Community collaborates on coastal restoration

Article image - Community collaborates on coastal restoration Community groups provide essential help with revegetating local landscapes.

Over the past two years Shire of Esperance, in collaboration with South Coast Natural Resource Management (SCNRM), the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA), and Esperance Tjaltjraak Native Title Aboriginal Corporation (ETNTAC), has been working hard to rehabilitate degraded coastal sites in and around the south east region of Western Australia.

These landscape-wide revegetation restoration projects have involved community tree planting days (last year the Shire planted 5800 seedlings and this year it’s hoped a further 3500 will be planted), installing coastal erosion matting at many sites, and implementing various weed control measures.

Priority areas within the region were identified from old four wheel drive tracks, informal walk trails, and the examination of diminishing sand dunes due to uncontrolled recreational activities.

The region is a biodiversity hotspot with areas such as the Lake Warden Wetlands, situated only a few minutes’ drive from the centre of town. The wetlands are internationally recognised as vital to the survival of endangered migrating water birds and protected under the RAMSAR Convention.

Many plants in the region only occur in the Esperance area and therefore projects that help to maintain, restore and protect this distinctive environment are crucially important.

Like many other local governments, the Shire of Esperance is not alone in feeling the impacts of COVID-19; this is especially true in relation to its revegetation plans. Most of the rehabilitation work is carried out with help from community groups like schools and ‘Work for the Dole’ participants. Despite this hiccup, Shire’s Environmental Officers are certain their planned planting will still go ahead this year… just a little differently.