Endangered themeda grasslands thriving at Narooma: PHOTOS

THE restoration of native themeda or kangaroo grass ecosystems on Dalmeny and Kianga headlands by Eurobodalla Shore Council is progressing well.

NATIVE HABITAT: Council environment and sustainability officer Tom Dexter in the centre of the native kangaroo grass field on Duesbury Point, Dalmeny.

NATIVE HABITAT: Council environment and sustainability officer Tom Dexter in the centre of the native kangaroo grass field on Duesbury Point, Dalmeny.

AREAS IN QUESTION: The three designated themeda grass ecosystems are marked in yellow hatching.

AREAS IN QUESTION: The three designated themeda grass ecosystems are marked in yellow hatching.

ENDANGERED HABITAT: Two patches at Duesbury Point and Duesbury Beach burned last August are already sporting healthy clumps of kangaroo grass interspersed with other native plants.

ENDANGERED HABITAT: Two patches at Duesbury Point and Duesbury Beach burned last August are already sporting healthy clumps of kangaroo grass interspersed with other native plants.

BURNING DUE: The as-yet unburned patch at the north end of Kianga Beach, where mowing and spraying has been halted as the natives were still struggling underneath ready to be set free by fire this August.

BURNING DUE: The as-yet unburned patch at the north end of Kianga Beach, where mowing and spraying has been halted as the natives were still struggling underneath ready to be set free by fire this August.

Not only is it meeting state Endangered Ecological Community obligations, it is also attracting the attention of other land managers such as National Parks that may want to try and restore the threatened grassland habitats on other headlands.

“We’re very pleased and the native grasses will invigorate themselves given the opportunity,” council environment and sustainability officer Tom Dexter said.

Urbanisation meant headlands everywhere had been transformed with housing and mowed parkland, so while these themeda headlands were increasingly rare, the project is proving they can be re-established even in urban areas.

Two patches at Duesbury Point and Duesbury Beach burned last August are already sporting healthy clumps of kangaroo grass interspersed with other native plants, while the third patch at Kianga Beach will be burned for the first time this August.

The now established Duesbury patches will also be reburned, as Tom explained this is what the indigenous coastal peoples would have done for thousands of years.

The burning knocks back the thick exotic kikuyu and other native weeds and allows the grass and associated natives to go grow back.

Ironically this archaeological history such as middens and possible burials prevents council from digging into the headland to erect signs, although it is looking at alternative signage.

While the native grasslands won’t be smooth and manicured, they do look attractive and attract native species providing better habitat for all than barren mowed lawn, which obviously already dominates urban areas.

Tom acknowledged the kikuyu had gotten very thick at the as-yet unburned patch at the north end of Kianga Beach, but mowing and spraying had been halted as the natives were still struggling underneath ready to be set free by fire this August.

Council also intended to remove the small introduced Norfolk Pines at the cliff edge.