Coastal Moonah Woodlands are identifiable by the presence of Moonah trees, with their gnarly wind-twisted branches, as well as other dominant species like Coast Wirilda, Coast Tea-Tree and Coast Beard-heath.
Prior to European settlement, it is thought that Coastal Moonah Woodland may have stretched as far as 5km inland in some areas. Unfortunately, much of this unique plant community has been lost due to clearing and fragmentation, with less than 10% of its original distribution remaining in Victoria. The Coastal Moonah Woodland plant community is now listed as threatened under the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988.
A series of acts of environmental vandalism have made students more determined to help protect the coastal environment. Unfortunately, hundreds of stakes and tree guards were removed from conservation sites over summer with a Spring Creek revegetation area in Torquay almost stripped bare.
Illegal behaviour on coastal reserves such as lighting fires, littering and destroying vegetation is impacting the environment and sparking safety concerns, with the Jan Juc clifftops a particular problem zone. Read more →
The Surf Coast Nature Search (SCNS), an interactive, online search tool for identifying weeds and indigenous plants in our region, has been launched.
The online resource, which has been developed by local volunteer group Jan Juc Coast Action (JJCA), is a detailed database of hundreds of indigenous plants and environmental weeds on the coast between Point Impossible and Bells Beach.
Users are able to search based on a range of criteria including plant type, flower colour, size, leaf shape and more.
JJCA Chairperson Luke Hynes said the website is a great local asset for locals that will help support an increase in environmental awareness.
“The SCNS database has been a dream of the JJCA group for many years,” he said.
To date, JJCA volunteers have added 181 plant species to database, which is expected to grow as species are added and the tool extends to include fauna and cover more areas of the Surf Coast.
“It’s exciting to think that people with a limited understanding of botanical terms will now be able to identify local plants, pinpoint environmental weeds in their backyard and learn more about the environmental impacts and benefits of particular species,” said Mr. Hynes.
JJCA group volunteer Graeme Stockton said one of the aims of the database is to help coastal property owners create environmentally friendly gardens.
“The SCNS is a simple tool for identifying environmental weeds in your garden and selecting indigenous alternatives,” he said.
Weeds, which easily escape from local gardens, have been identified as the number one threat to the natural environment on the coast due to their ability to out compete indigenous species.
“Indigenous plants are vital, providing vital habitat for local birds and animals,” said Mr. Stockton.
Mr Hynes said the group had worked hard with locally based web design experts Boojum to ensure the platform was as interactive and easy to navigate as possible.
“Our biggest challenge was trying to incorporate complex plant characteristics in a searchable format that is flexible and user friendly,” he said.