was one of GORCC’s most successful restoration projects.
“The increase in biodiversity has been significant.
“As their habitat is re-established, native fauna are moving back into the area as evidenced by the increase in tracks and burrows on the site,” she said.
Schools are also playing an important part in the project.
“Many school groups have supported the works through the GORCC Environmental Education Program including Christian College and St Bernard’s College who have dedicated many hours to the project over several years,” she said.
Mr McKellar said the work has resulted in the return of indigenous flora as well.
“Satin Everlasting (Helichrysum Leucopsideum) – a very pretty flower – has reappeared on the site. This is the only place it can be found on the Surf Coast,” he said.
Department of Education and Primary Industries Coastcare co-ordinator Alex Sedger said the contribution of volunteers was integral to coastal management.
“All volunteers are passionate about their special patches, and often work without asking anything for their efforts,” she said.
Want to get involved? Find out more about coastal, environmental volunteering here. ANGAIR welcomes new volunteers, and information on the group and the upcoming Wildflower Weekend can be found at angair.org.au.