With a wealth of environmental experience gained in Central Australia, Erin Moon has travelled back across the country to become Bega River and Wetlands Landcare’s new community coordinator.
Ms Moon grew up in the Bega Valley, starting out with the Tantawangalo Landcare group in the 1990s.
She is looking forward to rejuvenating her old stomping grounds in her new role, drawing upon her previous environmental consultancy and biodiversity survey work.
“Not that long ago, the entire river and wetlands area was totally unusable, totally overcome with weeds,” she said.
“Now it’s transformed, there are recreational spaces for people and the habitat has been preserved for the fauna.”
The transformation has been supported by a six year grant provided by the NSW Environmental Trust Grants, which continues until April next year.
Eventually, all of the waterfront and wetland recreational areas will be connected by a walking track, so their natural beauty can be easily explored.
Ms Moon said the public response to the new areas had been positive.
“It's really beneficial for the community to see a place that’s well designed and maintained,” she said.
“And in return, we’ve been really glad to see very little damage to the area, there’s definitely a level of pride and ownership over these new spaces.”
Ms Moon invited anyone with an interest in the environment and conservation to volunteer with BRAWL.
On Monday, the team was on the banks of the Bega River, removing weeds and planting native species to combat the “sand slug” in the river.
“It’s essentially a slow moving mass of sand making it’s way downstream,” Ms Moon explained.
“The roots of these new plants will stabilise the riverbank and reduce the level of sediment erosion in high flowing waters.”
She said strengthening the flora nearby waterways preserves their habitat of local fauna too.
“A survey conducted at the start of the year showed the Bega wetlands area had a high habitat value for local species, so that’s a real priority of ours,” Ms Moon said.
Ms Moon is taking over from Vickie Goldsmith, who has been the BRAWL community coordinator for the last four years.