Land, river care

Circular Head Landcare Group members Jeremy Ward and Helen Schuuring with silhouettes recently installed at the Duck River in Smithton as part of an educational project. Picture: Ashleigh Force.

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Project. Eight silhouettes emerging from the Duck River in Smithton may capture your eye as your wander the East Esplanade boardwalk.

The new installations, designed by Sue Jennings and created by Adam Carson, are part of a project recently completed by the Circular Head Landcare Group.

The eye-catching installations complement two signs also installed along the riverbanks.

Group president Jeremy Ward says he hopes the additions will educate passersby and give value to what can be seen.

“This whole area used to be melaleuca (or tea tree) forests. The habitat is changing due to developing reeds . . . It’s a reminder of what used to be.”

The signage features the types of flora and fauna found in the Duck River including birdlife such as latham’s snipe (Gallinago hardwickii), Australian pelican (Pelecanus conspicillatus), chestnut teal (Anas castanea), pacific black ducks (Anas superciliosa) and the white-faced heron (Egretta novaehollandiae).

While the native plants provide protection and a habitat to marine life and animals residing in and around the riparian zone, says Jeremy.

Coastal swamp paperbark (Melaleuca ericifolia) is perhaps the most recognisable for the plant species along with brookers gum (Eucalyptus brookeriana), tall sedge (Carex appressa), cutting grass (Gahnia grandis) and various ferns.

These plants provide protection and stabilise the banks of rivers and creeks however invasive weeds pose a threat to the threatened species.

The Circular Head Landcare Group regularly undertakes weeding management to prevent this, along with yearly rice grass spraying.

“We’re hoping this project will give a respect and acknowledgement of what you are looking at,” says Jeremy.

“It unfolds the mystery. As you see birds come and go, it will make you think, I’ve seen that before.”

The project is supported by Cradle Coast NRM through funding from the federal government’s National Landcare Program.