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The Award-winning Narrows Coastal Moonah Woodland Community Involvement Project (2010)

In 2012 Bellarine Catchment Network received two Awards for an ongoing partnership project that protects Coastal Moonah Woodland in the Narrows dunes, Queenscliff. The year began with BCN and SBEA announced as the winners of the BoQ Australia Day ‘Community Environment Project of the Year’ Award. Three months later BCN, BoQ and SBEA became the joint winners of the Victorian Coastal Awards for Excellence receiving the ‘Community Action and Partnerships’ Award.

Coastal Moonah Woodland is listed as ‘threatened’ under the FFG Act 1988. Over 90% of this vegetation community has been cleared or highly fragmented in Victoria, leaving remnants vulnerable to recreational pressures and weed invasion.

Since 2007 Bellarine Catchment Network, Swan Bay Environment Association and the Borough of Queenscliffe have jointly undertaken on-ground works and facilitated community awareness, involvement and research at the Narrows dunes with positive outcomes.

Rehabilitation of major sections of the terminal scour and ridge has protected Coastal Moonah Woodland from smothering, by stabilising areas to reduce wind-blown sand.

The dune ridge and scour slopes were fenced. Jute & brush-matting were laid over the bare, steep, eroding slopes. Staggered wind barriers were erected to reduce wind funnelling along the ridge adjacent to Lovers Walk. Using a Vegetation Rehabilitation Plan developed by BCN to guide plantings at the site, volunteers from the Queenscliff Community Nursery, propagated over 17000 indigenous plants from local seed.

Community and individuals from the local and wider Bellarine community have assisted at community planting days organised each year by BCN & SBEA. Youth and adults of diverse cultural backgrounds (Conservation Volunteers Australia, National Green Jobs Corps, Gordon TAFE, Deakin University and Bellarine Secondary College) have participated in the revegetation of the site and its maintenance through weed removal. Pleasingly, there has been evidence of natural regeneration of indigenous species from the rehabilitated area’s seed bank.

Ongoing removal of invasive weeds from the Coastal Moonah Woodland has enabled woodland regeneration and protection of biodiversity values. Biological control of Bridal Creeper in the woodland has reduced Bridal Creeper biomass and assisted with control of this Weed of National Significance.

BCN, BoQ and SBEA representatives receive the Award at the Victorian Coastal Awards Ceremony in Melbourne.