In response to The Long Beach Community Association letter to Coastwatchers requesting our support for the Long Beach Coastal Wattle Management Project, we provide the following response.
In the first instance, we acknowledge the ecological value of Coastal Wattle as a dune stabiliser and pioneer species for colonising and stabilising sand dunes and secondly that, it is endemic to the south coast of NSW, its natural habitat being coastal sand dunes, headlands and adjacent alluvial flats.
The NSW Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) Environment having completed their Assessment of the Long Beach Coastal Wattle Management Project have evaluated the environmental outcomes of the Project and in their Report to Council made the following recommendations:
- Greater focus on establishing a more diverse and densely vegetated foreshore and hind dunes through targeted re-vegetation throughout the entire dune system, particularly in areas that are poorly vegetated and disturbed and where Coastal Wattle die back is occurring. This will increase dune stability and resilience to coastal hazards, as well as improve the the ecological function and biodiversity of the dunes.
- Continue to re-vegetate using a mix of primary, secondary and tertiary species, with a focus on on establishing tertiary vegetation at the back of the foreshore that will naturally limit landward encroachment of Coastal Wattle.
- Continue to implement management activities that target the control of priority weeds and pest species that threaten the longer term stability and biodiversity of the dune system.
- Abandon broad scale clearing of and modification of Coastal Wattle and focus on dune re-vegetation with minor pruning of Coastal Wattle only to maintain recreational access points and any necessary emergency access provisions. Further coastal wattle removal without successful establishment of tertiary species at the back of the foredune is not considered to to be economically or environmentally sound for the Long beach dune system.
- Stage dune rehabilitation works such as weeding and re-vegetation over smaller sections of the dune to focus limited resources and attempt to more fully restore a section of
the entire dune profile. Once a section is successfully weeded and appropriately planted out, then move to another section, with follow up minor maintenance of the previous section only.
- To assist with protecting the environmental and social values of the Long Beach dune, consideration of other management strategies for dealing with illegal vegetation clearing is encouraged. This could involve the use of surveillance and visual deterrents in the form of screens and bolder signage in areas where vandalism has occurred; and development of community awareness information regarding the process, including contacts for providing information on illegal clearing.
- To increase community awareness regarding the importance of the role of dune vegetation, continue to deliver community education initiatives highlighting the social, environmental and financial benefits of a well maintained and vegetated dune system.
Council is responsible for the management of the Long Beach foreshore and wetland on land classified as Crown Land – Recreation and Resting. They have an obligation to follow the OEH advice for the on-going management of Coastal Wattle. To do otherwise could lead to the failure of the dune to protect the Long Beach foreshore reserve from coastal hazards and sea level rise in the future.
The OEH recommendations are also consistent with the intent of the condition of development approval for the Long Beach Estate, which specified the planting of deep rooted and varied vegetation that would stabilise the dune and prevent erosion.
As our Association focuses on protecting the natural environment, we endorse the OEH recommendations for the on-going management of Coastal Wattle; to increase the dune stability and resilience to coastal hazards and improve the ecological function and biodiversity of the dunes in the longer term.
This would be a desirable environmental, economic and social outcome for the entire Long Beach community, not just those whose property adjoins the reserve and seemingly unaware of Important role Coastal Wattle plays in protecting and stabilising the dune.
For the reasons stated above, The Coastwatchers Association strongly urges Councillors to adopt the OEH Report and their recommendations to the Council meeting of 27 March 2018.