Community-led conservation for World Environment Day
Communities caring for our environment can make a big difference to our natural landscapes.
Communities caring for our environment can make a big difference to our natural landscapes. When South Australia’s landscape boards were formed in July 2020, a key priority was putting the community at the heart of sustainably managing natural resources.
Of course, community members taking action to care for our environment has been happening for a long time but now the Landscape South Australia Act 2019 underpins the approach of landscape boards supporting communities and land managers to be directly responsible for managing their local natural resources – with an emphasis on land and water management, biodiversity, and pest plant and animal control.
Across all SA’s landscape regions, there are community groups, volunteers and landholders who are all doing their bit to look after our environment from coastal revegetation and community gardens to protecting an endangered bird and rejuvenating ocean species.
Protecting our beaches
On Eyre Peninsula, Lower Eyre Coastcare Association has been caring for their part of South Australia’s coast for 25 years. During that time, the group has focused on conservation areas not too far from the regional city of Port Lincoln including Farm Beach, Mount Dutton Bay, Fishery Bay, Coles Point, and most recently Greenly Beach has been the focus.
The group’s annual planting day at Greenly Beach – to coincide with the weekend closest to World Environment Day on June 5 – involves a local school helping with seed propagation. The Lake Wangary School grows seedlings in its native plant nursery which has been expanded including an irrigation system upgrade, thanks to support from the Eyre Peninsula Landscape Board’s Grassroots Grants program.
The native coastal plants grown in the nursery will be used to revegetate and rehabilitate areas along the coastline following historical damage from overgrazing and more recently damage from increasing numbers of visitors, vehicles and vans in areas not setup to manage the influx. The coastcare group’s recent grant will also be used to put barriers in place to manage vehicle access to protect the native vegetation to allow it regenerate.
At the core of the collaboration is a desire to improve vegetation cover to protect this wild coastline.
Ten years of environmental work for Cape Jervis coastal group
Across the SA coast to the Fleurieu Peninsula, the Cape Jervis Coastal Community Group has recently clocked up 10 years of volunteer environmental work.
During that time, many changes have taken place thanks to volunteers working together to help protect the precious coastal environment.
The coastal area north and south of the Cape Jervis Ferry Terminal contains more than 214 different species of indigenous plants, in a narrow 8 km strip around the tip of the Fleurieu. Fifty of these plant species are classified as endangered, vulnerable, rare or threatened.
As a result of the group’s hard work over the past decade, there is now more habitat for birds and other creatures, and some of the rare and endangered plants are that bit more plentiful. Remnant patches of vegetation are now connected and native grasses are starting to outcompete the weeds.
Collaboration, efficiency and camaraderie is the unofficial motto of the Cape Jervis group who are known for bringing local landcare and community groups together to achieve on-ground outcomes, with support from Landscapes Hills and Fleurieu.
Building for endangered birds
On Yorke Peninsula, protecting the endangered Osprey has seen a landcare group, men's shed, school students, surfers and fishermen, combine their efforts to create artificial nesting platforms.
The eastern osprey (Pandion haliaetus) is a spectacular fish-eating raptor that needed a big helping hand if it was to continue to survive along Yorke Peninsula’s coast.
Ospreys are very sensitive to human disturbance and in recent decades all known osprey breeding sites on Yorke Peninsula’s mainland have regularly failed or become abandoned.
The Southern Yorke Peninsula (SYP) Landcare Group knew something had to be done. They commissioned the Recovery and Conservation Plan for Osprey on Yorke Peninsula in 2020 and started work on increasing the population with artificial nest platforms. The group coordinated an extraordinary community effort, with the Ardrossan Community Men’s Shed building the 6-metre high steel platforms and environmental groups, local fishermen, surfers and birdwatchers all involved in the planning and installation of 6 platforms.
Osprey-occupied breeding territories on Yorke Peninsula have now increased from 1 in 2017 to 5 in 2022.
The SYP Landcare Group is now close to installing its seventh platform, funded by the Northern and Yorke Landscape Board through its Djulda-wawa Badja project.
Greening the outback and boosting community well-being
In the middle of outback SA, an initiative designed to improve the mental and physical well-being of Coober Pedy residents and to boost township morale, is adding a green touch to the arid landscape through a community garden.
Working from a site at the local Lions Club, the Community Garden Group has sourced supplies through donations from members, their families, friends and the general community.
The group is currently growing vegetables, bush foods, herbs, flowers and succulents in four large raised garden beds, and there are plans to beautify other areas of the town before next summer.
The garden has been made possible by donations including animal manure, plants and freight services as well as funding supplies from drink containers deposits. They also collect vegetable scraps and coffee grinds from local businesses to use in the garden.
A wicking bed and composting workshop, offered by SA Arid Lands Landscape Board’s Marla-Oodnadatta Landscape Group, also supported the group and other community members in developing their gardening skills and giving them the confidence and inspiration to be successful in an arid environment.
Keep a watch on this small group with big goals on Facebook at Coober Pedy community garden.
Community collaborate for Holdfast Bay dunes
Coastal dunes in the City of Holdfast Bay play an important role in providing habitat for birds, insects and reptiles, and protecting some of Adelaide’s most popular coastline from tidal effects.
While urbanisation and fast spreading pest plants have significantly impacted the dunes and biodiversity, local volunteers and stakeholders have worked to restore the area.
A Green Adelaide Grassroots Grant helped to facilitate volunteers, members of the City of Holdfast Bay, and local primary school staff and students come together for this project to improve biodiversity by executing activities identified in the Holdfast Bay Dune Biodiversity Action Plan 2019-2024.
Six sites between Brighton and Seacliff have now been revegetated thanks to actions taken by the community, giving the dunes’ rich biodiversity – including butterflies, lizards, birds and plants – an opportunity to return and flourish.
Restoring shellfish in Kangaroo Island waters
On Kangaroo Island, bringing natural oysters back to local waters has seen the landscape board there collaborate with a men’s shed, school students and an artist on a ground-breaking project.
During the past summer, 20 small, low-profile reefs have been “planted” consisting of ceramic and terracotta tiles that have been re-created by a ceramicist and Kingscote Men’s Shed, to mimic the real razorfish that are found in Nepean Bay.
The idea for this project was first born when the Kangaroo Island Landscape Board began consulting with the local community about the reefs.
It is hoped that the new reefs will give the small population of native angasi oysters that surround KI a place for their larvae to settle and grow while also providing important habitat for other recreational and threatened fish species.
Community collaborations restore the environment
Landscape boards are proud to be able to support the community in taking action to protect our natural resources. Across the state, South Australians love being able to get out and explore our natural environment but it’s important to respect it and take care of it.
Think you’d like to get involved in a local community environmental project? Find out more about volunteering with your local landscape board.