by Helen Plaister (President), Wildcare Friends of Narawntapu.

(from an article published in Newsletter 2 of the Rubicon Key Biodiversity Area July 2020).

During 2019 (and pre-Covid 2020), Wildcare Tasmania’s Friends of Narawntapu continued to work with the Parks & Wildlife Service and continued volunteering many hours trying to control and eventually eradicate the section of sea spurge between Griffith Point and Bakers Point. To this end we gained much success.

As I have reported on our work before (see this article), it doesn’t hurt to refresh our knowledge of why we chose Sea Spurge. Sea Spurge (Euphorbia paralias) is a well-established weed within the coastal dunes of Narawntapu National Park and along many of our beaches. The weed is prevalent in the dune complexes of both Bakers and Badger Beach. It is also present in suitable habitat around little Badger Head and Copper Cove. It extends from Bakers Point on the western side of the Park and occupies suitable sandy substrates through to West Head and will most likely continue to push southwards. The problem is that its very existence puts pressure on the availability of nesting sites for our Tasmanian shore birds.

We undertook to attack only a small part of this problem to see if we could make a difference. During 2019/20 there has been a continuation of our work along the beach between Bakers Point and Griffith Point. Up to 19 volunteers have turned up to pull a few weeds. Consequently there is only 100 metres of the Bakers Point-Griffith Point section to be cleared. PWS have also been spraying which has helped tremendously.

Late in November 2019 we held a “camping week” where we stayed overnight for 5 nights and worked solidly on that section. Three friends from the mainland arrived and stayed for the week just to help out. Over the 6 days there was a total of 289 hours worked by the volunteers. A terrific effort.

Another highlight of the year was that Wildcare’s Friends of Narawntapu were awarded a small grant of $2700 through the Federal Government’s Communities Environment Program. This was gratefully received as it enabled us to buy safety equipment, vests, glasses and gloves for all volunteers as well as produce some signage and pamphlets to spread the word about our work at Narawntapu.

Unfortunately, as I write this in 2020, we have come to a sudden pause – a hiccup where volunteers are not allowed to continue working until the PWS gets the all clear from the Government around the COVID 19 pandemic.

Our attack on sea spurge will always be part of our work at Narwantapu but later in 2020 when we are allowed to volunteer again our time may be spent slightly differently. We would like to extend our brief by helping out the staff of the PWS with some of the many jobs that they have to undertake each year. We will always be pulling weeds, but they may come in many different forms along the tracks that we help clear and develop.

If any reader is interested in supporting our work by volunteering please join Wildcare Friends of Narawntapu on the Wildcare website. You will find opportunities to volunteer and the latest dates for our work schedule on the Events page.