Thursday, April 25, 2024

Eurobodalla continues to rise from bushfire ashes

It’s been another big 12 months for Eurobodalla Council’s natural resource management team as the local environment continues to recover from the bushfires.

Council’s environmental programs delivered almost $1 million worth of works throughout Eurobodalla in 2020-21 – most of which was either grant funded or thanks to the help of Landcare volunteers.

The projects were many and varied; from enhancing estuaries through bushland management, protecting Pretty Point from weeds post-fires, and improving vegetation in the pristine Deua Valley, to fighting feral animals and weeds in endangered ecological communities, flying fox management, revegetation, nest box wildlife relief, marine debris clean ups, and more.

More than 700 hectares of endangered ecological communities and high value estuarine areas were improved with weed control, revegetation, foreshore bank stabilisation and community education and engagement efforts.

Council’s natural resource and sustainability coordinator Heidi Thomson said the environment was bouncing back slowly but surely.

“It will take decades for our ecosystems to recover but the short-term response has been promising,” she said.

“With regular rainfall returning since the drought and fires, we’ve had an abundance of growth in native species, which is great, but weeds have also thrived. We need to keep maintaining a balance and the grants we’ve received help us with this.”

Bushfire recovery projects continued to dominate, key to which was helping more than 60 local landholders implement conservation activities on their impacted properties.

Council coordinated 24 active Landcare groups, whose 300-odd regular members clocked up 8,275 volunteer hours of labour, an extraordinary effort, particularly with COVID restrictions. Their main work included reducing the impacts of environmental weeds on native vegetation in reserves, putting up nest boxes for wildlife and the Indian myna control program.

There were also 240 beach and estuary clean ups logged onto the Australian Marine Debris Initiatives database, which included ongoing monitoring of the 20 ‘drain buddies’ nets installed in the Batemans Bay CBD.

Ms Thomson said multiple floods when the ground was still bare of vegetation had resulted in erosion issues across Eurobodalla waterways.

“We are working to ensure our riverbanks, coast and estuaries are more resilient to withstand future events like these by restoring natural vegetation in these areas,” she said.

Bushfire recovery works will continue with particular focus on erosion at the Tuross and Clyde Rivers and ongoing weed control to promote healthy natural regeneration across the estuaries. The team will also help landholders protect Tilba’s Warty Zieria habitat, a threatened plant species found only in this area, in the coming year.

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