Boxing out the Boxthorn

29 July 2015

We reckon the air feels a bit fresher around Dongara these days, thanks to about 200 native “tree” seedlings that were successfully planted along the Irwin River estuary last weekend, as part of Australia’s National Tree Day celebrations.

Local Dongara and Port Denison residents turned out in force on Saturday, 25 July, to help plant the seedlings along the southern bank of the estuary.

The revegetation effort, coordinated by the Northern Agricultural Catchments Council (NACC), is the latest on-the-ground activity by staff from NACC’s Coastal and Marine program and their community partners in their quest to rid the estuary environment of the noxious African Boxthorn.

The Boxthorn is a viciously spikey invasive species that takes-over native vegetation and threatens the safety of residents using the area’s popular walk trails.

The success of the National Tree Day event means that a total of 3,000 native species have now been planted at the site, helping to stamp out the weed.

NACC Coastal and Marine Project Officer Felicity Beswick said support from the local community was  admirable and appreciated, and she hoped that it would continue well into the future.

“It was fantastic to see such a great turn out for this event,” she said.

“Everyone was right into the task at hand, the planting was completed in record time, and  everyone seemed to  really be enjoying themselves as well.

“It was also great to work with Dom Brian and Dom Robert from the New Norcia Benedictine  Community, who  travelled up just to attend the planting, and have made a generous donation to  help the revegetation of this  site.”

Felicity said despite the great effort with the revegetation, a lot more Boxthorn still has to be  removed before  the estuary can be considered Boxthorn-free.

“A key task over the next couple of years is to make sure young Boxthorn seedlings are not allowed   to grow to  replace their parents,” she said.

“We are looking for further help from the local community to join the ‘Boxthorn Brigade’.

“Members of this squad are being asked to adopt a section of the estuary that they already regularly visit, and, while there, to hand-pull boxthorn seedlings or mark larger plants for later  eradication.”

If you would like to join the Boxthorn Brigade or any other part of this project, please contact Felicity Beswick on 9938 0108 or

The African Boxthorn Control program has been supported by the local community, the Shire of Irwin, the New Norcia Benedictine Community and the Dongara Denison Lions Club.

It is part of the Coastal and Marine Program that NACC is delivering on behalf of the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program.

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