By Jonathan Tuck and Lauren Kivisalu
The Narrawong Coastal Scrub site is a small wetland situated behind the dunes in Narrawong, in south-west Victoria. The site forms part of the Surrey River floodplain and contains the endangered swamp scrub vegetation community of the Warrnambool Plain Bioregion. With less than 8% of the pre-European extent of the community remaining, the site and adjacent wetland provide important habitat for a diverse range of native flora and fauna, including internationally protected migratory bird species. The area also provides habitat linkages for threatened species including the Southern Brown Bandicoot and Southern Emu Wren, as well as other ecosystem services such as water filtration and flood control.
The Narrawong Coastal Scrub site is the recipient of a Coastcare Victoria community grant delivered by Nature Glenelg Trust and strongly supported by DEPI staff, which will support its conservation and ongoing rehabilitation.
The swamp has undergone clearance in the past, particularly of woolly tea tree and other shrubs. Subsequent slashing of the area has altered the vegetation structure, but in a positive side-effect has likely reduced the invasion of exotic plants such as Ox Tongue.
NGT will be working alongside the Narrawong Primary School to further enhance the swamp scrub site, including revegetating, managing weeds, and improving access to the site allowing it to be used to engage the students in environmental activities. The Seawinds Nursery in Portland will assist with propagating the plants from local seed.
Students will have the chance to help with the revegetation, planting seedlings that they helped raise in Autumn 2015. Improving access and signage will increase education opportunities for the students, and the project will also involve a number of education sessions with the school about the local coastal habitats. From little things big things grow!