Community Action Helps Protect Noosa’s Bushland
  • Friday 06 June 2008

The 2008 Australian Weeds Conference confirmed that few weeds are able to invade an undisturbed forest. However, the bad news is that 13 of 13 World Heritage Areas are threatened by weeds.

A predicted increase in cyclone frequency and a rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide levels could result in a change in the composition and structure of the environment, favouring weeds over natives. This means that the impacts of weeds involving displacement of native flora and fauna, prevention of regeneration, transformation of ecosystems and lowering of agricultural productivity, are only going to get worse. So how do we protect our biological, agricultural and environmental assets from infinite weeds with finite resources?

What you can do

One way we can all help the environment is through the Noosa Bushland Care Program. This program, supported by the Sunshine Coast Regional Council has been running for over five years. The Noosa Bushland Care Program provides a continuous learning pathway for anyone interested in local biodiversity and bushland regeneration. Volunteers learn minimal disturbance site restoration techniques across a range of weeds and ecosystem types and gain skills in plant and wildlife identification. In 2003, Council started with eight Bushland Care groups, which have grown to 13 and comprise over 140 volunteers operating from Boreen Point to Peregian Beach.

Working bees are held weekly or monthly and consist of a few hours planting, mulching, monitoring regeneration, spotting wildlife or weeds, or liaising with neighbours and fellow bush regenerators. If you were to add up the number of hours that volunteers have spent in our bushland reserves over the last five years at normal market rates of $20 per hour, it would amount to over half a million dollars in labour costs alone that have been saved through this Council initiative.

However, it’s not all about weeding and planting. Some of Noosa’s long-term Bushcare volunteers have such a wealth of local knowledge that they are considered highly valuable resources in themselves and are called upon by fauna conservation groups, regional bodies, local and State Government to identify high priority biodiversity areas or report locations of endangered plants and animals. They may also help solve local water quality pollution issues or keep an eye out for local laws breaches.

Get involved

Given the incredible competitive edge that weeds have over natives and the ever-increasing number of threats to our natural bushlands, it’s time we all looked after our backyards and local Bushland reserves. If you care about fauna habitat rehabilitation, carbon off-setting and water quality protection, or just want to get to know your neighbours and keep fit, come and join your local Bushcare group.

For more information contact the Tewantin office of the Sunshine Coast Regional Council on 5449 5202 or Noosa Landcare on 5485 2155.