Black Head rehabilitated

REGENERATION: Mark Beaton, from Austspray Environmental, abseiling at Black Head in a bush regeneration project.
REGENERATION: Mark Beaton, from Austspray Environmental, abseiling at Black Head in a bush regeneration project.

MARK Beaton has a different view on weeding - a view from above.

While most of us are more familiar with getting down on our knees to pull out weeds and put in new plants, Mark and his crew of four from Austspray Environmental abseil from above to get the weeds out.

They currently are working at Black Head, Ballina, in a rehabilitation project funded by the NSW Environmental Trust, and co-ordinated by Ballina Coastcare and WetlandCare Australia.

The team started work this week at the headland to the north of Shelly Beach to get rid of three Weeds of National Significance - grass asparagus, bitou bush and lantana.

They are abseiling down from 25 metres - which isn't much compared with a job they did on a cliff face 70 metres high.

Mark said the job he has been in for about four years provided some "white knuckle" moments, but the Black Head job had enough vegetation that there was "plenty to hang on to".

Lee Andresen, from Ballina Coastcare, said the group had been trying to rehabilitate Black Head for about five years.

The area hasn't been rehabilitated since Black Head was quarried in the 1960s to provide rock for North Wall.

Mr Andresen said the steepness of the terrain was too dangerous for volunteers, and the grant provided the funds to employ the abseiling bush regenerators.

Windy conditions early in the week meant the abseilers had to work on the leeward side of the headland, and remove weeds physically rather than spray them. They will be at work for the rest of the week, and will return annually over the next three years to follow up with any work.

The grant will also fund rehabilitation work over the next six years at the Shaws Bay escarpment, the Allawah Bushland Reserve, Flat Rock and at North Creek, East Ballina.

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