Macleay Landcare Network has carried out a huge number of projects since our inception in 200134. Some of these are detailed below. Our activities have bought over $3M into the Macleay Valley.
Rehabilitating Significant Coastal Vegetation at Grassy Head 2015-2018
Working closely together, Macleay Landcare Network and Grassy Head Duncare have now completed the project ‘Protecting and rehabilitating significant coastal vegetation at Grassy Head’. The project which was funded by the NSW Government’s Environment Trust and administrated by Macleay Landcare Network has now been running for over 2 years.
The intention of the grant was to raise awareness in the local community and amongst those visiting the area to the significance of coastal vegetation types found around and on the headland. These Endangered Ecological Communities include the Themeda (Kangaroo) Grasslands on the headland, the littoral rainforest patches on the protected southern edges and pockets of the headland and the Swamp Sclerophyll Forest surrounding the headland and fringing the Macleay River Arm.
The quality and quantity of these vegetation communities are under threat across NSW due to factors such as encroaching land use and clearing, inappropriate fire regimes and invasion of weeds.
Consequently the Grassy Head Dunecare Group, whose current president is Chris Kaczan, has worked tirelessly to address threats to this important vegetation. Including an additional area of important tall eucalypt forest, the project covers 26ha. (Grassy Head Dunecare Group won the National Landcare Awards ‘People’s Choice Award’ for Coastcare in 2013)
So far, the project has supported at least ten bi-monthly working bees with as many as 16 volunteers coming to hand-pull lantana, ‘crown out’ broad leaf paspalum and plant native seedlings. At last count approximately 1300 volunteer hours have been invested in this project over this two year period.
The working bees are supported by professional bush regenerator, John Delaney from Mid Coast Land Management. John shares his weed control skills and ecological understanding of weeds with the supervised group of volunteers. Additionally Sally Cavanagh, Loyd Ellis and Matt Birkett from Happy Valley Landscapes have painstakingly controlled weeds amongst the sensitive Themeda grasslands. Broad leaf paspalum, Rhodes Grass, Groundsel Bush, Bitou and Lantana have been targeted. A significant bonus to this project have been the rope climbing skills this team have, which has seen Loydd and Matt hanging by rope over the cliffs to access bitou bush too dangerous for volunteers to reach.
As well as the working bees, the project has provided meaningful opportunities for local people participating in the NSW Health Living Skills Program and the Department of Correctional Services In-mates program to do environmental work. The volunteer run Grassy Head Nursery Trust has also supplied endemic (local to Grassy Head) seedlings and provides a wonderfully friendly place for people to meet. In total 35 volunteers have contributed to this project in a variety of ways.
Macleay Landcare Staff Sharon Cunial and Manda Godfrey have supported the implementation and coordination of this project with fantastic support from a variety of local and state agencies. This includes Kempsey Shire Council, NSW Office of Environment and Heritage and the Soil Conservation Service. Kempsey Shire Council has consulted widely with the community to develop its new beach access and viewing platform at Grassy Head beach. Dunecare and Living Skills Groups have planted native seedlings to help stabilise the sands around the new structure. KSC has also arranged for the removal of invasive coral trees and will be installing a gate to stop vehicle access to the delicate headland vegetation.
A small but significant portion of the project has been dedicated to monitoring the response of headland vegetation to fire. Prior to the mid 1940’s the headland had been burned regularly by the caretaker of the time but had not been burned since the late 1940’s. The most recent fires have been in 2009, 2012 and then 2015. This grant (and a previous NSW ET Grant) allowed Damon Telfer, GECO Environmental, to undertake annual springtime surveying of the headland vegetation after these fires and now 5 years of data have been collected into a report titled ‘Grassy Head Post-Fire Vegetation Monitoring Study 2012- 2016’ and will be available at Macleay Landcare Network in the coming months. CLICK HERE to see a short Video on this Study. Volunteer ecologists Mark Robinson and Stuart Johnson have assisted the seasonal surveying by identifying the often small and difficult headland species. Follow this link for further details and read the complete Post Fire Study.
A simple A4 sized ‘Plant Identification Guide to Coastal Species at Grassy Head’ has also been developed as part of this project raises awareness of the important of Themeda Grasslands and will allow the local community and visitors to the headland (and other similar headlands such as Hat Head and Scotts Head) to identify some of the more common and conspicuous species. You can view this new beach sign by entering by the southern entrance just below the headland, you will find this sign at the öcean" end of the track.
To raise awareness of the project and the significant vegetation communities around Grassy Head, Macleay Landcare along with Grassy Head Dunecare have been promoting this project through community events, markets, newsletters and online advertising. Together they are currently developing an educational beachfront sign and Macleay Landcare staffs are currently producing a short film about the project. The project hopes to spread the news in and beyond the Shire area. In fact there is growing government and community effort to learn more about Themeda grassland management and the outcomes of this project will contribute towards this developing knowledge base.
To conclude, Macleay Landcare would like to acknowledge the NSW Environmental Trust for funding and ongoing support of this project and also Grassy Head Dunecare Group and Volunteers who take time our of their busy lives to invest in the ‘common good’ at Grassy Head.
The results of the Grassy Heads Fire Study are summarised in this short video produced by Sharon Cunial.
Grassy Head Field Day participants along with MLN staffer Manda Godfrey gather around the new Beach sign before it was erected in place on the headland.
Grassy Head Dune Care volunteers working on Grassy Head Headland
Swamp Oak Forest
John Delany in action - weed control.
Event attendees enjoying the walk over the headland.
Sally leads the group , pointing out the areas of significance ( photo Mark Merritt)
MLN Project Staff, Grassy Head Dune Care & Nursery Trust Representatives along with Volunteers & guests standing with the new Beach information sign. This information sign has now been positioned on the track to the headland.
Protecting and Connecting Coastal Corridors at Mt Yarrahapinni
Macleay Landcare Network is delivering another 3 year Environmental Trust Project in the Grassy Head area? Called the ‘Protecting and Connecting Coastal Corridors at Mt Yarrahapinni’ this project aims to raise community awareness and participation in habitat management along the eastern foot slopes of the mountain.
The vegetation at Grassy Head links coastal zone plants and animals to higher altitude landscapes through various State Forests and National Parks. These linkages have been identified by the State and Federal Governments as critical climate change habitat corridors, called the Great Eastern Ranges Initiative http://www.greateasternranges.org.au.
You can play your part in habitat connectivity by: linking existing remnant vegetation by inter-planting native seedlings; retaining connected tree canopies, and trees with hollows. By doing so you and may be assisting forest-dependent endangered species such as the brush tailed phascogale, yellow bellied glider or powerful owl.
Floodplains for the Future 2012-2017: Revegetating the lower Macleay Floodplain
Gerold Bosch, Bush and Blossoms, and Brad Scott from Belmore River with the new protecive fence.
11 Landholders are currently supported on the Macleay Floodplain to revegetate over 10 Hectares of pasture with native vegetation as part of a partnership project with the North Coast Local Land Services. Funding through the Federal Governments Clean Energy Futures Package-Biodiversity Fund Program.
As of May 2016, participants have planted at 10,600 seedlings and constructed 8.55km of protective fencelines. The group of landholders have contributed 2458 hours of labour towards the project- thank you and well done!
The aim of the project is to assist landholders to improve the biodiversity value of their properties and the area as a whole. The Macleay Floodplain has been identified as an over cleared landscape with more than 75% of the vegetation removed. This project aims to establish vegetation along fence lines, wetlands, riparian zones and amongst remnant trees. to improve biodiversity value, landholders are planting a huge range of suitable native species and aim to get a survival rate of at least 85%.
Landholders are supported with funds for plants, fencing and some initial labour and plant maintenance. Landholders installed fencing, planted plants and also maintaining them. Macleay Landcare assisted with all technical aspects, including species selection, sourcing materials and planning.
MLN Committee Member - Chris Halliday protects seedlings with tree guards
Revisiting Upper Macleay Vine Weeds
Environmental Trust funds over 6 years will support revisiting the upper most area of Vine Weeds on the Macleay, to continue efforts to control of catsclaw and madeira vine, and prevent their spread downstream.
Landcare is working with New England Weeds Authority, Mid North Coast Weeds Committee, landholders and Thungutti Aboriginal Land Council and indigenous teams to maintain weed efforts.
Fish Habitat Action Grants- 2 Projects 2016-17
Disussions regarding planning with Stakeholders at Dungy Creek
The NSW Recreational Fishing Trust Fish Habitat Action Grants are one way that riparian landholders, fishing clubs and community groups can access funding to improve fish habitat. In 2016 Macleay Landcare was awarded two large grants:
1. Caring for Fish Habitat and Farming at Dungay Creek
2. Macleay River Landholders Unite to protect Fish Habitat
Both projects will support 5 landholders to protect delicate stream banks from erosion by undertaking weed control, stock fencing, estbalishing off stream watering points, revegetation and strategic erosion control works. Macleay Landcare us once again using the skills and experience of the Soil Conservation Service in developing detailed site plans and providing on site construction advice. CLICK HERE to see a short Video on this project.
If you have river frontage that supports important fish habitat please contact Macleay Landcare as this grant is offered every year in October.