Volunteers battle beach daisies

Date posted: 29 June 2012

Community volunteer groups took action this month to eradicate invasive coastal weeds along the Yorke Peninsula.

According to Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) community liaison officer Deborah Furbank early identification is essential in preventing coastal weed outbreaks on the Yorke Peninsula.

Ms Furbank commended local volunteer efforts to prevent and eradicate coastal weeds.

“The West of the Peesey Biodiversity Restoration Group will be working to prevent the spread of coastal weeds at Formby Bay and surrounding beaches with assistance of a community grant provided by the Northern and Yorke Natural Resources Management Board,” Ms Furbank said.

“In June volunteers from the Biodiversity and Endangered Species Team spent a weekend with DENR staff to survey beaches between Gym Beach and Swincer’s Rocks for the presence of beach daisy – a new invasive weed that originates from South Africa.

“A new infestation of beach daisy was found at Gym Beach and removed by the survey team.

“The area will now be monitored to ensure no new seedlings emerge.”

Ms Furbank said long stretches of sand dunes are an iconic feature of the Yorke Peninsula and native plants that grow in these areas have specialised features such as succulent or hairy leaves to enable them to withstand harsh conditions.

“This environment also suits many invasive species such as introduced sea spurge and sea rocket,” she said.

“Beach daisy (Arctotheca populifolia) is a relatively new arrival along the Yorke Peninsula.

“Beach daisy has grey-green fleshy leaves which are covered with woolly white hairs. It is a low spreading plant, similar to a pumpkin vine, and has yellow daisies with small petals and a large seed head.”

Ms Furbank said beach daisy likes to establish on bare sand above the high water mark and in the sand dunes.

“With summer rains it can spread rapidly covering large areas, this can threaten local beach-nesting birds which require bare patches of sand for a clear line of vision to see approaching predators when they are on the nest,” Ms Furbank said.

“The beach daisy has already established on beaches from Perth to Esperance, in Western Australia.

“This is of concern as the seeds can remain viable in salt water and can be dispersed by ocean currents to new locations.

“Once established on a new beach the seeds spread quickly by wind.

“Isolated plants were recently identified at Berry Bay highlighting the need for a survey of other beaches on the west coast of Southern Yorke Peninsula to ensure this weed spreads no further.”

To report sightings, or for further information, please contact the Minlaton NRM office on 08 8853 2795.

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