Community partnerships protect coastal ecosystem
Coastal ecosystems link land with water, and provide a variety of benefits to society, including carbon storage, commercial and recreational fisheries, migratory bird habitat, and flood mitigation.
In the Burdekin region these ecosystems, which connect to the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area, face a range of threats, including weeds, feral animals, and human activity.
For example, the dune system at Lynch’s Beach, near Ayr, had become severely degraded by four-wheel drive vehicles and quad bikes, which had damaged the vegetation binding the dunes together, exposing the sand to wind erosion.
Burdekin Shire Council partnered with NQ Dry Tropics to install fencing and signage to help protect the seedlings and inform the public about the importance of keeping vehicles off the dunes.
The two groups also organised a Community Planting Day, attended by 50 locals who planted 450 stems selected for their ability to withstand harsh coastal conditions, such as beach hibiscus, Burdekin plum and spinifex.
Burdekin Shire Council Mayor Lyn McLaughlin said the event was very well-attended by both residents and visitors to the region.
“I want to thank the community for supporting the Alva Community Planting Day, which is an important step in stabilising dunes on Lynch’s Beach and reducing further erosion and damage from four-wheel drives and quad bikes,” Cr McLaughlin said.
“Burdekin Shire Council’s Dune Management Strategy outlines the importance of dunal systems at both Alva and Wunjunga, with revegetation a key strategy to stabilise them and ensure their longevity – however this is only possible with the continued support of the community.
“Please obey all signage and fencing in the area to give new vegetation the best chance of survival and to ensure we are not further damaging these dune systems to leave a strong legacy for future generations.”
Event organiser, NQ Dry Tropics Biodiversity Project Officer Brittany Butler, said the turnout reflected the importance of the beach not just for the lower Burdekin community, but also Townsville residents.
“We had plenty of participants from Alva and Ayr, but also others from as far afield as Bushland Beach,” Ms Butler said.
“I was pleased to see so many enthusiastic kids wanting to plant trees and learn how the dunes protect the coastline from erosion and storm inundation.
“Attendees represented groups including Lower Burdekin Landcare, Coastal Dry Tropics Landcare Inc, Gudjuda, Centrogen, Three Big Rivers, and the Invasive Species Council.
”Today’s endeavours are part of a wider revegetation effort organised by NQ Dry Tropics at Alva, where members of Lower Burdekin Landcare, Gudjuda Reference Group Aboriginal Corporation, and Three Big Rivers planted and maintained thousands of native plants on the dunes.”
Sarita and Keatan Jarvis, Ayr.
Keith Kiloh, Chair, Lower Burdekin Landcare, with Brittany Butler, Biodiversity Project Officer, NQ Dry Tropics.
Linda Govan, Coordinator, Environment and Health Projects Burdekin Shire Council with Dan Mulcahy, Manager Environmental and Health Services, Burdekin Shire Council.
Pictured at the planting day are (fromn left): Annalise and Rose Trigg (Bushland Beach) with Paige Colls (Ayr).
Cr Sue Perry, Deputy Mayor, Burdekin Shire Council.
Alva Community Planting Day, Lynch’s Beach.
Darryl Chong and Trevor Riley, of Three Big Rivers, watering the site post-event
Dawn at Lynch’s Beach. Photo: Grail Films