Monday, 30 November 2020
Curtin Electorate: Cambridge Coastcare
There's close to 15 kilometres of beautiful beach land marking the western boundary of my electorate of Curtin. From the flag poles at Scarborough Beach to just south of the Cottesloe Groin, you can't find a better stretch of coastline anywhere in the world. Because of the remarkable work done by leader botanist, Professor Kinglsey Dixon, we know that the Perth coastline has an amazing biodiversity. His book, Coastal plants: a guide to the identification and restoration of plants of the Perth region, identifies 128 of the most common plants along the coast.
In addition to identifying the amazing biosecurity, Professor Dixon has also been instrumental in helping us to recognise the ecological vulnerability of the coast and has been involved for decades in both research and local community efforts to preserve and protect the natural environment. One of those local community initiatives that Professor Dixon was a founding member of is Cambridge Coastcare. Cambridge Coastcare commenced in March 1999, following a call from the town of Cambridge in 1998 for interest in people to establish a coast care organisation to assist with the managing, monitoring, and protection of the environment and recreational values of the coastline in the town.
Since being incorporated, Cambridge Coastcare has managed $400,000 in grants for coastal projects, mainly to protect the natural dune system with planting of local native plants, fencing and monitoring. This coastline is 4.8km long and not only has some of the best natural dune system in the Perth metro area but it is also listed as one of the 55 hotspots susceptible to coastal erosion. This is of concern because it's recognised that the stability of the dune system provides a cost effective, natural defence mechanism against the hazards of sand drift, intrusion of waves, wind and salt spray.
Cambridge Coastcare currently has 65 members, including 20 family memberships. As I discovered last week when I had the opportunity to visit, these are passionate people, who pay to belong to Coastcare and then volunteer their time to weed, plant and, as I discovered last week, erect fences. Their current project aims to restore vegetation cover for the dunes fronting Floreat Surf Life Saving Club. This year's winter storms, rough seas and high water levels—the combined result of a storm surge, tide and swell direction—washed away the front of the dunes by one to two metres, leaving potentially dangerous sand cliffs in some places. This erosion poses a threat to public safety and threatens to destabilise these popular coastal assets, so fencing has been erected. The design is to build up the natural sand in the winter season to enable planting next year. Thank you, Ivo Davies, Meg Anklesaria and all volunteers at Cambridge Coastcare for the work that you do.