Lake Cathie Landcare Group Breathe Life into Coastal Wildlife Corridor

Taking Action

The issue

Johnathon Dickson Reserve at Lake Cathie, Mid North Coast was once a degraded coastal wildlife corridor. The native vegetation was being dominated by the notorious Bitou Bush, and where there was no Bitou Bush there was Lantana, Ground Asparagus and Coral Trees. The little native vegetation that remained was being choked out completely. The lack of plant diversity throughout the corridor limited the number of animal species that could inhabit or utilise the area for habitat, food or shelter. Koalas and Echidnas once occupied the area and well as a diverse range of birds and reptiles.

The solution

After carefully consideration, taking in the fact that aerial spraying was not an option due to the close proximity of homes and most volunteers were mature aged the following approach was taken;


  • Bitou Bush and Lantana were pulled out roots and all with a small tractor fitted with 'balloon tyres' purchased with funding from Holiday Coast Credit Union and Settlement Real Estate.
  • The weeds were then mulched into piles and composted to kill as much Bitou Bush seed as possible.
  • The mulch was used around some of the initial plantings. Volunteers found any seed that did germinate were easily hand weeded.
  • The area was planted with over 5000 trees, shrubs and grasses.
  • The Bitou Bush that was situated on the fore dunes was left to keep the dunes stabilised. Small amounts at a time were gradually removed and the area replanted immediately to prevent erosion.

Years of maintenance and follow up;

Dedicated volunteers are continually improving the area by planting more trees propagated by the group, watering, weeding and planting out any gaps in vegetation as well as transplanting Pigface (Carpobrotus glaucescens) into the fore dunes for stabilisation.

The impact

The removal of weeds and regular maintenance over many years has resulted in natural regeneration as well as the plantings. Birds and reptiles are moving back to the area. For example, there have been sightings of lizards, skinks, goannas, many small birds, birds of prey, snakes and echidnas. The project has restored and is continually improving the wildlife corridor for the benefit of native flora and fauna, local residents and the many tourists that visit the area throughout the year. Finally, the project has demonstrated what a community can achieve if they work together on a common cause!

Key facts

  • Landcare groups can achieve big things for the environment, community and the economy
  • Having a good plan will ensure you get the result desired
  • Dedicated volunteers are amazing people to be around, learn from and share ideas with so find a group near you and start your Landcare journey

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