December 12, 2021 - January 22, 2022: Issue 522


South West Lovett Bay Coastcare Group 

Photo: Sydney Land Services 

In December 2019 the Lower Western Shores of Pittwater announced it had formed its first Coastcare group.  The private properties in South West Lovett Bay sit between Ku-Ring-Gai Chase National Park and the shores of Pittwater. They also sit within a Pittwater Spotted Gum forest and on the edge of a coastal rainforest, both endangered ecological communities.  

The group’s objective is to get rid of the bamboo, and other invasive weeds such as cocos palms, asparagus fern and lantana as well as smaller invasive grasses on both public and private land; and to regenerate the bushland.  
Resident support for the group is sky high with every property owner in SW Lovett Bay signing up. 
Members of the 2 local bushcare groups joined so help maintain the work done on public land. 
The first event planned by the group was a Weed Identification Workshop to be run by Northern Beaches Council Bushland Supervisor Michael Kneipp. 

First meeting of SWLBC Committee                                                                                                      Seeds for propagation 

In May 2020 the South West Lovett Bay Coastcare (SWLBC) announced they had been successful in achieving support from Greater Sydney Local Land Services through funding from the NSW Government's Catchment Action program. 

The grant of $20,000 was to support the rehabilitation of native vegetation on 11 ha of public and private lands leading to the iconic Linda Falls in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park.

SWLB Coastcare engaged a team from Dragonfly Environmental to undertake this funded stage of the project. Headed by Paul Webb the team worked together with the community over the next 18 months to bring the invasive weeds under control and the site into a maintenance phase.

Community involvement included a number of “Bamboo Out'’ days, a weed workshops, plant ID workshop, and the development of a wildlife corridor along the waterfall track. 

'Bamboo out' day

Lesley Stevens, Secretary of SWLB Coastcare, said then; “It’s an ambitious community project, however, the involvement of all of the residents surrounding the infested area, and the practical support offered by Elvina Bay Bushcare,  Rocky Point Bushcare,  the West Pittwater Rural Fire Service, Northern Beaches Council and National Parks & Wildlife Service will give SWLB Coastcare every chance of a very successful outcome”.

West Pittwater Rural Fire Service has already done several site inspections with SWLB Coastcare. Andrew Cutler, Captain of the West Pittwater RFS said “This is an important part of the RFS community strategy to encourage community resilience and readiness and at the same time preserve these special environments’

There was lot riding on this project. The pocket of littoral rainforest surrounding the Linda Falls in Lovett Bay is listed as an Ecological Endangered Community (EEC) - part of the remaining 1% of the littoral rainforest still found along the NSW coast. Further away from the Falls the rainforest is surrounded by a majestic Spotted Gum Forest which is also listed as an Ecological Endangered Community. 

Paul Webb commented that it was a unique scenario. “To have overwhelming support and involvement from all of the local community means that long after the funding has been spent the project will have a long term effect as maintenance work will be continued under the stewardship of the local residents”.

On December 7th the Greater Sydney Land Services tweeted on the South West Lovett Bay Coastcare Group:

December 7, 2021; An honour to meet the volunteers from South West Lovett Bay Coastcare Inc and celebrate their great work to remove 14 ha of highly invasive bamboo threatening the beautiful natural environment of their home. We awarded the group a $20,000 grant through the New South Wales Government's Catchment Action program.

Catchment Action NSW is a NSW State Government natural resource management initiative. The Catchment Action NSW is a program funded by the NSW Government to deliver its natural resource management priorities. For Local Land Services, the responsibility lies in investing this funding to deliver on-ground outcomes for communities and the environment across NSW.

The funding invested by this initiative supports the work to improve and maintain a healthy landscape for the future of the NSW environment, landowners and farmers.

Pittwater Online News spoke to Lesley Stevens, Secretary of SWLB Coastcare who said all residents had been involved in doing this work, many of whom had had their first experience of bushcare through this program.

''Every single resident got involved, and they all did a terrific job.'' Lesley said

''The bamboo stretched right across four properties east towards and onto the track to the Linda Falls and had begun to jump west to the track up the escarpment and then would have commenced invading the National Park.''

Linda Falls, Lovett Bay. Photo: Sydney Land Services 

Part of the Lovett Bay Catchment. Photo: Sydney Land Services 

''The SWLB Coastcare group will now be on maintenance for at least the next 10 years as well know how invasive bamboo can be and how it can just pop up anywhere.'' Lesley explained.

Local Land Services works in partnership with Landcare NSW to deliver programs and actions to support Landcare volunteers. The two organisations refreshed and resigned a Memorandum of Understanding in December 2020 that continues to strengthen the partnership for the benefit of communities and landscapes across NSW.

Catchment Action NSW funding was $11.6 million in 2019-20 and supports regionally-delivered projects to address state natural resource management priorities, including support for biodiversity, native vegetation, threatened species and Aboriginal cultural heritage outcomes.

In the 2019/2020 Catchment Action grants program $26 050 was allocated to PNHA for Bush regeneration targeting Duffys Forest Endangered Ecological Community and the threatened Grevillea Caleyi as well  - another example of great work being done by local volunteers when supported through this porgram.

Catchment Action NSW links and complements other NSW Government investments including the Local Land Services sustainable land management unit, Biodiversity Conservation Trust, Saving Our Species, NSW Landcare Program and the Weeds Action Program.

The Australian Government is an important funding partner, primarily through the National Landcare Program. The program helps drive sustainable agriculture, as well as supporting the protection, conservation and rehabilitation of Australia’s natural environment. In 2019-20 Local Land Services and Landcare NSW partnered to deliver the National Landcare Program. Supporting Landcare priorities, $19.2 million has been provided. 

The success of such programs was recognised in August 2021 with the Australian Government Partnerships for Landcare Award - Floating Landcare, NSW. Floating Landcare provides community volunteers with a unique wilderness land management experience. The program has attracted a large number of new and existing environmental volunteers, as well as corporate support. Volunteers are from a range of bushcare and landcare groups across the Greater Sydney Region with Pittwater volunteers also working to restore or work at numerous weed removal and rubbish collection events that have taken place around the perimeter of Pittwater and on the shores of the Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park itself, with volunteers from here joining with Rebecca Mooy and her team.

The 2019/2020 Local Land Services annual report shows that through the Catchment Action NSW Program 85 awareness raising events have been held that were attended by 1348 people. There have been 106 training sessions, workshops, seminars or skills  training events with 1389 participants. 

The Area (ha) of riparian native vegetation enhanced/rehabilitated; 4,779, Area (ha) of terrestrial native vegetation enhanced/ rehabilitated; 46,238, Area (ha) managed for significant species and/or ecological communities; 1,504, Area (ha) of terrestrial native vegetation enhanced/ rehabilitated; 46,238, Area (ha) of pest animal control; 15,656, Area (ha) of riparian native vegetation enhanced/ rehabilitated; 4,779.

The Area (ha) of coastal native vegetation enhanced/rehabilitated: 236 and Number of community group projects assisted: 68. One of these groups is the South West Lovett Bay Coastcare Group (SWLBC) which can count every resident as members.

Congratulations South West Lovett Bay Coastcare Group, you're an absolute inspiration. Thank you for looking after this beautiful part of Pittwater and where it meets the Ku-Ring-Gai Chas National Park.

Some of the members of the South West Lovett Bay Coastcare Group. Photo: Sydney Land Services