With most of our homes and towns spread out along the coast and much of our recreation done on beaches or the sea, our coastline is subject to a lot of pressure from people, pets and pollution. Even water and soil from homes, farms and industry removed from the coast eventually makes its way to the sea via our creeks and rivers.
Blackmans Bay Beach
Potentially we could love our coast to death!
We can all make a difference by treading lightly on the coast. Observing our local patch and learning where shorebirds normally nest, discovering what animals live on your beach or rocky shore, removing rubbish, walking below high tide mark or joining your local Coastcare group.
People and pets
Walking, driving and dog walking on the beach are best done below high tide mark, where there is little risk of disturbing beach-nesting shorebirds. The nest of a beach-nesting shorebird is often a shallow scrape of sand above high tide mark.
Avoid Little penguin colonies at dusk and dawn.
Keep your dog on a lead, unless you are in a ‘Dog exercise area’ (maps of which are in the Dog Management Policy) Note that pets are not allowed in Parks and Wildlife Reserves.
Rocks, seaweed and sand are habitat to coastal animals like crabs, Sandhoppers and Wedge shells, so when exploring the coast remember to:
leave only footsteps and take only photos
The coastline is in a constant state of change, mostly so incremental we don’t see it. But combine a high tide with a storm surge and our coastline receives a battering, with powerful waves smashing and altering rocky shorelines and cliffs and cutting away parts of beaches. With the potential for sea level rise due to climate change , we should do all we can to ensure our bit of coast is not subject to unnatural erosion.
Clearing vegetation close to the coastline removes the deep roots that hold the soil together and can speed up coastal erosion. Even weeds hold the soil together and should not be cleared too quickly from the coast, but done gradually. Cleaning up messy bush close to the coast creates bare ground over which heavy rain erodes the soil and deposits it in the sea. If you own or manage a patch of coast, aim to maintain at least a 50 metre strip of woody vegetation along the coastline.
Pollution and storm water quality
A number of areas of Kingborough are not connected to a sewerage system and rely on septic systems. In these areas especially, it is important to think about what you tip down the sink.
Any herbicides or pesticides we put on our gardens and paddocks also eventually finds its way to the sea. Try natural products, but check them carefully, as even ‘natural’ products can contain nasty additives to make them more effective.
If you have unwanted chemicals, take sealed chemical containers to the Barretta Tip or wait for a drumMuster chemical collection. (http://www.drummuster.com.au/)
Marine debris, or seaborne rubbish, is a major issue for marine wildlife and their ecosystems. Impacts to wildlife include entanglement and ingestion, and an increased transport of pollutants into food chains. In Kingborough we see plastic bags and bottles, beer cans, ropes, nets, fishing line, buoys and bits of boats to name a few things. For more information or to get involved go to: http://teachwild.org.au/