Conservation group rattled by theft of 160 plants from Canning River foreshore


President Canning River Residents Environment Protection Association Stephen Johnston at one of the spots where plants have been ripped up and stolen after their recent revegetation initiative. Picture: Marie Nirme
President Canning River Residents Environment Protection Association Stephen Johnston at one of the spots where plants have been ripped up and stolen after their recent revegetation initiative. Picture: Marie Nirme

A CANNING River foreshore revegetation initiative by a community conservation group has been hit by the theft of more than 160 plants.

The native seedlings were among 3000 planted over four days by more than 30 volunteers from the Canning River Residents Environment Protection Association (CRREPA).

An estimated 116 volunteers hours were spent at four sites along Riverton Drive in Rossmoyne to replenish dead or missing vegetation at the sites.

However, just two days after the first planting, 60 plants were taken and 15 days later another 100 plants were taken.

Some that were planted last year at the site were also pulled out of the ground and left behind.

CRREPA president Stephen Johnston predicted the thefts occurred during the night.

He said the removal of the plants were a direct attack on the community’s commitment to restore and maintain native vegetation along the foreshore.

“This work was not only vital to provide habitat for native birds, but also to help protect the southern bank of the Canning from erosion,” he said.

“A number of people who use the foreshore path each day had commented how good the sites looked after the plantings and were shocked by the contemptuous attitude shown by the thieves.”

Mr Johnston said it was not the first time people had interfered with foreshore revegetation projects.

“A number of plants at one of our revegetation sites in Rossmoyne have been poisoned over a number of years and in 2005 vandals struck at a planting by CRREPA and students from the Queen of Apostles Primary School (in) Shelley,” he said.

“All the plants were removed and thrown into the (river) or adjacent sedges (but) fortunately CRREPA members managed to salvage and re-plant most of them and the site are now one of our most successful revegetation projects.”

Mr Johnston encouraged anyone who saw people removing or tampering with vegetation along the foreshore to contact the Council rangers promptly.

The CRREPA received the plants with the support of a grant from the Swan Canning River Recovery Program, which is managed by Perth Natural Resource Management and is part of the National Landcare programme.

All plants were local native species and were planted in consultation with the City of Canning’s environment officers.