Landcare

CHB Landcare meets on the first Saturday of each month at 10am at Graveyard Beach car park. Come anytime from 10 – noon, all welcome!

Lake Macquarie Landcare Green Team visits are on weekdays and love local people joining in and learning some plants and skills. 

Current Plan – 2016

  • Control of weeds
  • Plant endemic plant species in areas where weeds are removed
  • Meet first Saturday of each month at 10 am at the Graveyard Beach car park, except Dec and Jan.
  • CHB Landcare to continue supporting EcoAngel and Tree Day activities
  • CHB Landcare to continue to act to preserve the habitat in the Wallarah Peninsula. There has been an approach to the Rose group to use endemic plants in much of their regeneration and park areas.
  • CHB Landcare to promote activities on the PA website www.catherinehillbay.org.au , the CHB community “CathHillBay” and “Cathhilbay Landcare” Facebook pages, the NSW Landcare Gateway site, and in the Lake Macquarie Landcare communications.
  • CHB Landcare to continue efforts to engage local residents and visitors; liaise with Surf Club, schools and other community service groups to gain support and resources.
  • Site leader is again Chair of Lake Macquarie Landcare Network Committee and member of Hunter Region Landcare Committee.

Priorities as at February 2016:

1. Dunal areas Graveyard Beach, and between car park and in front of CHB cemetery Replacement planting on beach front with low growing endemic species. Maintain weed control.

2. Access paths to Graveyard beach and the walkway from car park heading north Weed control and pruning to keep walkways and historic graves accessible.

3. Access paths to CHB beach, just north of CHB Ck coming from car park. Weed control and replacement planting on beach front.

4. Surf Club and Pat Slaven Reserve dunal areas Maintain weed control with Green Team

5. CHB Ck Maintain weed control and replacement planting along creek and rear of clearing.

Contact: Contact Carmel Brown – (02) 49762720 and 0438499636. Mobile reception is patchy but look for the fluro yellow and green shirt!

A Complex Environment

Catherine Hill Bay Landcare (CHBLC) was formed to build, support and maintain native flora and fauna communities within the Catherine Hill Bay (CHB) area.
The CHB area incorporates a wide variety of vegetation communities ranging from complex coastal regions to a broad range of forest communities.
Since the primarily long term land use was underground coal mining, there was associated tree felling and milling, 3 hamlets, a dam wall, a wetland area filled in and areas of coal stockpiling.
So there are some areas which require significant resources to rehabilitate due to erosion, weed invasion and non- native plant introduction.
To rehabilitate the total CHB environment is beyond the ability and resources of CHBLC.
However there are obvious areas around the dunes, forests and recreational areas that will benefit greatly by consistent and focussed management.
This is a living plan and will be updated by the CHBLC Management Committee as required.

Areas of Significance:

  • – Area surrounding the Surf Club.
  • – Area surrounding the Southern Car Park
  • – Catherine Hill Bay Creek at the back of Lindsley Street
  • – Creeks crossing Flowers Dr, Middle Camp
  • – Palm and Tea Tree Groves.
  • – Area east of Cemetery
  • – Dunes all along the Middle Camp Beach Front.

Heritage Cemetery Aims:

  • 1. Rehabilitation of degraded native vegetation
  • 2. Increase the diversity of native species
  • 3. Stabilise and control erosion of dunal systems
  • 4. Maintenance of pedestrian access through the site
  • 5. Protection of Aboriginal heritage sites

Activities:

  • A Re-establish weed free dunal areas in mosaic process
  • B Regenerate native plant communities where resilience and diversity are poor.
  • C Re-establish hind dunes vegetation
  • D Re-establish coastal corridor for wildlife
  • E Maintain paddock fencing and previous work
  • F Protect palm and Teatree groves in Mine Camp and Middle Camp with a weed free barrier zone
  • G Re-establish creek banks with native plants

All works will be compatible with the relevant plans of the site for coastal boardwalks and such.
It is critical that only local provenance species are grown, so many will need to be ordered in advance for propagation from local stock.
Due to the ecological and cultural significance of the site, all works must have the approval of the Landcare Resource Officer (LRO ) before commencing.
LRO will clear the plans with Land Councils and landowners, and provide current maps.

Our History:

Community Landcare activities at Catherine Hill Bay were launched impressively on “Clean up Australia Day” 1991 – about 100 residents filled a semi-trailer with rubbish collected from a local beach.
The clean-up was part of a concerted effort by the local community, the largest landowner in the area (Coal and Allied Operations Ltd), National Parks and Wildlife Service, local councils and police to clean-up Moonee Beach, close it to 4WDs and incorporate it into Munmorah State Conservation Area.
Coal and Allied initially invited residents to join a Dune Care group which had a common membership with the Catherine Hill Bay Progress Association.
The two groups formally became one body in 1998 and were incorporated as one body in 2002, coinciding with the anniversary of the Progress Association’s foundation a century earlier.
With strong support from Coal and Allied the Dune Care group fenced the frontal dunes at the southern end of Catherine Hill Bay beach, the work being performed by volunteers on Sunday mornings.
Later in 1991 Coal and Allied Operations Ltd won the NSW Landcare Business Award for its activities at Catherine Hill Bay.
During 1995-97 three LEAP Training Programs each with a supervisor and 10 trainees completed the re-shaping of high dunes at the northern end of the Beach, between the heritage cemetery and the popular surfing spot known as “Graveyard”.
The project was particularly sensitive because of the re-discovery there in 1992 on the top of one dune of three historic family graves, dating in one case from 1897. The Dune Care activities cleared the site and removed sand 2m deep to expose the tombstones. In addition the LEAP teams restored vegetation, defined paths with fencing and marked walkways.
Two Green Corps programs in the late 1990s and early 2000s grassed Moonee Beach and completed improvements at the cemetery and southern beach car park.
Underground coal mining at Catherine Hill Bay declined sharply from about 2000 and mining ceased in 2002, and part of the area was sold to a developer.
The Progress Association turned its environmental attention to preparing a case for the former coal mining lease (known as the Wallarah Peninsula) to become a national park.
The submission took about two years to complete and resulted in an Environmental Assessment of the area in 2005.
The Department of Environment and Conservation confirmed the high ecological value of the area, which contains a number of threatened species and fauna and flora.
Through the period Dune Care has promoted Clean Up Australia Day as a significant community activity.

2005-2009

Coordinators David Knock and Ireen Wong.

Activities at Catherine Hill Bay were re-invigorated in 2005 when a group of volunteers approached the Progress Association to re-establish on-ground activities.
They developed a work program and priorities and Catherine Hill Bay Progress Association and Dune Care Inc is a proud participant in the Landcare organisation.
Work was conducted on the second Saturday of the month, with some week long sessions by Conservation Volunteers Australia.
2006 was a great year for the CHB Landcare Committee. It succeeded in delivering against 90% of the target activities.
It established excellent working relationships with the local land holders, council and local support organisations.
Particular mention needs to be made of Conversation Volunteers Australia, and Rio Tinto.
Conservation Volunteers Australia provided teams of people for weeks on end to deliver against the largest resource intensive projects.
Some of 2006’s reports showed many large piles of weeds cleaned out from sensitive creek water catchment areas, and extensive planting on the beach front dunes and clearing of pedestrian walkways provided dune stabilization and improved visitor amenity.
Rio Tinto proved to be an excellent neighbor by providing easy access to areas identified in the plan as needing Landcare attention, and clearing the previously mentioned piles of weeds the teams amassed.
The best accolade of our 2006 success would have to be the combined teams contribution to Catherine Hill Bay winning the NSW Hunter Region Clean Beach Challenge.
The 2007-2009 built on the program by doing secondary maintenance, and extending the weed free buffer zones.

The main areas of work were: Catherine Hill Bay Creek

  • – Test water quality
  • – Check sewage working and overflows along creek edges
  • – Remove Bitou and Lantana along north side of creek and west of clearing (former wetland and children’s swimming area filled in as worksite for jetty restoration)
  • – Replant with indigenous plants Heritage Cemetery and dunes
  • – Remove Bitou and Lantana on Council Land from beach dunes to Cemetery
  • – Repair Fencing
  • – Repair pathway treads to Beach
  • – Replanting as necessary
  • – Restore walkway along top of dunes Palm Groves
  • – Remove Cassia (Senna) Bitou and Lantana along immediate borders – Contact Coal & Allied re site access
  • – Secondary weeding of Lantana in greater area as appropriate
  • – Planting to reduce erosion as appropriate
Landcare Working Bee 13th May 2006 Download (1.2MB) the report on the activities of the group
Landcare Working Bee 10th June 2006 Download (0.7MB) the report on the activities of the group
Cleanup Australia Day – 5th March 2006

An enthusiastic turnout of 20 Bay, Swansea and Nords Wharf residents and children helped do their bit to keep the Bay tidy. Working in 4 groups from the 2 highway entrances down through the village and along the beach front, our volunteers collected over 40 bags of assorted rubbish and some 5 tonnes of accumulated dumped refuse from the bush. Clearly the dumpers are as brazen as ever but we have photographic evidence and a name or two to follow up. If you see or hear any dumping or come across new sites please let the association know and we may be able to get it cleared through the year. .our thanks to all who volunteered, and a special mention to the Dune Care group, and David Poyzer and Norm Charlton for the use of their trailers, without which we would not have been so successful.. James Knowles 2006

2010 – 2012

Due to dwindling numbers of volunteers, while the CHBPA had other priorities, CHB Landcare continued maintenance of the CHB creek area, the beach walkways and the heritage graves only during this time.
All Clean Up Australia Day and some Tree Day events were also held.
CHB Landcare produced submissions and presented to panels involved in the DA applications by Rose Group and Coal & Allied.
The presentation to the Coal & Allied PAC can be read here.
The CHB Surf Club conducted extensive weed spraying along the dunes in the 2012 winter, leaving areas ready for planting with indigenous species.
They also requested that CHB be included in water testing and the publication of results as with other waterways. Both CHB Creek and beach water included.

2013 – 2015

CHB Landcare met first Thursdays of each month at 1pm at the Surf Club until July 2014 – back to first Saturdays, 10-noon.

Dunal areas in front of CHB Surf Club and Pat Slaven Reserve BBQ area poisoned over past winters were becoming degraded and unattractive. For 2 years volunteers and Green Team members removed weeds and planted endemic plant species. The slope, water-repelling clay, coal chitter and sand proved challenging, and although over 700 plants went in, there is light coverage at this stage. There are sufficient plants surviving however, to now see the area regenerate with maintenance work.

Landcare Resource Centre Vegetation Officer’s plant survey of CHB was completed in February 2013.

CHB Dunecare continued participating in Clean Up Australia Day, EcoAngel and Tree Day activities; submitting documents to preserve the habitat in the Wallarah Peninsula; promoting activities on the PA website www.catherinehillbay.org.au and the CHB community Facebook page; liaising with CHB Surf Club and the Community and Bowling Club re activities; engaging local residents and visitors; liaising with Surf Club, schools and other community service groups to gain support and resources; and with LRC, produced a promotional leaflet (Case Study) published on the LRC website and ours.

A separate Facebook page was also created and now has 87 followers (information and photos are posted each month and LM Landcare posts and others are shared – current Site Leader is admin for both Facebook pages); Site registered on NSW Landcare Gateway; Team Leader member then Chair of LM Landcare Network C’tee; media coverage on ABC TV, website and radio at anniversary of the Oct 2013 fire on regeneration and new plants on ridge near former churches.

Additional achievements in 2015:

Small but dedicated team worked each month on the Graveyard Beach site: thanks to Dave and Linsey Goff, Clarita Norman, Nell Hudson, Damien Hawcroft, Greg Dousha and Sue Whyte of CHB, along with Garry Stewart (Swansea) Don Roach (Windale) and Wendy Heys (Shortland) supporting from other Landcare groups, and Carmel Brown, Site Leader.

There was some April storm damage – erosion in the Pat Slaven Reserve area and small trees fell in the north site.

The LRC provided signs erected by the Green Team mid year at the Surf Club site and the walkway behind the cemetery. The latter was removed and dumped nearby, replaced, removed again and missing, so it was replaced and placed at the top of the path to the beach where it was not affecting the view from parked cars

The Green Team from the LRC visited 3 times and cleared the larger weeds around the Graveyard Beach car park and slopes – mainly Bitou bush, Lantana, Blackberry. On National Tree Day in July plants provided by the LRC were planted there and more along the walkway.

In Spring, Garry, Don, Greg, Wendy and Carmel walked in the ridge area near the former churches, and found a few dozen species of orchids and other wildflowers. No Christmas bells this year (were some in 2014). Later, Greg found native raspberries along the fire trail further west.

We held educational display tables at the CHB School Building Centenary Festival and the CHB Surfboard Swap Meet.

Council replaced the small shelter over the barbecues in the Pat Slaven Reserve with a larger shelter to cover the tables and seating, too, and angled so as to least block residents beach views.

2015 Objectives not met:

No significant increase in participants.

Area behind CHB Tennis Court – permission of the landowner (Coal & Allied) was sought for weed control and replacement planting; requested removal of coral trees. No response received and issue referred to the PA Exec, which already liaise with C&A. No results.

Middle Camp Ck weed control and replacement planting – no interest from residents nearby.

Click here to visit the Landcare NSW website

Lake Macquarie Landcare Resource Centre website
Wallarah National Park website
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION: Carmel Brown 49 762 720