South West Rocks Dune Care (“SWRDC”) is a dedicated, tenacious and enthusiastic group made up of a core of 25-30 local volunteers, mutual obligation workers, and aided by a range of visiting volunteers (mainly from Sydney and the Central Coast, but also occasionally from overseas). They are based at South West Rocks and Arakoon, and work in the Smoky Cape area of Hat Head National Park and Crown Land in South West Rocks on the Mid North Coast, supported by the NPWS and the local Shire Council. Skill levels within the group range from beginners to qualified bush regenerators and from teenagers to octogenarians. We also provide gourmet barbecues at the end of our monthly working bees as a thank you to our dedicated volunteers.

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A $78,250, 18 month grant (Feb 2010 - Sept 2011), funded by the Northern Rivers Catchment Management Authority, this Coastal Bio-Grant (NR-09-10-BG-C2) project will consolidate several years of regeneration work by our group, including the supervision of contractors funded by previous grants. It will increase resilience of native flora in an area ranked as number 1 priority in Bitou TAP 2006 by the eradication of remaining pockets of invasive weeds (Bitou, Lantana, Senna, Passionvine) and removal of emerging weed species (Gloriosa Lily, Asparagus Fern). This coastal area contains significant ecological communities such as Littoral rainforest, Themeda grassland on sea cliffs and coastal headlands, Frontal dune and Coastal Dune complexes. Many significant plant species ( eg.Plectranthus cremnus, Stackhousia spathulata) occur in this area. This project will consolidate work done to date by addressing remaining areas such as cliffs and steep gullies which have proved very difficult to access and which thus constitute a threat in terms likely re-infestation of treated areas. Also, remote and rough areas unsuitable for volunteers to treat will be addressed by employing contractors. These areas include extensive areas of Themeda grasslands and patches of littoral rainforest.

An 18 month (Nov 07 - May 09), $30 600 grant through the Australian Government Envirofund (project id: 64145). This project aimed to "protect native fauna and flora by weed removal. Activities to be undertaken are employing bush regeneration contractors to control weeds in an area of high biodiversity conservation value."

This is a 3 years (2015-2018), $98000 grant from the NSW Government Environmental Trust. The project areas include the EEC, Littoral Rainforest, and the Back Beach site borders Coastal Saltmarsh. Bitou Bush is a key threatening process for Littoral Rainforest and is currently the dominant species contributing to this fragmentation of the EEC at the sites. By removing the Bitou and other invasive weeds such as Ochna, Lantana, Gloriosa Lily, Asparagus, and Coastal Morning Glory, the fragmented rainforest canopy will consolidate by natural regeneration to a high level of resilience to further weed invasion. These areas have been neglected for over 50 years, hence the need for community engagement to address the issue.

A 6 year, $249000 project running from July 2012 - June 2018 funded by the NSW Government Environmental Trust. This project expands and cements the strategic weed management started by SWRDC in 2001 into a fully integrated multi-land-tenure project covering 600Ha over 12km of coast. It brings together ad-hoc projects undertaken by land managers and volunteers including indigenous and school groups in the area, facilitating work in partnership under the umbrella of the SWRDC Weed Plan. This Plan provides clear strategies for restoring endangered ecological communities, Littoral Rainforest and Themeda Grasslands and enhances the resilience of the entire area. Stabilisation of dunes in the face of potential coastal erosion will be of major benefit for protecting infrastructure.

An 18 month (Dec 07 - Jun 09), $17 600 grant through the Australian Government Envirofund (project id: 65019). The purpose of this project was to "stabilise the drainage lines on the eastern side of Smoky Cape from the lighthouse to the northern end of Gap Beach."

A 3 year, $98 650 project running from July 2012 - June 2015, funded by the NSW Government Environmental Trust: Smoky Cape to the Macleay River is an 800ha, 12km critical wildlife corridor. Back Beach (65ha) is the final major weed infestation yet to receive primary weed control. Removing Bitou Bush and Lantana, Weeds of National Significance, plus other highly invasive weeds will restore this section of the degraded environmental corridor. Natural regeneration beneath the existing Tuckeroo canopy will lead to the re-establishment of the endangered ecological community, Littoral Rainforest, which occurred on this site prior to disturbance, and occurs on the adjacent island and dunes. Targeted weed removal across the entire corridor will prevent future environmental degradation by weeds.

An 18 month (April 09 - Oct 10), $45 055 grant through the Caring for our Country community coastcare Federal Government program (Project id: CC081822). Aim: a) Protect and rehabilitate the coastal environment around Smoky Cape and South West Rocks b) Enhance the protection and resilience of Littoral Rainforest by creating a buffer of healthy transition species, achieved by the removal of invasive weed species such as Bitou Bush, Lantana, Passionvine and Senna c) Enhance the knowledge and skills of volunteers and the local community to improve future outcomes in coastal bush regeneration

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