International visitors fly in to Farquhar

Published on 16 October 2018

Little Terns & waders at Farquhar Inlet.JPG

Every year beaches and inlets across the Manning become a safe-haven for endangered shorebirds, who make their way to nest and feed from as far away as Japan and Russia. With nesting season now underway, signage and fencing has been installed for their protection, survival and breeding success.

Fenced-off and signposted areas have been established by the team at MidCoast Council, in partnership with National Parks and Wildlife Service, Department of Industry Crown Lands & Water and Taree Indigenous Development & Employment (TIDE). Designed to protect endangered species including Little Terns and Eastern Curlews from beach users, dogs and foxes, and four-wheel drives, their success relies heavily on community awareness and participation.

“We’re thankful to the majority of beach users who have observed the signage and fencing that was installed last month”, explained Andrew Staniland, MidCoast Council’s Coastal Management Coordinator.

“Our beaches are unique places for all to enjoy responsibly, so our message is about sharing the shore and respecting areas that have been targeted for protection, whether that’s for dune revegetation or to prevent the decimation of shorebird nesting sites”.

However, a recent incident of vandalism at Farquhar Inlet saw several sections of fencing destroyed. Members of the public who witness inappropriate behaviour by other beach users are encouraged to report the incident, noting time and location, by calling 6591 7222. Fines of up to $1,100 are in place for causing damage to fencing and entering prohibited areas.

“The damaged fencing was repaired within days”, Andrew added. “Our rangers will continue to patrol these fenced-off areas, helping us to carefully manage the balance between recreation and the environment”.

Nesting shorebirds are vulnerable to inadvertent impacts of beach users. In the last two breeding seasons, some birds abandoned their nesting sites altogether because of disturbances from vehicles and dogs in fenced areas, while those that stayed lost almost all of their eggs and chicks to foxes, 4WDs and dogs.

To find out more about sharing the shore, and measures in place to protect threatened species on our beaches, visit www.midcoast.nsw.gov.au/sharetheshore where you can download maps showing fenced-off areas and dog exclusion zones.

Strict rules are in place for driving on beaches, including a maximum 40km per hour speed limit, or 15km per hour within 100m of other vehicles and beach users, and a requirement to display a valid beach access permit. For information about where four-wheel driving is permitted, the rules that apply, and access points, visit www.midcoast.nsw.gov.au/beachpermit

“We urge everyone to share the shore responsibly, observe all signage and fencing, and be respectful of the natural environment we are so fortunate to have on our doorstep”, Andrew said. “With the combined efforts from our community and project partners we are looking forward to a highly successful breeding season”.

Image supplied by Chris Martin