Six sites between Brighton and Seacliff have been revegetated, thanks to Trees For Life, volunteer group the Holdfast Bay Heroes, students and staff of Seacliff Primary School, and local community groups. Discover how a Green Adelaide Grassroots Grant facilitated weed control followed by strategic planting has promoted biodiversity in this ‘Reclaim the Dunes’ project.

Volunteers in sand dunes, wearing orange vests and weeding against a dark sky
A planting event brings together a range of volunteers in the revegetation of coastal dunes. Photo credit: Trees For Life

Coastal dunes in the City of Holdfast Bay play an important role in providing habitat for birds, insects and reptiles, and protecting some of Adelaide’s most popular coastline from tidal effects.

Unfortunately, urbanisation and fast spreading pest plants significantly impacted on the dunes, and limited biodiversity in the area.

‘Reclaim the Dunes’ is a project established to bring together local volunteers and stakeholders to restore the space.

A Green Adelaide Grassroots Grant helped to facilitate volunteers, members of the City of Holdfast Bay, and local primary school staff and students come together to improve biodiversity by executing activities identified in the Holdfast Bay Dune Biodiversity Action Plan 2019-2024.

We spoke to project coordinator, Vicki-Jo Russell from Trees For Life, to find out more.

Why is this grant project important?

The ‘Reclaim the Dunes’ project was significant in its contribution to improving biodiversity of the shoreline between Brighton and Seacliff.

The dunes along this area play an important role in providing habitat to foster a healthy ecosystem that supports many creatures.

“The dunes hold a rich ecosystem,” Vicki-Jo said. “There are butterflies, lizards, birds and plants that will now have an opportunity to return to the dunes.”

The revegetation will provide a habitat for creatures like the dwarf skink, singing honey-eater and bitterbush blue butterfly.

The area is also known for its resident beach nesting bird population, including the hooded plover, a vulnerable species that nests between the high tide line and the foot of dunes.

Seedlings in a red bucket on the sand with volunteers wearing orange vests in the background
Seedlings ready to plant at the dunes. Photo credit: Trees For Life

How did the grassroots grant help?

“The grant allowed us to bring people together to achieve the project goals,” Vicki-Jo said.

“The action plan we are working toward is ambitious, and the work is ongoing, but these funds have helped project partners get a lot done, and have assisted in engaging members of the community, important for the long term care of the area.”

The Green Adelaide Grassroots Grant supported volunteers to look after the stretch of coast from Brighton to Seacliff. Activities included weeding invasive species and planting seedlings – prioritising those plants that would reduce soil erosion and increase biodiversity.

Due to the dominance of marram grass on the sites, weed control efforts were focused on marram, ahead of couch and kikuyu grass control, also.

Restoration of the sites allowed for the revegetation of 28 different native species, local to the area.

The work was carried out by a diverse group of volunteers, including members of community group the Holdfast Bay Heroes, staff and students from Seacliff Primary School and members of the Seacliff Surf-life Saving Club, Brighton and Seacliff Yacht Club and Jarvis Toyota. Along with staff from Trees For Life and the City of Holdfast Bay, more than 100 people contributed to revegetation across the six sites.

Trees For Life and the Holdfast Habitat Heroes initiated school planting days, working bees, and community planting days to get more than 9,000 seedlings planted in the area.

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