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Volunteers help map the Tura Star-hair threatened species

Tura Star-hairWhat looks like a common shrub, and grows along the roadside and in people's backyards around the NSW south coast, but is in fact a threatened species? It's the Tura Star-hair plant.

The Tura Star-hair plant generally occurs on disturbed roadside habitat and adjacent and relatively undisturbed bushland in the vicinity of Tura Beach and Merimbula on the south coast of NSW. Many locals and those driving along the Sapphire Coast will likely have seen it but despite its visibility, little is known about the population of this endangered species Astrotricha sp. Wallagaraugh, commonly known as the Tura Star-hair.

Getting the community involved

In November 2013 Landcare volunteers and Bega Valley Shire Council assisted staff from the Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) to survey Tura Beach reserves, to search for the plant.

The aim was to map the Tura Star-hair's distribution and numbers, to ensure it is considered in future planning, development and bush regeneration projects.

OEH worked closely with the Bega Valley Shire Council to coordinate community-based surveys that encouraged local residents to take an interest in the species and to contribute to its conservation.

The survey methodology was designed to allow community members to collect data without any experience in botanical survey.

Volunteers in bushlandThe approach was tailored to the Tura Beach community demographic, which largely supports a retiree population. Large areas of thick coastal forest were not included in the community component of the survey. Instead, small areas that were easily accessible by residents were selected so that all members of the local Landcare group could participate.

The accessibility of the survey method also enables members of the local Landcare group and Tura Beach community to continue to survey the area to add to the data collected in 2013.

The survey results

The survey found several areas of crown land and nature reserve where the Tura Star-hair occurs in very high densities. The community survey results were included in a report to Bega Valley Shire Council and the local community, to inform any future planning, development or bush regeneration proposals. Council will now be able to better manage and protect areas where the Tura Star-hair is present.

The survey results will also be entered into the OEH Bionet database to make the distribution of Tura Star-hair publicly available.

The project was successful in forging strong relationships between the Bega Shire Valley Council, community groups and OEH, which will foster future collaborative threatened species projects in the area.

Page last updated: 13 July 2015