Bushfire recovery to bloom as Yankalilla nursery grows

GROW: District Council of Yankalilla coastal conservation officer Corey Jackson, Yankalilla Community Nursery volunteer Sally John, mayor Glen Rowlands, and volunteer Michael De Boo hold tiny seedlings which will grow into large drooping sheoaks for glossy-black cockatoos. Photo: Dani Brown.
GROW: District Council of Yankalilla coastal conservation officer Corey Jackson, Yankalilla Community Nursery volunteer Sally John, mayor Glen Rowlands, and volunteer Michael De Boo hold tiny seedlings which will grow into large drooping sheoaks for glossy-black cockatoos. Photo: Dani Brown.

Yankalilla Community Nursery is one of three Australian sites that are part of a mission to plant one million trees over the next five years in response to the country's 2019-20 bushfires.

The nursery will expand to grow more than double its usual amount of seedlings thanks to a Bushfire Recovery Grant from the Foundation for National Parks and Wildlife (FNPW).

Volunteers will be able to plant a total of 40,000 trees and associated plants to support recovery of the Mount Lofty to Kangaroo Island Connection, plus help with revegetation on the scorched island.

There will be a focus on building the drooping sheoak populations across the Fleurieu Coast to provide more food and habitat for the glossy-black cockatoo flocks affected by the Kangaroo Island fires.

District Council of Yankalilla coastal conservation officer Corey Jackson said the birds were once common on the Fleurieu Peninsula but retreated to Kangaroo Island in the 1970s.

It is believed one flock was lost in the fires on the south-west part of the island, and many have stayed on the island's northern coast, where they have heavily fed on the remaining trees.

Mr Jackson hoped the nursery's work would bring relief to the birds impacted by the bushfires.

"We weren't affected but we are between the two regions affected of Kangaroo Island and the Adelaide Hills," he said.

"Our ultimate goal has always been to plant and restore native vegetation and this grant will ensure we can expand our scope to regenerate even more land affected by the bushfires."

GROW: Yankalilla Community Nursery volunteer Sally John, District Council of Yankalilla coastal conservation officer Corey Jackson and mayor Glen Rowlands, and volunteer Michael De Boo at the nursery. Photo: Dani Brown.

GROW: Yankalilla Community Nursery volunteer Sally John, District Council of Yankalilla coastal conservation officer Corey Jackson and mayor Glen Rowlands, and volunteer Michael De Boo at the nursery. Photo: Dani Brown.

He said the council had been working to bring the glossy-black cockatoos back to the mainland for a number of years, with various vegetation projects providing food and habitat across the district.

The extra plants will be planted at current project sites at Wirrina and Cape Jervis, at Normanville sand dunes, and private and public land sites at Sellicks, in the northern part of the council area, in partnership with the City of Onkaparinga.

To house the thousands more plants to be grown, the nursery site will be expanded, and funds will go towards fencing, nursery benches, potting structures, and a portable toilet for volunteers.

"We had limited space on what we could grow, so this grant has meant an expansion of the nursery and improvement of the facilities," he said.

"We'll move further into the depot and we're changing the pot size to fit more plants, and we're changing the irrigation to low flow use to reduce water usage."

He said such work would not be able to occur without the FNPW grant - it was four times his yearly budget.

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