Attacking coastal weeds in Tas World Heritage Area
At the forefront of consolidating a new volunteer ethos of “adventure conservation” to tackle conservation issues, Wildcare SPRATS (Sea sPurge Remote Area TeamS) are a crack team of weeders who are out to eradicate sea spurge from the remote beaches of the west coast of Tasmania.
This community partnership with Tas Parks & Wildlife has generated real benefits for wilderness conservation and provides fulfilment and fun for volunteers.
……….”We concentrate on getting the work done but work hard at having a good time.”
SPRATS began their work in 2006/2007 and every year since then, 25-70 volunteers (representing over $2.1 million labour) have worked on Tasmania’s west coast from Macquarie Harbour to Cockle Creek – representing approximately 850kms of Tasmania’s Wilderness World Heritage coastline and the results are impressive.
They focus on sea spurge (Euphorbia paralias) and marram grass (Ammophila arenaria) – both of which are major weed threats with the capacity to:
- transform ecosystems
- impact geoheritage values
- transform beach structure
- displace native species and,
- impact shore birds by forcing them to nest and feed closer to the wave zone.
This article presents results to date, and outlines future plans including the status of a promising biocontrol agent for sea spurge .