Eco burn for Jan Juc cliffs

Jan Juc Coast Action (JJCA) has partnered with the local CFA to conduct an ecological burn as part of a trial to investigate how important grasslands respond to different treatments.

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Torquay CFA volunteers performing controlled ecological burns at Jan Juc

A five year ecological burn plan has been developed between JJCA group and Torquay CFA in an effort to optimise the flora vegetation at the Jan Juc cliffs.

The conservation plan is designed to increase overall biodiversity in the area by allowing plants time to set seed before the second fire.

Local CFA volunteer monitors the planned burn to ensure the fire remains under control.

Australian flora needs fire for plants to seed and regenerate evolving from thousands of years of controlled burns by Indigenous Australians.

JJCA Chairperson – Luke Hynes is hopeful the ecological burns will improve the coastal vegetation along the cliffs and was grateful for the local CFA support.

“Our main challenge organising the ecological burns was finding a day to complete the burn when the weather is appropriate.

“We rely on fantastic local CFA volunteers to undertake the burns and really appreciate the time they put in,” he said.

Six CFA volunteers helped clear the tussock grasses to create space for other native species.

The fire creates space between native grasses which allows smaller, indigenous herbs and plants room to grow.

Torquay CFA Captain, Phil Campbell was pleased at the outcome of the ecological burn, and said that the day was well organised and uncomplicated.

“We were very lucky with the wind and weather conditions. It was a coincidence that the weather on the day was perfect for burning, which made it a lot easier for us to control,” he said.

Mr Hynes is eager to see the results from the initial burn and hopes more native species will grow in the area.

“The Jan Juc cliffs were revegetated over 10 years ago with positive results, so hopefully we will be able to see a larger variety of herbs and grasses regrow along the cliffs,” he said.

The JJCA group is particularly interested in whether the fire will increase populations of the native rare orchid, Swamp Diuris, in the area.

Funds has been provided by the Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne to collect and grow seeds of the rare orchid and the JJCA group hopes the ecological burn will improve the populace.

The JJCA group works to preserve and revegetate the Jan Juc coastline with Indigenous species and the removal of environmental weeds.

Ongoing environmental conservation works are being conducted in the are to help combat erosion, pest invasion and the provision of tracks and lookouts.

Check out the JJCA Facebook page to keep up to date with what’s happening along the cliffs.

Are you fire ready for this summer? Share your tips of how you keep your home safe in the comments below. 

World Environmental Day, Every Day!

Did you know it was World Environmental Day (WED) yesterday? WED is all about encouraging involvement from the local community and celebrating the wonderful work of individuals.

We’re so lucky to live in such a beautiful area and sometimes we forget to stop and thank the people that help make this possible.

The wonderful work our local environmental groups do for our community doesn’t go unnoticed and we would like to personally thank each and every individual who has made a positive contribution within our region.

Who says volunteering has an age limit? These two little helpers did their bit in keeping Australia beautiful during last years Clean Up Australia Day.
Who says volunteering has an age limit? These two little helpers did their bit in keeping Australia beautiful during last years Clean Up Australia Day.

Why wait for a special day to show your appreciation? Anyone can make small gestures of gratitude every single day of the year.

Do you know someone who works hard in the area, not expecting anything back for it? Why not tap them on the shoulder today and let them know what a great job they’re doing? It doesn’t cost anything and they are sure to appreciate it… Whether they admit it or not!

For a list of some local groups making waves in the community, or to find out if volunteering is for you, click here.

Education and Activities Leader Hillary Bouma (left) gets her hands dirty with Conservation Officer Georgie Beale
Education and Activities Leader Hillary Bouma (left) gets her hands dirty with Conservation Officer Georgie Beale

Keen to get involved but not sure where to go from here? Find all the answers you are looking for through the GORCC website or click here to check out our insightful video.

Pretty little menace

A pretty perennial which features in many private gardens is invading coastal environments and proving that looks can be deceiving.

The Cape Tulip (Moraea flaccida) is a popular garden plant that features salmon pink or orange flowers and is available for purchase at a wide range of garden centres and nurseries.

The Cape Tulip may look innocent, but it is actually a noxious weed.
The Cape Tulip may look innocent, but it is actually a noxious weed.

It’s therefore not surprising that many coastal residents don’t realise they are harbouring a noxious weed on their property.

Great Ocean Road Coast Committee (GORCC) Conservation Office Georgie Beale said the Cape Tulip, which grows from a bulb, is a particular problem in the Aireys Inlet area.

“This noxious weeds competes with and replaces indigenous species that provide habitat for native fauna by restricting their growth and regeneration.”

“The Cape Tulip spreads by a number of methods including via wind and running water and the movement of soil.

“The corms (underground plant stems) and seeds can also be carried by the wool or fur and feet of animals or through green waste disposal,” she said.

cape tulip Habitat
An example of typical Cape Tulip habitat and spread.

Ms. Beale said that GORCC’s Environment and Land Management Plan found that the most significant issue facing the natural environment along the coast is the impact of weeds.

“We have been working with local volunteer groups ANGAIR and Friends of Aireys Inlet Coastal Reserve to control the spread of weeds like Cape Tulip for years through spraying and other methods,” she said.

Attempts to manage the weed have been successful however work is hampered by the persistent spread from private and other property.

“Attempting to control the problem in isolation is not an effective strategy so we work with partnering bodies as part of the Otway Eden Project such as the Department of Environment and Primary Industries.

“We have also approached and discussed the problem with adjacent landholders in the area,” said Ms. Beale.

The Cape Tulip spreads easily and can be carried by wind, water, soil or animals.
The Cape Tulip spreads easily and can be carried by wind, water, soil or animals.

Ms. Beale encouraged landholders on the coast to identify the Cape Tulip and remove it from their garden.

“Small, isolated pockets can be dug up and disposed of, however large areas may need spraying,” she said.

For more information on weeds on the coast download Environmental Weeds Invaders of the Surf Coast Shire online or visit

This article appeared in the Surf Coast Times Green the  Coast Column.


Have you spotted Cape Tulip in your garden or on the coast??


Deal with waste responsibly

Incorrect disposal and illegal dumping of rubbish costs our coast both environmentally and economically, but there are simple steps we can all take to reduce the impact.

Disposal of household waste in public bins, general waste contaminating recycling and illegal rubbish dumping are having a major toll on coastal environments and come at a huge financial coast to local authorities, consuming funds that could be spent elsewhere.

GORCC education activity leader Hilary Bouma and conservation officer Georgie Beale demonstrate responsible recycling.
GORCC education activity leader Hilary Bouma and conservation officer Georgie Beale demonstrate responsible recycling.

Great Ocean Road Coast Committee (GORCC) Coastal Reserves Manager Rod Goring said the problem was ongoing, despite work undertaken to encourage responsible rubbish disposal and the provision of recycling and general waste bins across campgrounds and coastal reserves.

“A large amount of household waste is often disposed of in public bins provided for beachgoers.

“Not only is this illegal, but it causes overflow and litter on our beaches is not only visually horrible but threatens coastal flora and fauna and the marine environment.

“Additionally, contamination of recycling is a constant issue, and we urge all coastal users to familiarise themselves with what can and can’t be recycled.

Recyclable materials include glass containers, some plastics, cardboards, paper and metal including steel or aluminum cans.

“Many may not realize that plastic bags, plastic wrap and food containers with food scraps, are not recyclable and cause contamination.

“Our contractors face heavy fines for delivery of non-recyclables to the depot and, unfortunately, some heavily contaminated bins have to be emptied into general waste and sent to landfill,” he said.

Equally concerning is the illegal dumping of rubbish directly onto coastal reserves, with large amounts of hard rubbish being discovered on our coast on a regular basis.

“From pianos and televisions through to paint cans and asbestos, it is unbelievable what people will leave on beautiful beaches that are so highly valued by the community,” said Mr. Goring.

Great Ocean Road Coast Committee Outdoor Works Supervisor, Phil Brown with a piano that was illegally dumped near the Point Impossible nudist beach in Torquay.
Great Ocean Road Coast Committee Outdoor Works Supervisor, Phil Brown with a piano that was illegally dumped near the Point Impossible nudist beach in Torquay.

Waste disposal sites are made available at several coastal locations and allow the drop off of household garbage and a range of recyclable materials.

“All coastal users, including campers, visitors and holiday home owners are encouraged to use these facilities and minimise the amount of rubbish that ends up on the beaches.

“The council also has drop –off collection points for holiday home owners at Torquay, Anglesea and Lorne,” said Mr.Goring

If you notice any illegal rubbish dumping or to report any rubbish or litter contact the GORCC office on 5220 5055, or the Surf Coast Shire on 5261 0600.  Littering from vehicles can be reported to EPA Victoria by calling the Littering Hotline on 1800 372 842 or visiting

This story featured in the Surf Coast Times Green the Coast Column.

Visit GORCC’s website for more information on rubbish dumping and local laws and regulations to protect our coast.

Related blog posts:

  107Rubbish dumping still a threat to our coast

 Top tips to care for the coast

 IMG_0685Illegal rubbish dumping damages sensitive coast
1362014657_KABwhitebackground Keeping beautiful starts with you

Wildlife require expert care

The public  should transfer sick, injured or orphaned native animals into expert care as soon as possible.

DSE Wildlife Officers are particularly concerned about a growing trend of injured wildlife being cared for by members of the public without authorisation, according to a media release from the Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE).

DSE North East Wildlife Officer Gary Dash said during the next few months the numbers of juvenile wildlife requiring care will increase across the region.

“Baby magpies, possums, kangaroos, wallabies, wombats and other animals are commonly found at this time of year and may require help from trained wildlife carers before they can be returned to the wild

“Inappropriate care by members of the public, who think they are doing the right thing, can significantly decrease an animal’s chance of recovery.

“In some cases, even if the animal recovers from the initial injury or illness, it may have developed behaviours that mean it cannot be released back into the wild.

“Wildlife has specialised handling, dietary and housing requirements and cannot be treated in the same way as domestic pets or livestock.

“To give injured wildlife the best chance of survival and release back into the wild, it is vital they receive the right treatment and handling and that they are kept in an appropriate environment,” Mr Dash said.

If you find a sick or injured animal contact Wildlife Victoria or your nearest animal shelter.

Under the Wildlife Act (1975) the unlawful possession of protected wildlife can result in a maximum fine of $7042 and/or 6 months imprisonment.

People who find injured or orphaned wildlife can contact their nearest animal shelter by phoning Help for Wildlife 0417 380 687 or Wildlife Victoria 1300 094 535 (13 000 WILDLIFE).

Here’s a few simple tips on how you can help to protect our wildlife:

Many wildlife species call our local their home. Here is a small pictorial sample of just some of them.

Have you come across any sick or injured wildife on the coast recently?

Related blog posts:

 Look out for wonderful wildlife

Who let the cats out?


Precious babies on our beaches


Top Tips to Care for the Coast

Here are a few simple tips that will help you to protect our beautiful coast and ensure everyone can continue to enjoy it.

4 tips to look after the environment

  1. Understand boating practices (dispose of waste correctly including sewerage).
  2. Minimize the amount of rubbished generated by reusing bags and using recyclable materials.
  3. Use environmentally friendly cleaning products
  4. Become a volunteer. Get in touch with one of these coastal environmental volunteer groups to get involved.
Dogs are only allowed off their leash in certain areas

4 tips to look after wildlife

  1. When boating, whales, dolphins and seals stay at least 100m away – the sea is their home.
  2. Rock pools are homes to plants, so return overturned rocks to their original position and don’t disrupt the habitats of marine life.
  3. Ensure dogs are on leashes on the beach and avoid dog prohibited areas. This will ensure wildlife, such as the Hooded Plover – an endangered little Aussie bird battling to survive, are protected.
  4. If you see an injured animal the best thing you can do is call the right people immediately. If they are alive call DSE on 136 186; they have a customer service center which will direct you to the closest local animal shelter or refuge.
    – for more information on what to do with sick or injured animals click here.
Stay out of the dunes and keep your dog on a leash and you will be helping to protect nesting birds like the endangered Hooded Plover. Source: Dean Ingwersen

3 tips to look after plant-life

  1. Keep on designated pathways when walking to and from the beach to protect the vegetation.
  2. Take care to avoid sand dunes as they are fragile ecosystems which are home to precious native vegetation and many  habitats.
  3. Be sure to look out for noxious weeds – they start off in your garden and from there they invade the coast! For more information on noxious weeds click here.
Signs have been put up around the Surf Coast to ensure visitors stay off the dunes in order to protect plant-life and habitats

Inspiration for this post came from ’50 Ways to Care for our Coast’, a publication by Coast Care.

For more tips on how to protect our coast click here.

Related Blog Posts:

Don’t be a butt with your cigarette!
Who let the cats out:
Beachgoers and dunes at risk: 


Precious babies on our beaches

Weed Profile: Boneseed

Boneseed (Chrysanthemoides monilifera ssp. monilifera) is one of the worst weeds in Australia because of its severe environmental impacts. This killer is invasive and has a threatening potential to spread rapidly.

Boneseed is a declared noxious weed in Victoria – it endangers rare and threatened plants.

Perhaps the most worrying aspect of Boneseed is that it thrives in coastal areas. It favours sandy soils and tolerates saline conditions.

Boneseed is recognizable by its erect, woody, evergreen shrub that can grow to 3m. The fleshy leaves are an elongated oval shape with toothed edges. When flowering, they have yellow daisy petals that grow in clusters. Boneseed also has round, green and black berries, each containing a seed.


–          Invades dunes and coastal areas;

–          Grows in most soil types and tolerates a wide range of climates;

–          Rapidly regrows after a disturbance;

–          Alters habitat and shifts food plants of native animals; and

–          Can restrict access to beaches, parks and trails.

It is for these reasons, along with the alarming fact that it has no natural enemies in Australia, that Boneseed has so rapidly invaded many areas of Victoria. It is now in mid-winter that the plant flowers and it is NOW that you need to take control before the killer takes over your garden.

What can you do to protect your area from Boneseed?

Boneseed is difficult to clear, it is very hardy and can withstand salt spray. Report an infestation to your local weeds officer.

It is easy to join a local Landcare of Coastcare group to remove Boneseed. Contact the State Landcare Coordinator on (03) 96378033 or see –

If you want more information regarding Boneseed and other weeds go to The Weeds Australia website – here

More information about weeds and how to protect the coast from them is available here.

Below is a video about the importance of protecting our coast.

Information for this blog came from the Victorian Government, Victorian Department of Primary Industries and National Bitou Bush and Boneseed Management Group flyer.

Holiday fun on the coast for all

Looking for activities for the kids these school holidays? Perhaps activities that are not only fun but educational and with an environmental message might be just what you are after.

Get out and about and have some fun on the holidays and learn about the environment as well!

There’s so many options for holiday fun on the coast- one example is Parks Victoria’s holiday program – with  activities being held over the school holiday period between 7 July and 14 July at a variety of locations along the Surf Coast and Great Ocean Road (including Pt Addis and Urqharts Bluff) and across Victoria as part of their Junior Ranger program.

Activities include bushwalking and beach discoveries, and are suitable for primary school-aged children and their families.  They also have some DIY activities for both indoors and out.

The Marine Discovery Centre is also running free activities with Rockpool Rambles being held on the coast, find out more here. 

You can have fun and learn about the coast these school holidays either out and about or in the comfort of your own home!


If its cold and wintery you can have fun at home on a rainy day using our free printable activities like board games puzzles and brain-teasers that are not only educational but fun for all ages.

If the weather is fine, you could head out and discover the coast, find inspiration for an activity trail and discover the Surf Coast Walk here or explore the wonders of the Eagle Rock Marine Sanctuary and Split Point Lighthouse here.

For a comprehensive list of school holiday activities on offer throughout the state visit the Victorian Government’s School Holiday Activities Page here.

Are you getting out and about on the coast these holidays? Share your stories!

Anglesea heath back to its former glory

The coastal reserve above the Anglesea Surf Club has undergone a remarkable environmental transformation, thanks to a five-year project carried out by students and volunteers.

Year nine students from St Bernard’s College and Anglesea Coast Action (ACA) volunteers have spent more than 700 hours restoring the heathland back to its natural state. Students and volunteers met regularly at the site to remove the weeds with loppers and saws.

A big thank you to the St Bernard’s students and volunteers who spent over 700 hours restoring the area above the Anglesea Surf Club.

Why did this site need attention?

The site’s Indigenous vegetation was damaged during the 1983 Ash Wednesday bushfires and struggled to recover due to the quick regrowth of weeds.

Carl Rayner, secretary of ACA, said only small amounts of biodiversity remained in the reserve when the project began.

“The area has gone from a weed-infested coastal reserve with half a dozen species to a thriving heathland, which is now home to over 110 species of Indigenous plants,” he said.

“The result is amazing and I have never seen a transformation quite like it before.”

Vice president of Anglesea and Aireys Inlet Society for the protection of Flora and Fauna (ANGAIR), Neil Tucker, said the weeding work meant smothered native vegetation was able to germinate again and grow naturally.

“A wonderful variety of native plants have bloomed in the area including orchids, which no one knew were there,” he said.

How do St Bernard’s students give back to the environment? 

St Bernard’s campus director, Mark Smith, said the program taught the students about the need for everyone to take responsibility for the protection and preservation of the natural environment.

“We wanted them to contribute to an ongoing community project that fitted with our theme of environmental awareness – and the project was a perfect fit,” he said.

“The students are all from the city and spend four weeks at the school’s Santa Monica Campus each year. The students have benefited by gaining a better understanding of the coastal environment, especially in terms of learning about what plants are Indigenous and why it is advisable to plant them – and how invasive species have affected the coast and dunes.”

Year 9 student Josh Saliba is one of many St Bernard’s College students who have helped restore Anglesea Heath back to its natural state.

What other benefits have emerged from the project?

Mr Rayner said plenty of positive feedback had been received about the restored site.

“The view from the nearby lookout is magnificent and people have said to me that it’s now arguably one of the best views along the Great Ocean Road.”

The project was made possible through Great Ocean Road Coast Committee, ACA and ANGAIR funding.

Have you seen the coastal reserve above the Anglesea Surf Club recently?

Tell us what you think of the transformation!

Want to get involved in GORCC’s Environmental Education Program for schools? Click here for more information.

Interested in protecting and preserving the coast? Find out more about environmental volunteering on the coast here.

Check out what other local schools have done lately to protect our beautiful coast.

Action and art for conservation

Queens Park blitz a group effort