National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS), Coffs Harbour City Council, NSW Fire and Rescue and Rural Fire Service will join forces with Gumbaynggirr firefighters from the Durrandar Wajarr team to conduct ecological and cultural burns on Macauleys and Boambee headlands scheduled for the 3rd to the 7th April. The burn schedule is reliant on optimal weather conditions.
NPWS Coffs Coast Area Manager Glenn Storrie said “The success of previous years burns were an inspiration to continue this program to maintain the grassland and minimise the encroachment by shrubs such as coastal wattles and banksias.”
“The project is supported by the NSW Environmental Trust and one of aims to empower and build capacity among traditional custodians to participate in bush regeneration through the burning of native grasslands on coastal headlands,” he said.
Mark Flanders, Senior Cultural Heritage Officer and local Gumbaynggirr Elder from the Coffs Harbour Local Aboriginal Land Council explains that indigenous people all along the north coast of NSW actively burned many of the coastal headlands.
“There was a variety of cultural and practical reasons why Gumbaynggirr people used fire. These included creating open camp sites and areas for communication along the coastline.”
“Fires also cleaned up the camp site after use and encouraged fresh growth for hunting purposes. It also allowed an open area for the practice of traditional ceremonies.”
“Frequent use of fire by Gumbaynggirr people maintained a high diversity of species in native grasslands and controlled regeneration of some woody species,” Mr Flanders added.
Coffs Harbour City Council Section Leader Roads and Open Spaces, Terry Thorn said “Everyone in the community can help native grasslands on headlands by keeping to the formed tracks to allow this important ecological landscape to rehabilitate after fire.”
“The coastal headlands are prone to invasion by weeds and disturbance attributable to visitor use, proximity to urban areas and seed animal dispersal. Joining the local Landcare network to help control the weed invasion is another way the community can help these important grasslands,” he said.
For further information head to Council’s website www.coffsharbour.nsw.gov.au/alerts
Enquires can be directed to Council’s Technical Officer – Recreation and Open Spaces on 02 6648 4541.
This Project has been assisted by the New South Wales Government through its Environmental Trust.