Meet Costa at our 2013 AGM – October 16

Whether you are a member or just interested, you are invited to meet celebrity Costa Georgiadis at our AGM. Click through to see what else is in store!

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What’s Next for the Lagoon?

Careful and limited dredging is the next and final step in the Rehabilitation Plan for Curl Curl Lagoon. This will be the most expensive of all the four phases. It will also be the one that delivers the payoff for all the previous investments.

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Share Your Photos!

We love to see your photos of the lagoon, beach, park and wildlife.  We may even use them on our website, Facebook page or Christmas card. If you have a photo to share, click here to send it us.

Bush Regeneration

Alan Newton Reserve Map

Bush regeneration is one of the most important things that Curl Curl Lagoon Friends do. By restoring the plant life, we enable more native wildlife to move into the area and make the Lagoon a more pleasant place for everyone to enjoy.

Our bush regeneration work is now focused on restoring Alan Newton Reserve. This area is located just to the west of Griffin Road on the north side of the Lagoon. Future work will continue the improvements along the Lagoon-edge riparian zone in the direction of the netball courts.

Volunteers meet on the first and third Saturday of each month from 8 to 11to remove invasive species, improve the soil and plant and encourage the growth of appropriate natives.

Lantana Removal

A new bush regeneration effort is in the planning phase that will focus on removing invasive lantana and restoring native vegetation and habitat in the dunes along Curl Curl Beach. This should begin towards the end of summer 2012-13, as the weather cools off.

How to Help

Volunteers receive free, brief training from Warringah Council. They get the chance to be part of an enjoyable team  and to make a lasting and visible difference in the Park that has been called the lungs of the Northern Beaches.

If you want learn more about how to help, contact us.

Love Your Lagoon Day Is 27 July

Show your lagoon some love and help clean up on National Tree Day.

Join other locals who love the nature of this place and spend half an hour restoring habitat.

Bring gloves, gumboots and old tongs. We’ll provide bags, rubbish removal and a sausage sizzle.




Sunday, 27th July
10am – 12pm

Park St wooden bridge
Near the playground
John Fisher Park

Watch for Swamp Hen Chicks This Month

When you’re walking near the Lagoon, watch out for Purple Swamp Hen chicks. They are cute fluffy black balls on long legs.

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A Brief History

There was a time when Curl Curl Lagoon was a pristine waterway with a sandy bottom, clean beaches, large fish and a healthy natural environment. It would flush to the ocean from time to time but never completely empty. The openings were natural, too, not caused by locals with spades!

Surprisingly, that was only about fifty years ago. In a few short decades of urban development, we humans managed to poison the water, destroy the surrounding vegetation and habitats and silt up the stream.

Because, the lagoon area was a garbage tip!

The final insult came in the late 1970s when there were proposals ranging from filling in the whole creek and running it through pipes – to piping in sea water to flush the lagoon sludge out onto the beach. And so was born the Curl Curl Lagoon Committee… To put some reality back into the situation, on the 15th July 1980, at the North Curl Curl Surf Club, a committed group of citizens formed the Curl Curl Lagoon Committee.

At that first meeting, David James, an environmental consultant to Warringah Council, stressed the need to protect the few natural environments still existing in the area. He urged the new committee to adopt a constuctive, well-informed approach to gaining the respect of Council and Government and pressing for improvements to the health of the lagoon and the surrounding environment.

They set about the rehabilitation of the lagoon… Throughout the years the committee has initiated and sponsored many projects and events – all with the singular aim of improving Curl Curl Lagoon, the beach, the sand dunes and John Fisher Park. Imagination was the name of the game – who can forget the great “Clean-a-goon” campaign?

Protecting native flora and fauna by providing or preserving natural habitats has been a major part of the committee’s work. This has involved plantings of native trees and other plants that used to grow here naturally – as well as a biodiversity of wetland species for stormwater treatment.

Between Harbord Road and the beach, there are an amazing thirty-six places where water enters the lagoon system – the creek itself plus lots of stormwater drains. Through mini-wetlands, gross pollutant traps and bush regeneration, the committee and the Council have always worked together to clean up this water – meeting challenge after challenge.

The committee also recognises the role of children and young people as the environmentalists of the future and has contibuted widely to educational programmes.

Of course, the biggest project is one that is still going on – the Curl Curl Lagoon rehabilitation project. This is a four staged program me of works which started with the Gross Pollutant Trap at Harbord Road (to stop silt and things like plastic bags from getting into the creek) and continued with the fantastic works on Greendale Creek during 1998 and 1999.

This whole project is a tribute to what a dedicated community and an imaginative Council can achieve when they work together.

There have always been battles to fight There have been inevitable fights – especially when a very significant part of the area is John Fisher Park – which is used for both sporting and recreational purposes. From time to time one body or another starts to demand dedicated facilities, more carparking, fences or larger buildings despite all commonsense evidence pointing to them not being in the interests of the area and the environment.

Of course, there have been major victories – like acceptance of the Rehabilitation plan, the fun of having the community get together to plant trees and enjoy our fantastic asset and the satisfaction of seeing more and more community members joining the group and becoming stronger – standing up for their rights and making their views heard. It’s the people who do it Over the last twenty years, dozens of dedicated people have served on the Curl Curl Lagoon committee. They’ve always been backed up by hundreds more who help by joining the planting days, helping the “Regenerates” – our bush regenerators – or just by paying their membership fees.

The contributions by Warringah Council and local businesses are always significant and fantastic – but so much of the hard-slog work of looking after the lagoon and the area around it is done by volunteers who head out in all weather to dig and plant and chat and prune and pull weeds.

Then we became friends… In 1998, the Curl Curl Lagoon Committee became the Curl Curl Lagoon Friends Incorporated – to better reflect the reason for its existence and to recognise its important role in a more formal structure.

In 2000,  that Stage 3 of the Curl Curl Lagoon and Greendale Creek Rehabilitation project took place. This stage saw the cleaning up of the bed and banks of the creek up to the point where it meets the lagoon. The bridge at Park Street was built over the lagoon and the rock weir was built to make sure that even when the lagoon is empty, the creek won’t be.

Initially Stage 4 was the next big challenge but the benefits of dredging proved to be contentious. Initially Council spent over $1 million in studying and implementing the Rehabilitation Plan. As part of the plan, more than a dozen reports were done to study the Lagoon and at the time the majority favoured targeted dredging in the main body of water. They concluded dredging would provide ecological, economic, water quality and aesthetic benefits.

However over the years, further research commissioned by Warringah Council concluded that dredging would not produce the benefits initially foreshadowed.

Our focus continues to be on improving the water quality by reducing the amount of run off and waste entering the lagoon and the placement of oyster balls in parts of the lagoon to trial them as an effective filtering system.

Curl Curl Lagoon Friends look forward to continuing to maintain the the focus clearly on making Curl Curl Lagoon, Curl Curl Beach, John Fisher Park and the surrounding area places that will always be huge assets for Warringah – and in fact the world environment.

“Treat the earth well – it was not given to you by your parents. It was lent to you by your children” –  Native American Saying

Birdscaping Your Garden

Many of us go out into the bush to spend time with nature and usually return home with fond memories. As you look around your garden you may wonder what it would have been like before the bush was cleared and houses built. Many people are looking for ways to create natural gardens so that they can experience the joy of having wildlife at home and know that they have put back some of that which has been taken away.

Birdscaping is the designing of a garden to attract the variety of birds that would have occurred originally in the area. Birds need many types of foods including insects, reptiles, seeds, nectar, and fruit. Plants should be selected to provide as wide a variety of each of these as possible and over as many seasons as possible. They also need nesting material and shelter from the weather and predators. Plants that provide nesting material include grasses and stringy barks. Dense foliage plants or those with spiny foliage provide good shelter. Birds also have very different foraging and nesting requirements and the garden needs to be planned so that there is a diversity of shrub and tree heights, as well as leaf litter/mulched areas and areas of mature grasses. To achieve this you need to be conscious of their needs and then set out to provide them. A balanced garden will attract a wide range of other wildlife such as insects, spiders, reptiles, frogs and possibly even mammals. Your garden will then resemble the bush.

The best way to provide for the local wildlife is to plant local native plants. Not only are these best suited to the conditions where you live but the wildlife is best adapted to them. Choose from a list of natives that give you the greatest diversity of food types and heights. If you need to remove existing exotic plants or plants that have the potential to become weeds then these should be removed gradually so that the birdlife does not loose shelter before those you have planted can take over the job. Keep in mind that many native plants can become invasive weeds when planted outside of their normal range and some are threatening endangered local native plants either because they colonise more readily or because they hybridise with local species.

Hybrid native plants are often chosen because they appear more spectacular having larger flowers and longer flowering periods; but they can present problems. Birds visiting these hybrids will spend less time pollinating local native plant species and the reduction in seed set could lead to their extinction. In addition, these hybrids are often more attractive to large aggressive honeyeaters and lorikeets which defend the flowers and prevent other smaller birds from entering the garden, even those that don’t take nectar. In particular the Noisy Miner can be a serious pest. Our habit of clearing bush for housing development, leaving a few trees and then planting hybrid grevilleas creates ideal habitat for the Noisy Miner. Use of shrubs with smaller flowers that provide less nectar and more dense cover make it less worthwhile for the Miners and also more difficult for them to defend territories. If you live within a Noisy Miner colony you need to take this into consideration. It is suggested that you avoid selecting plants attractive to them for at least three years while the rest of the garden becomes established and other birds take up residence.

Plants that provide fruit and seeds need to be selected carefully as birds will carry seeds back into the bush where they may germinate and compete with the local native plants. This can be as much of a problem with non-local native plants as with introduced species.

Artificial food supplements should be avoided as these can cause nutritional imbalances, aid the spread of disease and are more likely to attract introduced rather than native birds. Water can be provided by means of a bird bath placed a safe distance from dense shrub cover and with a high nearby vantage point so that birds can check for predators. Water needs to be replaced regularly and the bath needs to be kept clean to minimise disease transmission between birds. The presence of water in the garden will increase the diversity of birdlife that visits your garden.

Protecting wildlife from domestic pets is always difficult. Cat bells do not work. When a cat is in “stealth-mode” the bell is silent and when the cat is attacking it is too late. Cats should be kept enclosed 24 hours a day and should be provided with a cat run. Nightly curfews and inertia bells (a new type of bell designed to make noise when a cat is striking) do not protect insects and reptiles from cats. Dogs can be trained to leave birds alone.

There are many reference books available for birdscaping gardens. They provide lists of plants, their requirements and the types of foods that they supply for birds. Take care however when consulting them as many suggest food supplements and do not specify which plants are local to your area. You will perhaps need to consult a local native plant guide, your local native nursery or local council.

Birdscaping Your GardenBirdwatching in Sydney with the Cumberland Bird Observers’ Club