Even shorebirds need trees

Media Release

Whilst the majority of our migratory waders roost (rest) on sandy beaches at high tide, some rely on the mangroves and tidal wetlands to provide suitable roost sites.  Sadly, worldwide these habitats are in decline and are being lost through land reclamation and development.

After the flood event in the summer of 2011, the Port of Bundaberg removed over 360 cubic metres of clean sand from the Burnett River.  Saltwater inundation also resulted in some vegetation loss on the Port’s lands and in particular a small patch of remnant bushland actually located within the Port’s main spoil pond.

Members of the Burnett Mary Regional Group (BMRG) and Birdlife Bundaberg who monitor the Port’s resident and migratory shorebird population offered to replant the patch.

P1040799_v2Discussions with the Port identified an alternative location that provided a better outcome for both the Port and bird observers with an adjacent site that had already been identified for conservation, set aside as a fisheries offset and less prone to flooding in the future.  The site was overgrown with weeds that were also invading into an adjacent saltmarsh (important habitat for the shorebirds).

In 2012, the habitat was surveyed, a species list developed, seed collected and plants propagated.  Last week, with the invaluable assistance of Impact Make Your Mark Work Experience participants, a temporary 1.4 metre fence was erected (to act as a windbreak and prevent predation of the new plants by the resident kangaroo population) with 50 cubic metres of mulch spread across the site culminating in a volunteer planting event on 8 January.  The result – 177 native plants have now been planted in the site which will be maintained by the Port’s staff until they have established.

Plants used include the tuckeroo, Moreton Bay ash, Burdekin plum, native macadamia, she-oaks, figs, wattles, soap trees and ground covers.

Project Leader, Sue Sargent of the Burnett Mary Regional Group (BMRG) was thrilled by the outcomes and the enthusiasm demonstrated by the project’s participants.

“Revegetation projects are like a gift that keeps on giving.  You start off with a few seedlings and before you know it, you have a beautiful bit of bushland attracting birds, butterflies and other native fauna.”

“With the youngest participant only 10 years old, you also get a real sense of leaving a legacy for their future, protecting tidal wetlands and with them the shorebirds and fish that depend on them.”

The project was funded by the BMRG through the Shorebird Conservation Program (an initiative of Australian Government and Sunwater).  The project was supported by the Port of Bundaberg, Birdlife Bundaberg, Bundaberg Native Plants, Impact Make Your Mark and Lloyd and David’s Full Tree Service and Stump Removal (who provided free mulch for the project).

Participants on the day included: Sophia and Molly Burfitt, Jade Buckler, Nev and Jann Capell, Matthew Lennox, Don Lynch, Peter Maike, Barry Mozley, Paul Hill, Dennis Prince, Sue Sargent, Maureen Schmitt and Mark Simpson.

For more information on the project, please contact Sue Sargent, Conservation Partnerships Manager on (07) 4181 2999 ext 204 or 0429 462 041.