90 Mile Beach Sea Spurge Suppression!
Last weekend was spent by VMLCG volunteers at Loch Sport, working on the 90 Mile Beach to eradicate emerging infestations of Sea Spurge (Euphorbia paralias) which has been making its way from the tideline through to the iconic dunes that make up this beach. It is a highly adaptable pest, invading the dunes and displacing native grass species. It originates from the bilge water tanks of ships visiting us from the northern climes and just loves our environment. The Hooded Plover is one nesting bird of the dunes that is threatened by the colonisation of the dunes by Sea Spurge, but there are others as well.
The plant is easy to treat before it gets too large: a single tap root makes hand pulling of the weed a relatively easy task. More difficult are the larger, established plants, where breaking the tap root below the sand as you hand pull is a major issue. We had plenty of both size plants, including huge mature plants that had grown out, been buried deep by the shifting sands, only to emerge again and hence be impossible to extract. All we could do was deny the plant the ability to set seed this this year by removing all flowerheads!
As a result of our observations, we are working on a proposal to Parks Victoria on a revised treatment strategy for these populations.
There is nothing like a day on the beach and walking. To do this and make a small difference through the detection and removal of this pest made the weekend that much more profitable on a number of levels. We'll be running more of these trips as the treatment time can be almost any time of the year with autumn/winter/spring being great times for VMLCG work and relaxing in one of the best spots in Victoria.
If you want to know more about Sea Spurge, try here.