A three year project to protect endangered stands of coastal littoral rainforest on exposed headlands at Burgess Beach, Cape Hawke and Seal Rocks will get underway soon.
The project will be funded through a NSW Environmental Trust restoration and rehabilitation program $100,000 grant, matched by funding from the MidCoast Council environmental rated.
"The Mid Coast (LGA) has around 930 hectares of littoral rainforest, with a large proportion found on exposed headlands," MidCoast Council natural systems manager, Gerard Tuckerman said.
"Littoral rainforest is listed as endangered under both State and Federal legislation," he said.
Containing more than 100 types of tree and shrub species and providing habitat for more than 70 threatened plant and animal species, littoral rainforests are facing extinction on the Mid Coast.
Littoral rainforest is listed as endangered under both State and Federal legislation.Gerard Tuckerman
They provide some other key benefits that make them integral to coastal environments, and the vegetation on our headlands is key to ensuring the rainforest's survival, Mr Tuckerman said.
"Littoral rainforest on exposed headlands is usually wind-pruned, but this dense canopy provides protection for the less salt-tolerant species of the rainforest.
"Damage to vegetation on the seaward side of a littoral rainforest can have devastating effects on the rest of the rainforest."
Once littoral rainforest is in decline, its role as an important buffer to coastal erosion and wind damage is significantly reduced.
Some of the key threats currently affecting this threatened ecological community include the loss and fragmentation of native vegetation, the invasion of weeds, urban development and the impacts of recreational use.
Working in partnership with the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, the project will focus on reducing the presence of 'transformer' weeds such as asparagus fern, morning glory and bitou bush.
Asparagus fern in particular grows in dense monocultures in the understorey smothering native vegetation and prohibiting natural regeneration.
Given the difficulty in treating weeds on these exposed headlands, a team of abseiling bush regeneration contractors will be employed to undertake the control of these weeds.
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This grant complements $913,000 recently received through the NSW Coastal and Estuary Grants Program to undertake environmental restoration works in council coastal reserves and a $15,000 grant from the Hunter Local Land Services to restore a bushfire affected stand of littoral rainforest at Crowdy Head.
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