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Coast leads way in beachfront rainforest restoration

Maggie Gray | June 2, 2021

If you’ve ever taken in the natural beauty of the Gold Coast’s glorious beaches or strolled along the city’s golden coastline, chances are you’ve unknowingly appreciated littoral rainforest.

 

Littoral rainforest is a type of forest that grows along the beachfront, providing habitat for native species of flora and fauna, and acting as an important buffer to coastal erosion and wind damage. It’s a unique ecological community that is currently considered critically endangered, due to limited large-scale areas of it remaining intact.

In an effort to protect the Gold Coast’s natural environment and expand its ecological footprint, the City is undertaking one of Australia’s largest ever beachfront rainforest restoration projects. The project involves the restoration of 37 hectares of littoral rainforest within Federation Walk Coastal Reserve at The Spit, Main Beach. A total contribution of $8 million has been provided across all three levels of government, to transform the eastern side of The Spit, and add to the city’s biodiversity offering. The project is expected to take twelve months for plantings to become established, and a further ten years to restore the native forest.

 

 

 

 

Restoration works will involve weed control, the planting of 350,000 native littoral rainforest species, and a world-class irrigation system which will use recycled water to mitigate bushfire risk and assist with rainforest establishment. The project is set to create one of the largest areas of littoral rainforest in the country and deliver valuable greenspace for the city’s future.

Visitors to the reserve will be able to enjoy a unique nature-based recreational experience, under the cool canopy of littoral rainforest and other coastal vegetation communities, whilst appreciating the amenity of a world-class ocean park destination at The Spit.

Local community group ‘Friends of Federation Walk’ have been involved in protecting the coastal reserve for over 20 years. The group, comprised of volunteers, is headed up by Lyn Wright – a passionate Gold Coaster who is focussed on ensuring present and future generations of the community can enjoy, appreciate, and care for The Spit.

“We’re absolutely thrilled with the plans presented by the City to restore the native vegetation to this area of the coastal reserve.”

 

 

 

 

“When you visit Federation Walk, you feel like you’re in another world. It’s a very special place, and it’s important that we protect and enhance it.

 

“Thousands of volunteers have been involved in the ongoing Friends of Federation Walk program over the last twenty years.

“We’ve worked closely with the Council over this time to help promote the importance of looking after our natural areas, as well as driving community interest in initiatives such as tree planting events.”

 The Gold Coast is one of the most biodiverse cities in Australia and is home to internationally acclaimed areas such as the World Heritage-listed Gondwana Rainforests and the Ramsar Convention listed coastal wetlands of southern Moreton Bay.

The project will also contribute to the city’s aim of achieving a 51% vegetation cover target.