We have made good progress with our winter work over the week-end. On Friday 25 June, a team of overseas students from Study Perth planted the area we matted at the southern end of our dog-beach restoration area (CMB14). They planted a total of 177 plants in the CMB14 area, whereas the great turnout of 29 members and volunteers on Sunday 13 June planted a total 348 plants in the rest of the dog-beach restoration area. Altogether, we laid 350 square metres of matting at the dog-beach this year and have planted it with 525 plants – the matted area has been reclaimed from the beach by our wind-break fencing in 2019-2021. Let us hope the weather gods are kind to us and don’t send us any high tides combined with heavy swells, which have done the damage in the past. If we have mild winter storms this year and next, the plants will be well established and adding to dune stability.
The students then turned their attention to matting the sides of the new path constructed by Town of Cambridge down to the beach from the ‘helicopter’ car-park at Floreat Beach (see pic). The start of the new path is adjacent to the northern end of the Boardwalk.
People have been climbing up and down the very steep dune dropping down from the helicopter car-park to the beach. Human access has been accelerating the rate of erosion of the dune and causing extensive destruction of delicate vegetation and destabilising the steep dune front. This dune was already significantly eroded by winter storms in May 2020 and we have just been awarded a Coastwest grant to install windbreak fencing and matting, and to undertake planting to try to stabilize the dune. Hopefully people will use the new path to access the dune instead of climbing the dune face.
The sides of the path were embanked to provide a gentle slope to the beach and the students laid 150 square metres of matting on the embanked areas to assist in stabilizing sand movement and to plant growth. Then on Sunday 27 June, a group of 16 members and volunteers planted 229 plants into the matting. Planting in matting is a slow process as a hole needs to be cut into the tough coir material, the hole dug, fertilizer pills added and plant separated carefully from its pot, dropped into the hole and firmed down, before a cardboard shield is put around it and secured by bamboo canes malletted firmly into the sand. The process is made more difficult by working on steep slopes in a howling gale, all of this accomplished with good humour and a co-operative spirit by our hard-working team – many thanks to you all and apologies from the photographer who hasn’t done justice to the workers.