Posted on 03/07/2015 by Phillip Island Nature Parks

Environmental works at Cape Woolamai

Once all the shearwaters had departed for their annual migration to the northern hemisphere, Rangers from Phillip Island Nature Parks converged on Cape Woolamai for extensive environmental works throughout June.

Cape Woolamai is a significant area of wildlife habitat, hosting up to one million short-tailed shearwaters each summer, and is also a very popular recreational spot for both residents and visitors alike.

“In this last month we have been attacking a range of pest plants such as boxthorn, inkweed, apple of sodom, kikuyu and buffalo grass” said Mark Merryful, Senior Ranger for Coasts and Wetlands with Phillip Island Nature Parks.

In addition to the traditional hands-on methods of dealing with these pest plants, Rangers also employed the assistance of some specialist machinery with wet blade technology to simultaneously slash, mulch, and apply herbicide to woody weeds in a single pass without the risk of chemical drift. This all-terrain machinery is able to access vast areas on the Cape, which would have previously only been accessible on foot.

Pest plants such as boxthorn threaten short-tailed shearwater habitat and are a physical hazard to birds that get trapped in the thorny bushes, which also harbour feral predators. Mr Merryful was pleased to say: “After the recent works, the section between the areas known as Magiclands and the Pinnacles is now virtually boxthorn free.”

He went on to say: “Revegetation of the Cape is now a priority and also a vast undertaking, so our Environment team will be incorporating a range of methods including the planting of up to 12,000 tube-stock, as well as direct seeding of native grasses and herbs.”

These environmental works will continue until September when the shearwaters are due to return to the Cape for the summer season.