Annual burning of the Dalmeny Kianga Themeda grass (kangaroo grass) headlands has been called off this year.
Eurobodalla Council’s Natural Resource Supervisor Heidi Thomson said this year’s dry conditions were of concern.
“The burns are carefully timed so that they are quickly followed up with rain and a flush of new growth, something that doesn’t look likely to occur this year,” she said.
“The threat of the headlands staying bare for months or even years after the burn is too risky. We will revisit the burning next year if conditions are right.”
Themeda grass headlands are an Endangered Ecological Community (EEC) in NSW due to many being degraded with impacts from urbanisation and weeds.
Above: Annual burning of the Themeda grass headlands at Dalmeny and Kianga has been called off this year due to the dry conditions.
Council and the Dalmeny Kianga Rural Fire Service (RFS) have implemented traditional Aboriginal burning practices on three headlands to manage the grasslands since 2013.
Like much of Australia's flora, the origins of the EEC is related to Aboriginal management practices. Burning keeps headlands in an open 'grassy' state without trees or shrubs, creating a highly-specialised grassland community.
“The return to traditional management techniques is vital in the long-term protection and conservation of these grass headlands,” Ms Thomson said.
“The burning has reduced the abundance of exotic grasses and invigorated the growth of the more desirable native species, including fragile herbs.
“Annual flora monitoring of the headlands has shown positive results with the re-appearance of some native species that had all but disappeared before the burnings.”
Council previously won two awards for its innovation in using burning as a management technique and it has since been adopted by various council across coastal NSW.
In the absence of fire this year, Council will monitor and control weeds on the headlands which would usually be burned.
For more information visit Council’s website http://www.esc.nsw.gov.au/living-in/about/our-natural-environment/themeda-headlands