Community makes all the difference
Over 60 locals braved last week’s wild weather to support work on the Googs Lake Restoration Project, with fantastic results.
Workers from the West Mallee Protection Group (WMPG), Natural Resources Alinytjara Wilurara, (NR AW) Natural Resources Eyre Peninsula (NR EP) and volunteers from the local community worked together to complete a long list of tasks aimed at protecting the cultural and ecological values of the lake and its surrounds.
Degradation of the Googs Lake region has occurred over recent years with damage to vegetation causing erosion and the Lake’s surface becoming scarred. In 2012 plans for the restoration project were discussed and last year a preliminary community consultation meeting, followed by groundwork, was undertaken by a sizable group of locals with support from staff from Ceduna’s Natural Resources Centre (NRC).
In late June this year, a consultation meeting was again held the AW/EP NRC prior to venturing out to the Lake to undertake follow up restoration and maintenance work earlier this month.
'We were overwhelmed by the community’s interest in the project and eager participation in the work this year’ said EP Ranger, Tammi Cox ‘we knew there was a huge amount of work to be done and it was just amazing how everyone got stuck into it and how much was achieved’.
Together the group managed to close and conceal 39 minor side tracks, define more than 5km of preferred track, install signage and posts, relocate tree guards and clean up rubbish around popular tourist spots.
‘It was a brilliant week out there. Wonderful to have so many different people from the local area coming together to help out’ said Sue Haseldine of the WMPG.
Most people stayed on site for the whole week, with local farmers Barry Beattie and Brenton Bergmann visiting the project group over the weekend, staying the night and cooking breakfast for everyone on Sunday morning. ‘I am so impressed by what’s been achieved out here this week, there has been some real progress made’ said Barry.
The Googs Lake Restoration Project is a clear example of what can be achieved through positive collaboration between community groups and NR AW / NR EP and it is hoped will be the foundation of more such natural resource management projects in the future.
Jenny Denton (Googs’ wife) visited the site and said she was delighted to see that people cared for this region and worked on it with such wonderful community spirit.
Senior Park Ranger Robbie Sleep further commented that ‘in consultation with the community, we’ve worked really hard to find a balance managing this area. We don’t want people to feel constrained when they’re out at Googs but we also want to protect the native vegetation and the cultural values of the lake, and this is becoming bigger challenge with increased visitation rates.’
‘People have many different attachments to the area and it has different meanings to different people. We respectfully ask that people stay on existing tracks and use defined campsites wherever possible to prevent damage to vegetation, soil compaction and damage to the lake’.
Special thanks to Tim Anderson who thrilled people working on the project with flights over the lake in his helicopter and to Peter Hanlon who provided training sessions over the first two days on how to rip, level, disguise, close tracks and lift compacted soil.
Also special thanks to Bob Skinner, Brian Doughty, Epeli Tikoinavunimoli, everyone from the WMPG and the staff at AW/EP NRC who helped make this project a success.
People who want to find out more about the project should contact the Natural Resources Centre in Ceduna on 08 8625 3144.
Photograph: Some of the people involved in the Googs Lake Restoration Project with an artwork that was created on-site, final day of the project.
Back row, left to right: Tammi Cox, Robert Sleep, Joe Cox, Leann Haseldine, Timmy Brown, Johnny Haseldine, Wayne John Haseldine, Michelle Naylon, Wayne Haseldine, Billy Haseldine, Simon Prideaux, Charlie Binell, Aaron Binell, Keithy Saunders, Sue Haseldine, Brian Doughty, Josie Rohl, Lisa Binell, Catalia Hocking, Willy Rohl, Dennis Hocking, Garry Hamaguchi, Bessy-May Taylor, Breony Carbines, Paul Gregory
Front row, left to right: Jazia Binell, Junior Hocking, Latrell Binell, Shanea Haseldine, Coby Binell, Charli Cox, Lara Haseldine, Neeka Pridaeux, Jameilia Haseldine, Zac Prideaix, Erin Gibson