COASTWATCH: Improving Coastal Connectivity

Sealion

Some of Western Australia’s most remarkable coastal ecosystems can be found on the western coastline of the Northern Agricultural Region (NAR), which runs from Kalbarri to Guilderton, and stretching west to the Abrolhos islands.

Not only is this unique coastline specular to the eye but it also encompasses some of the region’s most cherished assets in terms of its importance for the community, culture and economy, as well as its high environmental value.

However, as a result of land clearing and fast urban development, in combination with impacts from off-road vehicle use, invasive species and a changing climate, these unique landscapes are being increasingly threatened.

NACC’s Corridors for Climate Change Project plans to implement strategic restoration to help protect and enhance biodiversity and connectivity along this ecological coastal corridor. By working with local communities, local and state governments, educational institutes and Aboriginal groups, the project also aims to improve the resilience of the region’s unique species to the impacts of climate change by restoring connectivity in important climate refugia.

The NAR coastline is part of the Southwest Australia Ecoregion (Australia’s only Global Biodiversity Hotspot), containing some of Australia’s most ancient landscapes and supporting an incredible diversity of native species. To survive and colonise coastal habitats, plants along the NAR coastline have developed some unique ecological adaptive traits, such as

• High levels of dispersal
• Broad latitudinal ranges
• Rapid growth rates
• Ability to adapt to salt spray / loading
• Tolerance to high wind and sand blasting

The coastal vegetation contains a large range of intriguing plants that vary from common plants, like coastal daisy bush, banksia, saltbush, hakea, spinifex, melaleuca, grevillea and wattle; to threatened plants like the Kalbarri spider-orchid, Small-flowered conostylis, Kalbarri leschenaultia and Mallee box.

It also provides a safe haven for the animals that live along the NAR coastline, such as the Australian sealion, the Sooty tern, the Black-flanked rock-wallaby, the Carnaby’s black cockatoo, the Graceful sun moth, the Shield-backed trapdoor spider, the Lancelin Island skink, the Abrolhos bearded dragon and the Honey possum. Many of these animals are dependent on coastal vegetation for food, habitat and protection from predators − both native predators such as falcons and kestrels and introduced predators such as foxes, dogs, and cats.

“Our temperate coastal system contains many unique geological features, native flora and fauna. This makes it even more critical to raise awareness about the importance of the coastline in this region to ensure that these valuable ecosystems are protected into the future” said NACC Coastal and Marine Project Officer Felicity Beswick.

Through a combination of on-ground work (like coastal restoration, erosion control and weed management) and community education and awareness, the Corridors for Climate Change Project is working towards protecting our coastal environment for the health and wellbeing of future generations.

For more information about NACC projects into restoration of coastal vegetation please visit: https://www.nacc.com.au/coastal-marine

Related Posts

Leave a reply