access to Hudsonian Godwit

Subject: access to Hudsonian Godwit
Date: Wed, 2 Feb 2000 09:40:45 +1000

There has been considerable confusion about the rights of birders to access the
T Section Lagoons on the Western Treatment PLant to view the hudwit. I have
spoken with the acting manager of the plant this morning and he confirmed my
understanding of the situation, which is:
   the area is part of the Western Treatment PLant [formerly Werribee Sewage
   Farm] and therefore you must have a permit from Melbourne Water before you
   can enter. Further, you must phone beforehand [03 9742 9209], or call in to
   the admin building off Geelong Rd Werribee, to inform them that you will be
   in the area, what you are doing, what vehicle you are driving etc.
   the T Section Lagoons are in the former Murtcaim Wildlife Management Area and
   are shown as no-go for anybody on the map on the back of the Melb Water
   permits. However, we have agreed that the access restrictions should be
   relaxed for the Austin Rd lagoons and T Section Lagoons. These restrictions
   were put in place to protect Orange-bellied Parrots, but OBPs have not used
   the Austins Rd area for years. The Murtcaim Wildlife Management Area no
   longer exists because 1 of the parties to the agreement [Orica] pulled out
   causing the legal agreement to lapse. It has been replaced by an informal
   arrangement between Melb Water and Parks Victoria, with input from a Wildlife
   Consultatrive Committee which includes several prominent birders.
    It seems that the relaxation of access restrictions has not been effectively
   communicated to the security firm used by Melb Water. The Acting Manager has
   promised to fix this situation.
   The boundary between the Melb Water land and The Spit Nature Conservation
   Reserve is not clearly defined. The Spit NCR remains off limits. To be safe I
   suggest that nobody goes on land to the east or south of the Pt Wilson Rd[
   also known as 29 Mile Rd]. Also best not to drive further south than the
   sweeping left hand bend in the Pt Wilson Rd. Beyond there you risk entering
   Dept of Defence land and being in big trouble!

Its very encouraging to see that birders are not deliberately flushing the
waders etc to get a quick identification. Your patience and concern for the
welfare of these birds is a credit to the birding community.

Peter Menkhorst
Flora and Fauna Program
Dept of Natural Resources and Environment
East Melbourne

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