NQ Dry Tropics has started work to protect and restore beach scrubs along Queensland’s coastline between Crystal Creek and Bowen.

NQ Dry Tropics’ Biodiversity team has implemented a management program to improve the condition of the endangered beach scrubs, which are a type of vine forest. NQ Dry Tropics Project Manager Jaymie Rains said protecting beach scrub would help to reduce erosion and maintain an important barrier between the sea and coastal communities.

“The aim of the program is to improve the condition and extent of the beach scrubs.  We are working with landholders to better manage these sites,” Ms Rains said.

Conservation Volunteers has been contracted to assist with on-ground works, and phase one was completed this month which saw the Horseshoe Bay and Nelly Bay beach scrubs on Magnetic Island cleared of invasive weeds and rubbish.

The Beach Scrub Project is supported by NQ Dry Tropics through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Programme.  Ms Rains said the 18-month long project would help restore the nationally-endangered ecological beach scrub communities.

“We have a good group of strongly committed landholders involved, all keen to improve the health of the beach scrub on their properties.

“Our Biodiversity team surveyed 14 sites along the Burdekin coast to determine their health.

“For the most part they are in a good condition but would definitely benefit from extra care.   All of the sites are under threat from woody weeds, especially lantana, rubber vine and leucaena.

“Lantana is a Weed of National Significance, so we definitely want to ramp up efforts to eliminate it from our beach scrubs.

“Rubbish was found on all the sites, including household waste and debris washed up on the shore,” she said.

Volunteers from the United Kingdom and the United States joined NQ Dry Tropics and Conservation Volunteers team leaders to collect and remove more than 120 kg of rubbish, and hand-pull and treat invasive weeds, from the two Magnetic Island sites on his month.

“It was a huge effort thanks to the Conservation Volunteers, especially considering the work was undertaken during some of our hottest weather this season,” Ms Rains said.

“The international volunteers are travelling on their gap years and many of them said they wanted to give back to the beautiful country they were visiting, to help improve the environment,” she said.

NQ Dry Tropics and Conservation Volunteers will continue on-ground works at multiple sites until June next year.

Main photo: NQ Dry Tropics Biodiversity Beach Scrub project manager Jaymie Rains, left, joins volunteers from Conservation Volunteers for a cold break during the hot conditions in the beach scrub at Horseshoe Bay, Magnetic Island.