A South Coast council has taken aim at people suspected of poisoning or removing trees in search of a better view.
Eurobodalla Shire Council environmental services manager Deb Lenson said the council had evidence of trees being poisoned and the use of electric chainsaws.
“The vandalism is often driven by a homeowner’s desire to enhance water views or gain easier access to beaches and waterways,” she said.
“The illegal removal of trees, grasses or shrubs damages the environment and affects native flora and fauna.
“Vegetation plays an important role in stabilising soils, reducing erosion and protecting the ecosystem.”
There have been four acts of tree vandalism in the last year, according to the council.
One tree at Sunshine Bay was vandalised in early 2023, while others were targeted at Denhams Beach, Tuross Head and Dalmeny over the past few months.
The council’s compliance team is investigating dying trees along Dalmeny Drive in Kianga, near Narooma.
The trees were planted in 1971 and are formally recognised as part of Dalmeny-Kianga’s Anzac Memorial Avenue.
Ms Lenson said the trees had a special significance to the community.
“They form a two-kilometre pathway as a memorial to the men and women who served in the First World War,” she said.
“We’re seeing an increase in tree vandalism taking place on community reserves right across the shire, and it is not OK.”
During rehabilitation of affected areas, the council may install tree screens and signage, with offenders footing the bill.
“Council’s role is to investigate and if we can identify an offender, they may face court, be fined and required to rehabilitate the area,” Ms Lenson said.
“Illegal vegetation removal is vandalism of our environment.
“It costs our ratepayers, our community and our environment.”
Ms Lenson called on the community to report acts of tree vandalism, should they witness it.
“We maintain confidentiality and encourage the community to report any suspicious activity to council,” she said.
People can report acts of tree vandalism to Eurobodalla Shire Council rangers on (02) 4474 1019.