Giving blowouts the brush-off

What a difference one morning can make.

Community spirit in our region was once again in full swing recently as the Friends of Lancelin Coast, Lancelin Caravan Park, Shire of Gingin, Northern Agricultural Catchments Council, and Coastcare volunteers from surrounding community/progress associations in Guilderton, Seabird and Seaview Park came together to kick-start a dune restoration project at Edwards Island Point near Lancelin.

BEFORE: One of the dune blowouts at Edward Island Point showing the extent of erosion and bare, exposed sand prior to brushing
BEFORE: One of the dune blowouts at Edward Island Point showing the extent of erosion and bare, exposed sand prior to brushing

The restoration project involved ‘brushing’ (laying branches of native shrubs and trees) on areas where dune blow-outs have occurred due to damaged dune vegetation.  Covering the exposed sand with brush helps to slow down wind-borne sand and trap it in the dunes where it belongs, rather than being blown away.

AFTER: The same dune just a couple of hours later, with the sand now protected by a layer of brushing.
AFTER: The same dune just a couple of hours later, with the sand now protected by a layer of brushing.

Coastcare volunteers collected native Beach Spinifex seed, and spread it throughout the brush to help restore this vital fore-dune species. Biodegradable coir matting and logs were also used in some areas to help stabilise the soil, and to help minimise access and disturbance. In an innovative twist, project partners and community members were invited to bring along their own suitable brushing for use on the day, with trailer loads of branches being delivered by project partners and community members. The brush was screened prior to being placed in the dunes to ensure that seeds or cuttings of non-local, unwanted species wouldn’t establish in the dunes.

Brushing requires little in the way of maintenance, and results in immediate change. It is also often a lot more cost-effective than revegetation.

It was great having enough support so that a working chain could be established, helping efficiently get brushing material to the top of the dune. Many hands make light work!
It was great having enough support so that a working chain could be established, helping efficiently get brushing material to the top of the dune. Many hands make light work!

John Hatch, Secretary and Treasurer of Friends of Lancelin Coast, said he was grateful for the assistance. “It is fantastic to have this level of support at such a physical event, and we are off to a great start on this ongoing project”, he said.

NACC Coastal and Marine Project Manager Hamish Longbottom said he too was thrilled with the outcome.

“It was a pretty special event, and to get the local community, neighbouring Coastcare groups, a local business, and the local Shire all working together on a single project is a fantastic achievement,” he said. “We were inspired by the support from project partners and neighbouring Coastcarers, and believe that this event will stand as a shining example of collaboration in our region.”

The “Brushing Bunch” – some of the participants celebrating the successful event
The “Brushing Bunch” – some of the participants celebrating the successful event

 

For more information on brushing, check-out NACC’s Coastcare resources page.

This event was supported via NACC’s Elevate Your Impact project assisted by funding from the Western Australian Government’s State NRM Program supported by Royalties for Regions.

For more information about this project, visit https://www.nacc.com.au/project/elevate-your-impact/ or contact Sarah Samulkiewicz-Taylor at NACC via email [email protected], or mobile 0408 891 502.

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4 comments

Can you guarantee that the brushing will not wash into the ocean? Saw the beach layers of brushing on South Beach wash into the ocean some 20 years ago and it became a swimming hazard!
Julia Mateljan
Gabbadah

Hi Julia,

It is a good point that you make – brushing can be susceptible to erosion by waves and needs to be strategically placed. At this site the erosion is primarily a result of vegetation loss and wind erosion, rather than water erosion. The face of the dune is some distance from the wave run-up zone which should prevent the brush from being washed into the ocean. Over time sand should be trapped by the brushing, burying the branches – indeed sand has already begun accruing at this site. The brushing should also promote natural revegetation of the dunes, which will further help with stabilisation.

Good lookin’ bunch

Amazing what a group of passionate people can achieve. Congratulations to all involved I feel sure the beach & coast also thank you all

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