PLEASE LOVE (AND RESPECT) OUR PRECIOUS DUNES
Our dunes have survived a hammering this week, thanks in no small part to the crucial native plants that hold them together. That won’t always be the case.
We all have to learn to love and respect the dunes as much as PBCA’s bushcare legend and dune protector Rochelle Gooch. These are her words.
Visitors here see a beautiful place to enjoy. Those of us who spend our lives protecting this precious environment see something else. A magnificent sandy, salty ecosystem with the most fragile glue holding it in place. That glue is the native vegetation that is essential to our beaches, our lifestyle, our economy.
Our incipient dunes – they’re the ones closest to the ocean - are in a constant state of flux.
It’s their job to absorb those powerful waves that sweep up the beach.
In a resilient system of healthy vegetated dunes they soon re-establish once the high tides recede.
Spinifex is nature’s dune builder, aided by dunal creepers called goat’s foot (or the Latin ‘pes caprae’), & dune bean (or ‘vigna marina’).
In the sort of weather we’ve experienced this week, the parent plant is further up the dunes & its long runners reach far & wide to stabilize the sand. They tolerate the salt and thrive in windy conditions when sand blows along the beach and it’s time to rebuild.
Without human interference our dunal vegetation will continue to accrete sand & rebuild our much-loved beaches after they take a hammering like this week.
But when they’re trampled by foot traffic which disturbs & erodes the dunes, that rebuilding becomes so much harder. We become a direct threat to the place we love.
On your next beach walk say a little ‘thank you’ to our dunal vegetation & remember to respect the critical role it plays.
Show your appreciation by keeping off the dunes, walk on the public pathways and the open beach. Choose to sit on exposed sand, rather than crushing the vegetation.
Nature is remarkably good at healing herself. If we let her.