A FRUITFUL planting of 423 indigenous plants near Shelly Beach is the first of many major environmental restoration projects set to come for the Hastings.
And a decade on from it's inception, the group responsible is in a better position than ever to make a lasting difference to the local environment.
Port Macquarie Landcare Group's restorative work in the Shelly Beach area forms part of a $250,000, six year project funded by the State Environmental Trust.
The site recently planted is a degraded area of a catchment with a serious infestation of Lantana and a range of garden escapees that are now serious environmental weeds.
A forestry mower removed those weeds in the area.
And Lowland Subtropical Rainforest plantings were considered necessary to assist in the restoration of the remnant areas along the creek.
"This vegetation type is threatened both at the state and national level and this planting is a part of the national effort to recover this significant vegetation," said Port Macquarie-Hasting Council's acting director of development and environment, Dan Croft.
Port Macquarie Landcare president Estelle Gough said the Environmental Trust Bid and an $800,000 contribution from council and the group, meant more than a million dollars would be spent on improving the local environment in coming years.
This would focus specifically on the conservation of an extensive area of bushland along the waterways of Wrights and Yarranabee Creek.
"This is one of the first big plantings and is part of restoring and providing weed free catchments for animals, and improving eco services to the community." Ms Gough said
In the past 10 years Landcare has restored 9.71 hectares of public land to ecological maintenance, she said.
And in the next six years, the Wrights and Yarranabee Creek project would produce more than double that - with the group predicting to restore some 22.66 hectares.
It is a monumental effort for an organisation that started with just five members and has now grown to 150.
"It's been a lot of hard work but the projects speak for themselves," Ms Gough said. "People see those Landcare hands and they can recognise what we've been achieving."
Mr Croft said council's relationship with the group has blossomed over the years, and the positive results were a manifestation of the hard work and determination of local volunteers.
Landcare and Friends groups manage 20 of our bushland reserves on behalf of council and the community and this year handed back three of those reserves in great condition, dramatically reducing council's cost of caring for this land, he said.
"In the last three years none of these reserves have gone backwards and improvements of up to 300 per cent were recorded in site health assessments conducted jointly by Landcare's site managers and the council," Mr Croft said.