Reviving Pig Islet

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Quentin Chester captures Pelican Lagoon

Pelican Lagoon is one of Kangaroo Island’s many treasures. It’s a Marine Park Sanctuary Zone that has its inlet from the ocean at American River.

On a windless sunny day, the mirror-like surface of the shallow lagoon, dotted with islets, is enough to make me gasp, even though I’ve seen it hundreds of times before.

Friends of Dudley Peninsula Parks and Eco-Action have a joint project to rid Pig Islet of African boxthorn and replant with the species that would have been there before westerners arrived (as far as we know, it’s not absolutely clear). If this smallest of the islets is revived, we’ll move on to some of the others. Yes, it’s a long term plan.

One of the Friends, Andy Collis, came up with this project and has soldiered on despite some misinformed opposition. We Friends are very happy to help him and the Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources has given us permission to do the work.

 

 

Boxthorns are nasty brutes but they can be managed: cut the stems as close to the ground as possible, dab the cut straight away with strong glyphosate and they’ll give up the ghost. Sounds simple but getting through the thorns to the stems is the tricky bit. And we all have the scratches to prove it.

On one of the four working bees so far we had a chain saw to help, and that was a morale boost. We’ve had 21 people helping in one or more working bees, and also helping Andy with extra trips for camera trapping and watering.

Getting to the islets is also a challenge. Each time a little flotilla of kayaks and canoes sets out and makes it across the water in radically different times (some of us need to get a sense of direction).

                                 Wwoofer Merel Nyhuis got the short end of the jobs stick.

This week, on the last of the working bees for 2017, we planted the shrubs, grasses and groundcovers Veronica grew up at the Natural Resources Kangaroo Island Plant Nursery (an island gem). The Friends groups has other projects to get on with for the rest of the year. Then we’ll be paddling back next year.

All photos by Quentin Chester.

 

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