COFFS Harbour City Council has joined forces with specially trained Aboriginal firefighters to conduct a cultural burn to improve habitat around the Regional Airport.
A team of female Aboriginal fire-fighters from Coffs Harbour and the Minyumai Indigenous Protected Area further north undertook the burn as part of a Hazard Reduction exercise.
The burn extended across 12 hectares of Coastal Wallum Heathland on the southern end of the airport runway and involved fire-fighters from several local Rural Fire Service brigades, council staff and a team from the Nature Conservation Council.
Coffs Harbour Local Aboriginal Land Council's Darrunda Wajaarr team had previously established monitoring plots across the site and will now return to assess the response of the vegetation to the burn over the coming year.
The coming months should see a flush of new growth throughout the site, as well as an abundance of wildflowers as the weather warms up.
This will benefit many nectar-feeding birds and insects leading to an increase in breeding as the vegetation recovers. Smaller mammals such as the New Holland Mouse will also peak in abundance in the first few years after the fire as the new growth will give it the shelter and food it needs to thrive.
Members of the Darrunda Wajaarr team will learn valuable vegetation monitoring skills over the next few months and will undertake ongoing post-burn weed control at the site through funding from the North Coast Local Land Services (NCLLS) Jaliigirr Project.
It is also an opportunity to help develop the skills of local Aboriginal youth and build important partnerships between Coffs Harbour City Council, the Rural Fire Service and the local Aboriginal Community.
The Jaliigirr Project is supported by the NCLLS through funding from the Australian Government.