Caring for Coast Program

Nature Conservation Margaret River Region supported by the Line in the Sand Philanthropic Group is delivering a program of coastal restoration and community awareness raising along the Capes Coast between Cape Naturaliste and Cape Leeuwin.

The aim of the program is to inspire the community of the Margaret River Region to value, respect and care for the coast, and to engage them in restoration activities to improve the condition of coastal ecosystems for the enjoyment of future generations.

A strong aboriginal cultural component in recognition of the Wadandi or Saltwater People as the traditional custodians of the coast is incorporated into the program.

The Caring for Coast Program currently comprises four key elements:

  • Coastal Cultural Connections
  • A Coastal Code to Safeguard our Coast
  • Building Resilience in Coastal Ecosystems
  • Schools Caring for our Coast

Coastal Cultural Connections

Nature Conservation’s Caring for Coast Program aims to foster strong connections with local Wadandi or Saltwater People as the traditional owners of the coast. Through collaboration with the Undalup Association the program is increasing cultural awareness and building indigenous skills and knowledge in coastcare.

Engagement of aboriginal youth from the Wadandi Surf Academy in on ground restoration activities at Whiting Beach in Cowaramup Bay has provided an opportunity to build indigenous skills and knowledge in coastcare. Fourteen local youth attended a full day of coastal activities including planting and brushing with Nature Conservation Coastal Rehabilitation Officer, Drew McKenzie and cultural learning activities with Cultural Custodian Iszacc Webb.

Three Coastal Cultural Connection walks were made available to the community to experience aboriginal culture and connections to the coast during Kambarang (October – November), aboriginal season of wildflowers and birth. Led by Cultural Custodian Iszacc Webb the walks at Yallingup, Gracetown, and Gnarabup allowed community members to experience the special culture and nature of the Capes Coast.

Nature Conservation is committed to ongoing consultation with the Undalup Association with regard to coastal planning and implementation of on ground actions and potential impact on cultural values.

A Coastal Code to Safeguard our Coast

Resident and tourist populations of the Margaret River region are forecast to increase significantly in the coming years with the potential to adversely impact on coastal ecosystems.

Nature Conservation is working to inspire the development of a coastal code for the Capes Coast, a code which is developed and owned by the community and which communicates the coastal values that we all want protected for the future.

Initial consultation with coastcare groups and coastal user groups has identified a wide range of issues that could be addressed by the code and a keen desire by groups to be champions of a code.

At a Capes Coastal Forum conducted on 25 November 2020 community members joined coastcarers and representative from coastal user groups to discuss the coastal behavioural issues facing the coast and how a code might help to address these issues. Further community consultation during 2021 will determine what the coastal code might look like and develop contemporary and innovative ways to promote it to the community and tourists.

For Nature

Building Resilience in Coastal Ecosystems

Nature Conservation works collaboratively with local volunteer coastcare groups to ensure the region’s coastal ecosystems are managed according to the best practice and are strong and resilient to face the challenges of people and, providing advice and assisting volunteers to carry out restoration activities.

In 2020 coastal restoration activities focused on Cowaramup Bay, where coastal planning and community consultation for the future use and access to the coastal strip had been undertaken by the Shire of Augusta Margaret River. Future restoration activities will also include other parts of the Capes Coast.

For Nature inspiration

During 2020 local volunteers from the Friends of Gracetown and Cowaramup Bay and the Cowaramup Board Riders Association were engaged in coastal restoration work including brushing and planting of 720 native seedlings at Melaleuca Beach and Huzzas.

Volunteers will be further engaged in restoration activities including manual control of priority weeds in the coastal strip around Cowaramup Bay and track rationalisation at North Point.

Schools Caring for our Coast

Nature Conservation’s ‘Adopt a Spot’ program connects young people to the coast, engaging school communities in long term environmental restoration projects, working alongside local community groups and working in an outdoor classroom.

During 2020 over 300 Year 4 students from four local primary schools worked with local volunteer conservation groups at four local coastal rehabilitation sites at Cowaramup Bay, Gnarabup/Prevelly, Redgate Beach, Flinders Bay in Augusta.

Over the course of the year students planted over 1500 native seedlings and cuttings, laying 2 loads of brush and undertake clean ups of their adopted beaches with follow up weeding. They monitored the success of their plantings and communicated key conservation messages to their school communities.

Adopt a Spot also provides local aboriginal cultural learning for students increasing their understanding and respect for Wadandi cultural and their continuing connection to the Capes coast.