The Great Ocean Road Coast Committee, with support from Surf Coast Shire, will pilot an on-lead dog zone starting this summer at Point Impossible and is seeking feedback and input from the local community.
The one-year trial aims to protect wildlife including shorebirds from the impacts of dogs off leash.
Commencing December 1, 2017, the results of the pilot project will be incorporated in the Great Ocean Road Coast Committee’s Coastal Management Plan review in 2018. Coastal Reserves Manager Caleb Hurrell said the trial will focus on education and monitoring.
‘We are asking all dog owners to keep their dogs on a lead between Thompsons Creek at Point Impossible and Point Impossible Nude Beach Carpark. We are also asking horse-riders, who are allowed to ride in this area with a permit, to stay well below the high tide mark. Existing D1 off lead areas will not be affected. We will work with Surf Coast Shire compliance staff and volunteers from Birdlife Australia’s Friends of the Hooded Plover, CoastCare, Surf Coast and Torquay Coast Action to implement the pilot program. Deakin University will be assisting with the trial.’
Great Ocean Road Coast Committee welcomes feedback on the pilot project and will monitor the impacts throughout the trial period.
The one-year trial follows a community petition earlier this year calling for the protection of this critical shorebird site at Point Impossible that is important to migratory shorebirds from around the world as well as to our own nesting Hooded Plovers, a highly threatened species.
Dr Grainne Maguire said BirdLife Australia welcomed the trial at Point Impossible and encouraged community feedback. ‘Unleashed dogs are a major threat to shorebirds that have flown tens of thousands of kilometres to feed on our shores, and to threatened Hooded Plover chicks. Off leash dogs have been identified as one of the leading causes of chick mortality. Our research has also shown that Hooded Plovers are twice as likely to stay on the nest if a dog is on a lead while unleashed dogs cause parents to abandon the nest in over 50% of encounters. Coexistence is possible.’
To provide feedback on the trial visit the Great Ocean Road Coast Committee at www.gorcc.com.au. Media enquiries: David Petty – 0437 557 96
(GORCC media release)