An invasion of commercially trained horses, off-leash dogs, pests and weeds and illegal camping are some of the problems facing the Belfast Coastal Reserve.
But managers can’t deal with these issues properly because the reserve has no regulations to support them.
This is made worse by having three management agencies – City of Warrnambool, Parks Victoria and Shire of Moyne – each covering parts of the reserve.
Created in the 1980s, the reserve is supposed to conserve coastal nature and support passive recreational activities. It can’t do that without a decent management plan, Parks Victoria as overall manager, and a good set of regulations.
The best way to achieve that is by turning the reserve into a coastal park under the National Parks Act.
The park would protect:
- tall sand dunes covered in coastal dune scrub, tussock grassland and swamp scrub, coastal wetlands, narrow sandy beaches and occasional volcanic reefs
- burial sites and many middens left by the Moonwer Gundidj, a local clan of the greater Peek Whurrong coastal tribe who used the area for thousands of years
- an internationally recognised Important Bird Area due to visits by the critically endangered orange-bellied parrot in winter, breeding populations of the hooded plover, and the many threatened migratory and resident bird species using the area
- an important area for passive recreational activities such as surfing, swimming, boating, walking, picnicking and beachcombing.
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