The dunes at Alva Beach, near Ayr.

Dune protection the focus for Alva Beach planting

A major revegetation project kicking off in January will improve the condition of sand dunes on the lower Burdekin’s most popular beach.

The dune system at Alva Beach helps protect the coastal township from inundation by absorbing wave energy generated during storms and cyclones. It also provides reservoirs of sand to replenish stocks on the beach when erosion has occurred.

In recent years, vegetation stabilising the dunes has been severely damaged, primarily by 4WD vehicles and quad bikes.

Biodiversity Project Officer Brittany Butler said nearly 9000 stems would be planted to stabilise the dunes, and the revegetation effort would involve a variety of local groups, culminating with a chance for the wider community to play their part.

“The bulk of the planting will be delivered by Indigenous employment group Three Big Rivers, Gudjuda Reference Group Aboriginal Corporation, and Lower Burdekin Landcare,” Ms Butler said.

“The final 400 stems will be saved for a community planting day during February, where members of the community will have a chance to get involved and do their bit to protect the dunes.

“The plants, including lollybush, she-oak, spinifex, goat’s foot and screw pine, were sourced from local landcare and nursery providers.

“The species are able to tolerate harsh coastal conditions, however, they won’t stand a chance against vehicle tyres, which is why Burdekin Shire Council will be enforcing rules to protect them.”

Alva beach isn’t just popular with locals and tourists — it’s also a haven for green and loggerhead turtles, as well as a variety of birds and other wildlife.

It backs onto the Bowling Green Bay Wetlands, recognised internationally as important habitat for migratory shorebirds such as the little tern, black tailed godwit and eastern curlew.

The revegetation work at Alva Beach is being delivered through two NQ Dry Tropics projects: From the Land to the Sea, funded by the Australian Government’s Reef Trust; and Restoring Bowling Green Bay Wetlands, funded through the Australian Government’s Environment Restoration Fund.