Mallacoota - the good, the bad and the ugly

To: Alastair Smith <>
Subject: Mallacoota - the good, the bad and the ugly
Date: Thu, 31 Jan 2008 12:27:16 +1100
I think even though everyone would agree it would be nice if like-minded 
birders such as ourselves
could get invloved with informing dog owners etc about the requirements fof 
providing a breeding
areas free of disturbance, I can see situations where dog-owners will become 
angry and possibly
violent (an increasing trend in our modern society), and then issues of 
liability etc come into play.
The only solution i can see is to have more actual parks officers on the ground 
enforcing legislation.

Regards, Simon Muirhead

Quoting Alastair Smith <>:

> Of course with Parks services across the country under resourced, it
> is
> behoven on committed conservation minded groups and individuals to
> become
> the major driving force in shorebird protection. The problem lies in
> enforcing the 'rules' that state and local governments have
> obviously
> supported and ratified. In this case shorebird 'warriors' can try
> and
> persuade dog owners to be responsible and obey the signs but unless
> there is
> a person in uniform with the ability to apply a pecuniary penalty,
> most dog
> owners will continue to walk their dogs off leash because the dog
> gets more
> exercise. I am sure that other birders would happily join me in being
> sworn
> in as 'special constables' with the ability to issue fines to
> recalcitrant
> dog owners.
> The example provided by Steve Clark on the Snowy Plover in the US
> has
> obviously been supported by the general beach going public and
> education
> plays a vital role. One of the people I spoke to turned and pointed
> to a
> Silvergull and said that in her opinion shorebirds were doing well
> and in
> some cases where the menace.
> Cheers
> Alastair
> -----Original Message-----
> From: 
>  On Behalf Of David Adams
> Sent: Thursday, 31 January 2008 10:20 AM
> To: Birding-Aus
> Subject: Re: [Birding-Aus] Mallacoota - the good, the bad and the
> ugly
> On Jan 30, 2008 7:11 PM, Alastair Smith <>
> wrote:
> > Now the bad and ugly. It was gratifying to see the Little Terns,
> enclosed
> > within a roped  off area which all beach walkers appeared to
> respect. It
> was
> > most ungratifying to see the number of unleashed dogs on all
> Mallacoota
> > beaches, despite signs prohibiting dogs on beaches between November
> and
> > April. I mentioned the breeding shore birds to a couple of dogs
> owners on
> my
> > first expedition to the beach, only to be greeted with the
> equivalent of
> 'so
> > what?' in one case and hostility in the second. I don't know who
> patrols
> > these sites but the Parks Victoria office only reopened today after
> the
> long
> > weekend (?) and I did not see a council ranger or anyone else
> patrolling
> the
> > breeding sites. If we are keen on allowing these birds to breed
> unmolested
> > by dogs and people, I am surprised with the lack of enforcement.
> It
> appears
> > to me that as dog owners cannot read signs, the only thing they
> would
> > understand would be a total ban, backed up by sizeable fines.
> Malacoota is a lovely area and very worth birding. I live in the
> shire
> immediately to the north (Bega Valley) in NSW where we have a few
> Little Tern breeding colonies. Specifically, I live very near to the
> Wallaga Lake entrance where Pied Oystercatchers, Little Terns and
> Hooded Plovers breed or attempt to breed every year. Well, the Pied
> Oystercatchers seem to make an effrort with some success every year,
> the Little Terns try many years without much success, and the Hooded
> Plovers less often...alghough there was a nest this year. (I haven't
> checked its status in a few weeks.)
> Up here, there aren't many parks staff to monitor or enforce
> dog/people/AWD violations. The shorebird recovery program staff do a
> great job but are stretched very thin over a large area. They post
> signs which are largely ignored. The best chance seems to be from
> getting local volunteers to monitor the area and try to explain to
> people what's happening. Obviously that's going to give mixed
> results
> but it's a start. As to the local Council, forget about it. A year
> ago
> at Christmas, our local Council tried to slip through a proposal to
> seal a dirt  access road to the headland overlooking the breeding
> site
> for no obvious benefit (Making submissions due over the Christmas
> holidays is a strategy down here to avoid the public completing
> submissions.) I checked with parks and the shorebird recover program
> coordinator the day before submissions were due. No one had been
> consulted or informed. The proposal said that the area had "no
> significant fauna" and the flora/fauna were "so degraded" as to be
> of
> no concern. There are permanent signs with photographs and
> illustrations explaining about the rare breeding shorebirds that
> Council somehow forgot to mention. They also "forgot" that apart
> from
> everything else, a dead Ground Parrot was recovered from heathland
> just to the north of the lake's entrance. The specimen was lodged in
> the Forest department's collection in Bateman's Bay and is probably
> still there. The track sealing proposal didn't go forward,
> presumably
> because it was wildly expensive and this shire hasn't got the money
> for necessary projects for a variety of reasons, let alone
> unnecessary
> projects. So, I don't know about the situation in Malacoota but I
> wouldn't always expect help from local government....
> ---------------------------------------------
>  David Adams
>  Wallaga Lake 2546 NSW
> ---------------------------------------------
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