Principal of Bournda Environmental Education Centre, Doug Reckord, removes invasive seaweed, Caulerpa taxifolia, from Wallagoot Lake.

Although we live in a comparatively unspoiled region, there are a surprising number of species not native to this area, which are now surviving and flourishing here. Our surveys of non-native species will cover animals and plants. To know where they are and in what abundance will assist in determining future management policies.

Many species threaten our industries such as oysters and abalone, terrestrial agriculture or tourism as well as national parks.

The European Green Crab has been found in many places along this coast. It was thought to be a recent introduction until work by an ANU scientist taking cores from the riverbed at Fisheries Creek (on Twofold Bay), discovered evidence that they had been living successfully there for over 150 years.

Coastal environmental weeds
Stuart Cameron describes the problem best in the Executive Summary of his report: “Coastal Environmental Weeds on the NSW Far South Coast” (May 2008):

“Biological invasions now pose one of the most serious environmental threats to world ecosystems. Environmental weeds pose one of the gravest threats to native vegetation on the Far South Coast and to the amenity of coastal landscapes.

“The great majority, about 80%, of coastal environmental weeds are escaped garden plants and are as yet confined to the periphery of the major settled zones. Accordingly environmental weeds are very unevenly distributed across the landscape, with few serious infestations occurring in the National Parks. Their massive impact in the longer settled areas of the coast demonstrates the magnitude of the potential long term threat to native coastal vegetation.

“Dumping of garden waste is unquestionably the most efficient way to establish environmental weeds amongst native vegetation. The practice is very widespread locally, and unwittingly encouraged by local council waste disposal policies.

“Government agencies have inadequate resources for environmental weed control and the problem is beyond the capacity of community volunteers.

“The Far South Coast, compared with much of south-east Australia, is in an enviable situation in that many environmental weeds present locally are at an early stage of invasion. They can still be controlled fairly cheaply and readily.”

Local groups have been working on the weeds problem for some time now, dealing with bitou bush, sea spurge, “polygala” (myrtle-leaf milkwort), bridal creeper, African Lovegrass, fireweed and many others. Other groups have looked at crabs and mussels, shellfish, wild dogs and foxes, to name a few. Knowing the occurrence and behaviour of these species by recording sightings by local volunteers may greatly assist this work by helping to identify the problem and we encourage contributors to add their data into the Atlas.

For opportunities for community members to become involved in surveying and helping eradication programs, check the ‘What’s On’ page or try some external links such as the Panboola Wetlands or Southern Rivers Catchment Management Authority.

Source: Stuart Cameron and Southern Rivers Catchment Management Authority

To log a sighting, click here.