Funds to help environmental bushfire recovery

Eurobodalla Council has received more than $1.8 million funding to bolster environmental recovery efforts following the Black Summer bushfires.

The funds will help rehabilitation and restoration work throughout the shire by improving native revegetation, outcomes for wildlife, soil and water quality and biodiversity, as well as managing invasive species.

About 80.7% of the Eurobodalla Shire was burnt in the fires. Seven months on, Eurobodalla Council’s natural resource supervisor Heidi Thomson said future environmental management required significant resources.

“Environmental regeneration across the shire has been quite varied - in a lot of cases it depends on the intensity of the fire when it went through,” she said.

“Some areas are regenerating really well, better than we would have thought, whereas others are pretty slow to take off.

“The focus has been on high priority sediment and erosion control, but now it’s getting more strategic.”

Ms Thomson said one of the biggest issues was getting on top of the weeds, which were regenerating as quickly as the natural vegetation.

“We often get calls from residents wanting to identify weeds growing on their property. A lot of the plants coming up people haven’t seen in a long time because their seeds are stimulated by fire,” she said.

“We urge landowners to be aware of changes on their property, and if they think something’s not quite right, they can call us for advice. We also have a great video on our YouTube channel showing the different types of plants likely to be sprouting in burnt areas – the good and the bad.”

Of the recently-announced funding, Council will use $250,000 to help owners of fire-impacted land combat high-threat agricultural weeds, focussing on the Tuross and Buckenbowra River valleys.  A further $1.1 million over three years will be used for sediment, erosion and weed control on private and public land to minimise impacts to water quality and estuary health.

Almost $50,000 from WIRES will help Council continue its work with community groups making and installing nest boxes in bush close to burnt areas.

Landcare Australia also allocated grants to some of the shire’s valuable local Landcare groups for things like sediment and weed control; at Pretty Point, the Deua Valley, Surf Beach, Lilli Pilli/Malua Bay and Rosedale; while funds from the Biodiversity Conservation Trust will be used for a strategic project to improve the bio-certification area at Broulee.

A south-east catchment and waterways bushfire recovery plan will also be developed in partnership with Eurobodalla, Bega and Shoalhaven Councils to strategically plan for region’s recovery in the medium to long-term.

Above: Emma Patyus and Heidi Thomson from Council’s environment team assess the damage along a section of the Tuross River.