Growing success of Kangaroo Island’s Grassroots Grants

News article |

BirdLife KI volunteers are excited by the success of their coastal revegetation project at Bay of Shoals, supported by a Kangaroo Island Landscape Board Grassroots Grant.

Growing success of Kangaroo Island’s Grassroots Grants
BirdLife KI volunteers Ken Grinter and Dave Dowie checking the success of their revegetation to benefit coastal birds at Bay of Shoals.

The stunning wind-swept northern side of Bay of Shoals is being transformed from a barren wasteland to a native bushland haven for Kangaroo Island’s myriad of bird species.

Bursting from tree guards on the bay sweeping towards Cape Rouge are 600 young native plants that are thriving in the now fenced-off coastal reserve.

Given the relatively harsh conditions and poor soils, the success of the revegetation project has surprised and encouraged the BirdLife KI volunteers who secured a Kangaroo Island Landscape Board Grassroots Grant to bring the dream to life.

Over the two years of the Shoal Bay Coastal Rehabilitation Project, the team has witnessed an 85-90% survival rate of 20 different species of plants, including acacia, eucalypt, salt bush, native pines and coastal daisy bush. The seedlings were provided by the Kangaroo Island Native Plant Nursery.

“We are extremely happy, it’s exceeded expectations,” project spokesperson Ken Grinter said. “The area is going to look brilliant in a few years’ time.” Colleagues Dave Dowie and Trish Mooney who have been closely involved in the project are also extremely pleased with the results to this stage.

“This particular area has always been a popular birdwatching spot for islanders. This project was a dream of the esteemed naturalist Chris Baxter (author of the much-loved field guide Birds of Kangaroo Island). He would be very happy to see the progress we have made here.

“With the new habitat we’re looking forward to seeing species like thornbills, honeyeaters, robins, silvereyes, and wattle birds.

Mr Grinter said the Grassroots Grant will allow the team to continue planting a further 300 mallee, mid and understorey species this winter.

“There are kilometres of shoreline here that can be revegetated. It will be an ongoing project if people want to maintain that enthusiasm,” he said.

“There are a lot of people who are very happy to get their hands dirty and do practical hands-on conservation projects. There hasn’t been any difficulty in getting people to come out and plant trees.”

Colleague Dave Dowie said that if individual landholders benefit from these grants, “the whole environment on the island benefits as well”.

“It might seem like a little project in isolation but when you start putting all these projects together, then the increase in native vegetation and accumulative effect is significant. It’s very positive to see.”

The 2023 round of the KILB Grassroots Grants is opening on Monday 3 April, with $52,000 available to support individual landholders, volunteers, schools, community organisations, First Nations and not-for-profit groups working locally to undertake projects that help in the management of region’s landscape and natural assets.

Applicants can apply for between $1000 and $8000 (+GST) for their project. The round closes at 3pm on 1 May and applications must be lodged through SmartyGrants via:

Previous recipients have used Grassroots Grants to protect regenerating native vegetation, support the KI Children’s Services bush kindy, support groups of landholders to manage weeds, revegetate native habitat, create windbreaks and shelterbelts, build nest boxes for barn owls, monitor dolphins, protect and restore wetlands with KICE students and raise awareness of KI wildlife.

For more information contact Bec Mussared and Alex James on 8553 2476, or email

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