NSW Nature Reserves and Birdwatching

Subject: NSW Nature Reserves and Birdwatching
From: "Peter Ewin" <>
Date: Tue, 26 Sep 2006 20:58:37 +1000
Just a quick follow up regarding this. I believe there are a few reasons why DEC (formerly NPWS) want to know if people are visiting their Nature Reserves.

One is the safety aspect. As N ature Reserves generally don't have visitor facilities, there are limited ways to inform people of management actions that may impact on people that happen to be staying there. For example, two activities that could happen at Round Hill that could impact on visitors are hazard reduction burns (or even wildfire if you are really unlucky) and aerial pest (goat) shooting. If the local office doesn't know if someone is in the reserve and these actions are undertaken people could be put at risk.

Secondly, DEC would like to get records from people that visit the reserves. For many years, Griffith managed Round Hill/Nombinnie and John Brickhill (Ranger/Naturalist at the time and also my boss) made it clear to people that visited that all we were after in return was a bird list. One of my jobs was to even organise a map (GIS technology at the time was awful so it was pretty bad) with the reserves marked into 1km grids and a bird list on the back so we would get records from better locations rather than just "Round Hill" (though most people went to Whooey Tank and the old wheat paddock). These records have been entered (mainly by me) into the Atlas of NSW Wildlife (see the link below) which is the departments database of sightings. This was then used for management and particularly threatened species conservation.

Thirdly and surprisingly, even remote places like Nombinnie have illegal activities (shooting, drug crops, etc.) happening and so if people are poking about, particularly along some of the more remote management trails, unless they know what you are doing you could be considered suspicious.

Also DEC wants to get an idea of the numbers of people visiting. Commercial groups do visit there and should be licensed to do so. I know there have been plans in the past to put basic facilities there (being pushed also by local tourist associations). This may be as simple as pit toilets and a water tank. Unless it is known how many people are visiting, then these management decisions can't be made. In some ways, numbers may also be limited for conservation reasons. If every birdwatcher in NSW goes to Nombinnie and palys tapes at the known sites of Red-lored Whistlers, it may in the long term effect the breeding success and distribution of this extremely rare bird.

As a final point (this has turned out much longer than I expected) I agree with Andrew in that you shouldn't feel pressured not to visit any Nature Reserve. However, you should let DEC know and supply any info that you collect back.



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