Careel Bay saltmarsh regeneration

Australian Bushland Restoration has been undertaking works at Careel Bay since early 2007. Under NSW jurisdiction saltmarsh is an Endangered Ecological Community.

The native ground cover was almost totally eradicated by this Asparagus Fern infestation. © 2008 ABR. Press image to enlarge.

The native ground cover was almost totally eradicated by this Asparagus Fern infestation. © 2008 ABR. Press image to enlarge.

For many years the understorey vegetation has been dominated by a large Asparagus Fern Asparagus aethiopicus infestation. Asparagus Fern is a noxious weed in the Pittwater area and its eradication is of paramount importance.

The scope of the works were for the maintenance of previously worked areas (good areas of salt marsh), for the primary treatment and removal of Asparagus Fern and subsequent planting. Initial works included removing herbaceous weeds and grasses including Ehrharta Ehrharta erecta, Aster Aster subulatus, Atriplex Atriplex hastata and Cynodon dactylon.

With the weed infestation removed, native ground cover is returning. © 2008 Ricki Coughlan. Press image to enlarge.

With the weed infestation removed, native ground cover is returning. © 2008 Ricki Coughlan. Press image to enlarge.

One of the more challenging facets of works on this site was removing introduced Couch from within the large patches of native Couch Zoyzia macrantha and Sporobolus virginicus. Saltmarsh species are fragile, so we put in a range of practices aimed at protecting the native species whilst weeding out the exotic plant varieties.

Although not yet complete, the works at Careel Bay have been carried out with great success. We have effectively treated the Asparagus Fern, whilst maintaining previously worked areas. In just one year we have treated almost the entire infestation, which has lead to an increase in the number of native saltmarsh species and an expansion of the saltmarsh itself.

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