Twenty years ago a group of volunteers started what became known as the Budgewoi Beach Dunecare project. Included in the tasks is a coastal walk that starts in the wetland area of the hind dunes, continues through lush vegetation and steps down to the coast before heading back into the wetland area. The information plaques placed around the walkway document the removal of noxious weeds and how local native vegetation has been restored across 32 hectares, spanning 2kms of coastline.
We followed the boardwalk through the Weemala Wetland area, classified as an ephemeral wetland. Differing from other wetlands the ephemeral type experience extreme conditions from floodwater inundations to long dry periods. After flooding the wetland soil remains sodden for long periods as waters drain slowly in claggy ground conditions, yet a variety of vegetation has adapted to soil and climate where they thrive.
Paperbark and Cabbage tree ferns are two types of vegetation to survive the demands of poorly drained soil to play a vital role in the ecology of the area . The education boards told of echidnas, flying foxes and lizards that can be seen in the area as well as a yellow-tailed black cockatoo. The access-ways and raised walkways allow protection and appreciation of the coastal wetlands. Restored ecologically endangered communities and the signage help users understand the need for biodiversity conservation.
We missed the exotic creatures mentioned on the boards but people were enjoying the beautiful coastal surroundings wandering along beach walks with their dogs, couples splashing along in the surf as children paddled close by. We stopped to chat with the owner of a drone (pictured) and waited as he set it in motion to fly across the dunes and over the sea.
The volunteers are responsible for beach profiling, fore-dune realignment and stabilisation as ongoing monitoring.Their goal is to link fragmented coastal landscapes back to linear corridors and to extend biodiversity of the area.
“One alone can do little, but if one joins others at the right time, much can be done.”
— Johann von Goethe