Illegal destruction of native flora


Our fragile coastal environment is being impacted by the illegal removal of native vegetation.

Georgie Beale, Great Ocean Road Coast Committee (GORCC) Conservation Officer said protection of the limited areas of natural flora remaining on the Surf Coast is of great importance.

An example of the damage that cam be done to coastal flora following the illegal removal of native vegetation.

“Unfortunately, few individuals choose to destroy the very reason that people choose to live on the coast.

“The thin strip of habitat between houses and the beach is the last piece of vegetation of its kind on the Surf Coast and we should be protecting and enhancing it, not destroying it,” she said.

Surf Coast Shire Mayor Cr Dean Webster said the removal of native negatively impacts on the Surf Coast community.

“Native trees and vegetation on public land are an important part of the Surf Coast’s appeal.

“Native trees and vegetation on public land are an important part of the Surf Coast’s appeal.

“Attacks on vegetation are acts of environmental vandalism that have no place on the Surf Coast. Replacing native vegetation takes a lot of time – established trees and plants can’t be suddenly replaced and the effects on our community can be significant,’ he said.

Mike Bodsworth, GORCC Coastal Project Coordinator said the native vegetation around Jan Juc, Anglesea, Airey’s Inlet, Fairhaven and Lorne gives these towns their distinctive character.

“Removing plants affects the quality of the natural environment and impacts on those people using public reserves for recreation as they are confronted with stark views of houses rather than views softened by vegetation.

“People who are found to have damaged native vegetation face severe penalties but catching perpetrators in the act is difficult,” he said.

“People who are found to have damaged native vegetation face severe penalties but catching perpetrators in the act is difficult.”

The illegal removal of native vegetation is an offence under the Victorian Flora and Fauna Guarantee act 1997 and fines of $6107 apply for breaches of the act.

“Anybody who observes removal of native vegetation along coastal reserves is urged to contact the Great Ocean Road Coast Committee or the Surf Coast Shire,” said Mr. Bodsworth.

For more information or to report any illegal removal of native vegetation, contact GORCC on (03) 5220 5055 or the Surf Coast Shire on (03) 5261 0600.

This article appeared in the Surf Coast Times fortnightly Green the Coast column.

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