At 650 metres long, St Kilda breakwater is much more than a maritime structure. Along with the penguins, a pair of Pied Oystercatchers have been hanging on the breakwater too. It’s also the biggest rock garden in the Southern Hemisphere!
Plants like Disphyma crassifolium (aka Rounded Noonflower) and other local saltmarsh species are totally at home in the exposed and saline conditions. They look spectacular and help to control erosion, minimising the need to bring in heavy equipment for repairs.
Trouble is, the pesky penguins (around 1,300 resident adults) keep pulling the plants up for nesting material! Apparently, that’s what penguins think plants are for. The only solution is to outplant the penguins! Baykeeper is calling all budding green thumbs from across Melbourne to propagate a few trays of Noonflower at home to bring along to a mass planting next Autumn (when sensible penguins won’t be making nests).
With support form Helen MacPherson Smith Trust, Port Phillip EcoCentre is training young people (15-25 years old) in methods to monitor the health of the Bay; and to be team leaders for the breakwater planting. Keen to be part of the ‘Be the RE-generation’ project? Check it out at ecocentre.com/programs/be-re-generation