Community planting effort will protect sand dunes at Wunjunga

More than 30 volunteers fronted up to plant out more than 900 native seedlings that, when established, will help secure the sand dunes and protect the access road. 

More than 30 participants did their bit to protect sand dunes at Wunjunga, at a Community Planting Day in December, 2023.

In little more than two hours, they planted 900 native seedlings to stabilise the dunes and protect the access road from storm surges and future extreme weather events. 

The plants, including beach bean, goat’s foot and brown cudgerie, were specially selected for their ability to withstand harsh coastal conditions.

Organised by NQ Dry Tropics and Burdekin Shire Council, the event was part of the QCoast 2100 program, funded by the Queensland Government and delivered by the Local Government Association of Queensland.

Event organiser, NQ Dry Tropics Project Officer Darcy Roeger, praised attendees for turning out in numbers to help protect the beautiful natural environment.

“It was great to see so many people from the area getting involved in the planting,” Mr Roeger said.

“The heat didn’t diminish the enthusiasm of this proud community and I’m excited to see this site grow into a more valuable beach scrub.

“I would also like to thank Lower Burdekin Landcare, Coastal Dry Tropics Landcare and Whitsundays Landcare for the plants they supplied. 

“It’s comforting to know that between the propagation and the planting, these trees have had the best start they can get.” 

Burdekin Shire Council Mayor, Cr Lyn McLaughlin said she was proud of the community effort.

“It was wonderful to see people from different backgrounds and ages joining forces to protect our precious sand dunes, Cr McLaughlin said.

“These dunes are vital for our coastal resilience and biodiversity, and they need our care and attention.

“The planting sites were chosen based on the Dune Management Strategy, adopted by Council in December 2021, which identified them as high-risk areas that could be breached by severe storms.

“By restoring the native vegetation, we are strengthening the dunes and ensuring their survival for future generations. 

“This is part of an ongoing collaboration between NQ Dry Tropics, Wunjunga Progress Association and Gudjuda Reference Group, who have done a remarkable job in preserving our natural heritage.”

The community event brought the total number of plants planted at Wunjunga in the past month to more than 2400, building on some excellent work done by Gudjuda Rangers and NQ Dry Tropics staff earlier in the month.   

They also constructed 1.6km of beachfront fencing, and installed signage to discourage people driving vehicles across the dunes, and to raise awareness about the importance of protecting  the fragile coastal vegetation.

Ongoing monitoring will help ensure the seedlings have the best chance of success, and future threats are prevented.

The seedlings were given a good start with a thorough watering-in.

Volunteers planting out more than 900 seedlings on Wunjunga sand dunes during a joint NQ Dry Tropics and Burdekin Shire Council event, funded through the Queensland Government’s QCoast2100 program.

Pictured at the Community Planting Day are, from left: Vice-Chair, Wunjunga Progress Association Daniel Conway, Burdekin Mayor and Deputy Chair NQ DRy Tropics Lyn McLaughlin, Event organiser NQ Dry Tropics Project Officer Darcy Roeger, CEO Gudjuda Reference Group Aboriginal Corporation Eddie Smallwood and Coordinator Environment and Health Projects Burdekin Shire Council Linda Govan.

Gudjuda Ranger Diane Smallwood watering-in a freshly-planted seedling.

NQ Dry Tropics Soil Conservation Officer Bernie Claussen.

Gudjada Ranger Michael Backo.

Wunjunga local Wayne Christensen.

Skye Claussen.

A Brown cudgerie (Canarium australasicum) seedling, one of the species planted.

Chair Wunjunga Progress Association Steve Cockfield.

Sheree Christensen.