MRBTA’s Capes Foundation division includes its own in-house Conservation Team, which looks after the 8 tourism sites across the region that are under its care – Ngilgi, Lake, Mammoth and Jewel Caves; Cape Naturaliste and Cape Leeuwin Lighthouses, Forest Adventures and Eagles Heritage. A number of these sites are located in the Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park, and all possess unique environmental, cultural and heritage values.
Makuru is a busy time of year for the Conservation Team, with the biggest project over the winter months being revegetation. Nearly 2,000 seedlings have been planted across four sites at Forest Adventures, Ngilgi Cave, Cape Naturaliste, and Cape Leeuwin. This includes plants grown by the team from seeds that have been collected across the sites and propagated in the nursery at Lake Cave.
As the rains increase, so do invasive plant species across the region. The team has already begun integrated arum control at some sites, including Forest Adventures, where many misty mornings have been spent ensuring all corms are removed from the ground. This is to avoid solely relying on herbicides, as this species is known to develop a resistance to the chemicals used.
Further south, Lake Cave doline and the surrounding bushland continues to recover from the 2021 fire where many rare fire dependant plant species have emerged from the fertile ground. Due to the severity of the fire, the bushland is currently more accessible than ever, and the Conservation Team has been using this rare opportunity both at Lake and Mammoth to get into typically inaccessible areas and eradicate stubborn weed seedlings before they have a chance to colonise sensitive areas. Learn more about the effects of the 2021 bushfire on Lake Cave and its water levels here.
Other ongoing projects include removing the invasive Victorian tea tree in the coastal heath at Cape Naturaliste and the numerous invasive wattle species at Eagles Heritage with the Team’s brand-new more environmentally friendly electric chainsaw.
Over the last 12 months Capes Foundation has welcomed over 540,000 visitors to these visitor attractions, providing them with enriching and memorable experiences. This important conservation work protects and often regenerates these sites so that future generations of visitors will be able to enjoy and appreciate them.
Alongside providing visitor experiences, Capes Foundation also advocates for important regional issues including the care of the Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park.
A new Capes Foundation website will launch next year, and will shine a light on the work of this team. A temporary website is currently in place at capesfoundation.org.au.