The volunteers at South West Rocks Community Dune Care can continue and extend their vital work restoring the coastal dunes and bushland at Trial Bay and Smoky Beach thanks to a new grant from the NSW Environmental Trust.
"This will be a real boost to our volunteers' enthusiasm at our next working bee on Sunday June 26 at South Smoky Beach," Community Dune Care secretary Alan Hill said.
"The new four-year grant for more than $155,000, builds on and enhances our 25 years of work.
"We have successfully cleared invasive weeds like bitou bush and stabilised the natural vegetation across 15 km (and 520 hectares) of the coastline, from the mouth of the Macleay River to south of Smoky Cape lighthouse.
"We've largely beaten the bitou bush infestation by using a combination of bush regeneration contractors and our local and visiting volunteers.
"This new grant means we can extend a further 1.2km south along the Smoky Beach dunes and hinterland, where the bitou bush is still fairly thick."
"While the local native plants are thriving again in areas where we've eradicated the bitou bush.
"There's one weed, glory lily, which has continued to be a problem, despite twice yearly treatments by our contractors.
This new grant will also help us research and develop a best practice model for treating glory lily along 4.75km of coastal dunes at Trial Bay, increasing resilience and protecting significant areas of littoral rainforest."
Since 2004, South West Rocks Community Dune Care has managed cash grants from federal, state and local governments which now total over one million dollars. In that same timeframe, volunteer hours contributed by the group have been costed at more than $1.4 million - a significant achievement.
"These grants support the local economy," Mr Hill said.
"We spend nearly all the grant money on bush regeneration contractors from the Mid North Coast. We also have up to 60 visiting volunteers per year, who stay for up to a week, and spend money in local cafes, restaurants, shops and other businesses.
"Some of them also return for holidays. It's a significant boost to local economic and environmental sustainability."
The next "bitou bash" working bee for South West Rocks Community Dune Care will be held on Sunday June 26 from 9am to 1pm at South Smoky Beach.
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