Links to culture and identity
The land, water, plants and animals within a landscape are central to Aboriginal spirituality and identity. The flora and fauna of the Worimi Conservation Lands provide traditional foods, medicines, and raw materials for a variety of traditional tools and implements. At least 50 plant species are known to be significant in terms of their cultural use associated with traditional tools and implements, food or medicine.
The Worimi Conservation Lands provide an important habitat link within a broader wildlife corridor comprising the Hunter Wetlands National Park in the south-east, Tomaree National Park in the north-east, and Tilligerry State Conservation Area and a number of associated smaller reserves to the north. Collectively, these parks provide a landscape-scale habitat corridor linking the Watagans National Park to Port Stephens.
At least 168 plant species are known to occur in the park including a number of threatened species. Click here for Vegetation of the Worimi Conservation Lands
The threatened Sand Doubletail Orchid and Rough Doubletail Orchid occur along the cleared powerline easements through the north-east of the park, and along the park boundary adjacent to Nelson Bay Road. Coastal Groundsel occurs in two sections of the frontal dune-swale between Lavis Lane Access and Tin City. This species was thought to be extinct in the Newcastle region prior to its identification in WCL.
Over 80% of the stable forested areas of the WCL are blackbutt-apple forest dominated by blackbutt (Eucalyptus pilularis) and smooth-barked apple (Angophora costata) trees, with old man banksia (Banksia serrata) often present. The inland migration of the mobile dunes are gradually inundating these areas of the WCL. Variation within the blackbutt–apple forest community occurs based on its fire history and closeness to the sea. Areas subject to higher fire frequency in the years leading up to the creation of the WCL have a less diverse understorey, and in some cases are dominated almost completely by bracken fern (Pteridium esculentum).
The blackbutt-apple forest surrounds some small pockets of paperbark-mahogany sedge swamp forest and paperbark-mahogany dry swamp forest. Broad-leaved paperbark (Melaleuca quinquenervia) is the dominant tree species in these communities, with swamp mahogany (E. robusta) also present. There are some larger areas of coastal tea-tree banksia scrub dominated by coastal tea-tree (Leptospermum laevigatum), old man banksia and coastal banksia (B. integrifolia) trees between Fern Bay and the Lavis Lane entrance.
The mahogany–baloskion swamp forest occurs at the south-western end of the WCL and is subject to rehabilitation efforts under the Fern Bay Voluntary Planning Agreement. It is dominated by dense stands of prickly-leaved paperbark (M. nodosa) and L. polygalifolium with plume rush (Baloskion tetraphyllum) and lomandra (Lomandra longifolia).
A small area of depression banksia woodland occurs near Fern Bay, with old man banksia common, and a range of under-story shrub and herb species which are rare in the remainder of the WCL. This community is significant in that it is not represented in other conservation reserves.
A 16-hectare section of the forested area of the WCL between Fern Bay and a neighbouring sand extraction site was subject to sand mining operations that ceased in 2001. Rehabilitation effort at the site included re-contouring to reflect the original topography, re-vegetation with local endemic species and weed control, and was completed prior to the creation of the WCL.
Frontal dune spinifex occurs along the frontal dune and throughout the swale, and sporadically throughout the mobile dunes. The sand-stabilising spinifex grass (Spinifex sericeus) dominates this community, with sand sedge (Carex pumila) also common in the swale. This community is critically important in helping to stabilise and protect the frontal dune from erosion. Spinifex grass is also colonising areas of the previously mined
dunes in the south-west of the WCL.