(Photo: Track erosion in the Byron Bay Clay Heath. Credit NPWS)
Many people living in Byron Shire would never have heard of the plant community known as Byron Bay Clay Heath, let alone that it is under threat.
Of the scant remaining remnants of this vegetation, 64 per cent exists within the Arakwal National Park – and some of that is being endangered by erosion.
Fortunately, the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) is on the case, with work to combat erosion on the walking track set to begin this month.
Byron Coast acting area manager for NPWS, Nathan Oliver said ‘The Byron Bay Clay Heath supports species such the Byron Bay Donkey Orchid and the Dwarf Heath Casuarina which are only found in this vegetation community.’
‘The Byron Bay Clay Heath is threatened by environmental weeds, urbanisation, inappropriate fire regimes and encroachment by other native species,’ he added.
A restoration management plan for the threatened ecological community was prepared by an ecologist in 2013.
‘This plan will guide NPWS planning over the next 10 years,’ said Nathan.
‘Reducing the effects of eroded tracks is one of the key actions recommended in the restoration plan,’ he said.
The track maintenance works will also improve access along the track between Pacific Vista Drive and Paterson Street.
While works are being undertaken the track between those streets will be closed.
The conservation zone encompasses the area along and behind Tallow beach from Cape Byron to Byron Bay High School.
The works are expected to be completed within 3-5 days and NPWS apologises to residents and neighbours for any inconvenience during the works.
Arakwal National Park is an important conservation area for the Byron Bay Dwarf Graminoid Clay Heath and has been co-managed by the NPWS and its traditional owners the Arakwal people since an agreement in 2001.