Sue Baker, Bush Regeneration Project Officer, Mid North Coast Branch

Mid North Coast Branch is in its 39th year of bitou bush eradication and bush regeneration in the iconic coastal Crowdy Bay National Park. A severe bush fire ripped through the southern part of the park in 2013. This resulted in a mass germination of bitou seedlings. Not only did this undo years of hard work and financial investment but other fully-restored areas were under threat of reinvasion. The scale of the problem was beyond the capacity of our volunteers and NPWS to deal with. What on earth were we to do?

Thankfully the NSW Environmental Trust came to the rescue with a $97,000 Restoration and Rehabilitation three-year grant. The past year has seen unexpected but fantastic outcomes – the results of the post-fire seedling clean up are spectacular. It appears that the fire resulted in the germination of the last of the bitou seed store in the soil. Only scattered seedlings are left. In addition currently there are only a few Acacia saligna (Western Australian wattle) remaining of what was also a post fire explosion of this species. The same results apply to two years of aerial spraying of the fore dune funded by NPWS. At long last the beach is in almost pristine condition.

Secondly the grant enabled restoration of what was a severely degraded littoral rainforest habitat at Dunbogan to the north of the park. Hundreds of rainforest seedlings were planted with amazing growth resulting.

Heartfelt thanks are given to the Environmental Trust, for the grant; to Port Macquarie Hastings Council for grant and staff support and; to Hastings Landcare for administration and support.

VOLUNTEER AT OUR 2018 BUSH REGEN CAMP IN APRIL!

Our annual bush regen camp is to be held from the 3-8 April (directly after Easter) based at the beautiful spot at Kylies Beach in the park, north of Taree. Volunteers work completely at their own pace and ability to attack a variety of weeds. There is time to swim, drop a fishing line and explore the gorgeous surrounds. Most of the hard work is done; our main role now is critical follow up.

The use of a trailer fully equipped with cooking, eating and washing up gear plus an urn and tables set up under a tarpaulin makes camping easy. We have a fabulous, friendly group of core volunteers and a great time is had by all including around the nightly campfire. The branch provides a BBQ on the Saturday night. So why not come and join us and/or help us by spreading the word to anyone who might be interested? Volunteers are welcome to come for just a day or for however long they can make it. Phone Sue Baker on 02 6559 7134 for further information and to book in.

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