Monitoring coastal erosion in Anglesea

The Great Ocean Road coast is constantly changing.

While Victoria has a long history of weather variability such as storms, droughts and floods, climate change is projected to increase risks to coastal environments through drivers such as sea-level rise, change in wave-direction and increases in swell energy and storm tide events. These drivers affect coastal erosion, sediment supply and inundation and are expected to vary geographically across Victoria’s coastal zone.

The Victorian Coastal Monitoring Program (VCMP) aims to provide communities with information on coastal condition, change, hazards, and the expected longer-term impacts associated with climate change that will support decision making and adaptation planning. Read more

World Migratory Bird Day 2015

Photo: World Migratory Bird Day 2015

This weekend (9-10th May) is World Migratory Bird Day (WMBD). Each year WMBD raises awareness of migratory birds and their habitats. People around the world take action to celebrate WMBD, organising bird festivals, education programmes and bird watching excursions.

Migratory birds connect all corners and almost every environment of the world along their migration paths. WMBD is a global event and also hopes to connect the world, and bring together organizations, governments and dedicated people to protect migratory birds for future generations.

Common Snipe are fast fliers are difficult to photograph in flight. Photo: Stephen Daly
Common Snipe are fast fliers are difficult to photograph in flight. Photo: Stephen Daly

Every year the WMBD campaign has a different theme. This year is all about developing new ways to generate and distribute energy to limit the number of electrocutions and deaths among migratory birds. Why is this important? Every year migratory birds struggle to survive the massive energy generating expansions and infrastructure. The birds are fighting habitat loss and degradation from current energy producing methods which threatens their survival. Click here for more information about bird safe energy.

The global campaign is expanding year after year and already over 1,600 events have been registered in 131 different countries. To register your event or find one locally visit the official WMBD website.

What migratory birds have you seen lately? 

A Day to focus on our fish

Every year on November 21 fishing communities and environmentalist groups across the globe celebrate World Fisheries Day and the importance of maintaining marine wildlife.

The United Nations found in a recent study that more than two-thirds of the world’s fisheries have been overfished or are fully harvested and more than one third are in a state of decline due to factors including the loss of essential fish habitats, pollution, and global warming.

Although there are so many fishing spots along the surf coast, many locations around the world have lost this luxury.
Although there are so many fishing spots along the surf coast, many locations around the world have lost this luxury.

The day highlights the importance of fish in water health, and the lives they sustain in and out of the water through rallies, workshops, public meetings, cultural programs, exhibitions, music shows, and demonstrations.

Without the continual regeneration of fish, the diets of millions of people around the world will be negatively affected and a huge proportion of traditional societies who are reliant on the occupation of fishing will also be impacted.

With the majority of cities placed closely to water bodies, severe ocean and coastal pollution has become an ever-increasing problem with the depletion of fish resulting in a crisis.

Unsustainable fishing methods linked to mechanisation has been a huge factor in the issue.

The World Fisheries Day helps to highlight these problems, and moves towards finding solutions to the increasingly inter-connected problems we are facing, and in the longer term, to sustainable means of maintaining fish stocks.

With the continual pollution and over-fishing around the surf coast, fish may become very difficult to find.
With the continual pollution and over-fishing around the surf coast, fish may become very difficult to find.

Not sure why this is such a big issue?

• Fisheries and aquaculture employ more than 43 million individuals worldwide.
• More than 25% of the world’s dietary protein is provided by fish.
• The human population consumes over 100 million metric tonnes of fish annually
• Globally, annual fisheries exports are valued at 85 to 90 billion dollars.
• Escalating amounts of pollution continue to threaten water quality and fish habitat
• All natural fish stocks today contain at least some mercury

Spring Creek is one of many popular fishing spots along the Surf Coast.
Spring Creek is one of many popular fishing locations along the Surf Coast.

To find out more about the Day and how you can make a difference, visit the event’s Facebook page here.

Celebrate Sustainable Living!

It’s that time of yeara again when we celebrate sustainable living in Australia.

Sustainable House Day 2014 will be held on Sunday the 7th and  14th of September to showcase some of the country’s most environmentally progressive homes.

Did you know that the average Australian household contributes 13 tonnes of greenhouse gas to the atmosphere every year?  That’s enough to fill more than 700 balloons every day …scary.

The event gives you the chance to tour every day Australian homes with a lowered ecological footprint and you can visit some sustainable houses in our region.  Residences in Mount Duneed, Belmont and Queenscliff will be opening their doors for anyone seeking inspiration, tips and ideas about renewable energy, recycling, and other sustainable practices.

Take a look at the gallery of sustainable homes below.  Each residence integrates various sustainable  features such as rain water harvesting, recycled building materials, photovoltaic solar panels, sustainable food production and much more!




For more information on Sustainable House Day 2014 or to find a sustainable house in your local area, click here.

SCEG Hosts August Film Night

Australians generate approximately 41 million tonnes of waste each year. Half of this waste is not being recovered for recycling (Clean up Australia, 2009).

To help encourage recycling practices, the Surf Coast Energy Group (SCEG) are inviting the community to attend the August film night, which will showcase the award winning film, ‘Waste Not’.

The 30 minute film, created by Total Environment Centre follows the journey of our rubbish as it is sorted and handled by an army of workers. The night aims to transform the community into ‘Waste Wizards’ and raises awareness about the importance of recycling.

Plastics collected from the beach by a count group
Plastics collected from the beach by a count group

After the screening of this empowering film, the evening will continue with engaging activities for the whole family including:

•    ‘Sort it’, where the whole family can decide what should really be in the recycle bin.
•    ‘Show and Tell’, an opportunity for community members to present their best reuse and recreate item for the chance to win a prize.
•    Rubbish experts from the Shire and Barwon Regional Waste Management answering your questions about where to recycle other items.
•    A discussion about the Surf Coast Shire’s vision to reduce landfill.
•    A delicious supper provided by Zeally Bay Bakery, Hidden Secrets and SCEG volunteers.

SCEG encourages everyone to come dressed in their best op shop outfit and walk the red carpet at Surfworld Theatrette Torquay, on Friday 2nd of August, commencing at 7pm. Entry by donation.

Watch the Waste Not trailer to gain an insight into the film:

For more information, visit:

For more information on environmental issues, visit:

Related blog posts:

107Rubbish dumping still a threat to our coast
1362014657_KABwhitebackground Deal with waste responsibly

Green Mums want ‘greener’ groceries

When you are filling your trolley with your favourite fruit and vegetables from the supermarket, do you ever wonder exactly how fresh they are and where they come from?

Well, there are a number of Surf Coast women asking these same questions.

Green Mums, a network of environmentally-orientated women are working to establish a “farm gate” fresh food cooperative to encourage healthier and more sustainable living in the Surf Coast region.

Green Mums are striving to create a healthier and more eco-friendly community. (Picture courtesy of Green Mums)

How will the initiative work?

The Green Mums initiative will develop a weekly collection of food from producers in the Surf Coast region which will then be sorted, packed and delivered to designated community pick up points by rostered cooperative members.

They have also applied for a grant from the Surf Coast Shire for additional support of this initiative.


How will the cooperative benefit our community?

This cooperative would allow regional farmers to distribute their produce fairly and provide opportunities for the community to buy locally sourced groceries.

Leanne Reinke, a member of the Green Mums group, said this initiative will be beneficial to both our health and the environment.

“This initiative will result in carbon emissions being reduced by people buying food that is not sourced interstate or overseas, families eating healthy, fresh food and community friendships being fostered,” she said.

Ms. Reinke also said the initiative would build a more locally-based and self-reliant food economy within the community.

“We want to pay a fair price for good food and local farmers need support and a fair and consistent return, so this initiative will deliver a sustainable and secure food future.”


Are there other regions which support similar initiatives?

Green Mums is drawing on the thriving Melbourne food network Ceres Fair Food, for inspiration.

Ceres Fair Food is a popular organic food delivery service which sources produce from local growers who are paid a fair price for their produce and also practice eco-friendly farming.

For more information, click here to see the Ceres Fair Food website.

Leanne Reinke from Green Mums seeks advice from Jesse Hull at Ceres Fair Food.

On a global scale, trends suggest that consumers are increasingly looking to understand where their food comes from and exactly what goes into it.

“There is a growing international desire to be more sustainable and to live a healthier life, and a realisation that these two objectives complement each other.

“It is possible to have a much more tangible relationship with who is growing our food and changes inevitably ripple outward to our local community and ultimately impact globally,” said Ms. Reinke

How can I help?

Ms Reinke said anyone wanting to make a healthier change now has the ability.

“My advice when shopping would be to think when you shop- where it comes from, how it got here, how much packaging does it have, what was used to produce it, and say ‘no’ to plastic bags”

Those wishing to get involved or learn more about the cooperative can email Green Mums at , visit their blog or Facebook page

Think Sustainable Seafood this Easter

You can help to protect the health of our marine ecosystem this Easter simply by selecting sustainable seafood for your holiday feasts.

This week fishmongers will be hard at work to meet the demands of the many Australians who choose to eat seafood in honour of the popular Good Friday tradition.

Marine Campaigns Officer Tooni Mahto from the Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) is encouraging consumers to think before they buy when it comes to seafood.

“It is a common myth that Australia has the most sustainable fisheries in the world but in 2008 a study by the Fisheries Centre at the University of British Columbia ranked Australia as number 31 for sustainability out of 53 of the biggest fish-producing nations – an unimpressive result,” she said

The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) estimates that 80% of the world’s fish stocks are now over-exploited or fished right up to their limit, and we have lost 90% of the world’s big fish from the oceans.

The AMCS is working with consumers, chefs, restaurants, seafood retailers, supermarkets and government to achieve fully sustainable, well-managed Australian fisheries.

“We work to ensure we can exist in equilibrium with our oceans for the future of our marine life and the communities and industries that depend on a healthy marine environment,” said Ms Mahto.

Consumers can assist by making the right choice when purchasing seafood by using ‘Australia’s Sustainable Seafood Guide’ developed by the AMCS.

“We launched the first consumer guide in 2004 in response to requests from the public for a road-map as to how to navigate the complexities of choosing seafood responsibly,” said Ms Mahto.

Since the initial publication, there have been four updates, passing on the most up to date information possible to consumers.

“In late 2010 we launched the most recent version of the guide which contains analysis of more seafood species and enable us to keep up with current information and is available on our website.” said Ms Mahto.

Sustainable seafood is a resource taken from the sea, or grown in a farm, which is harvested without harming the environment whilst maintaining a healthy population of the target item.

Individuals can make a difference to the health of our local Surf Coast Environment by ensuring they ask their fishmongers how and where the fish they are buying is caught, and choosing the sustainable option.

“Consumer power is massive – what we buy tells those up the seafood chain what values we hold most important,” said Ms Mahto.

“If we choose sustainably caught fish, we are telling them we care about the health of the oceans and healthy fisheries.”

For an accessible introduction into the issues surrounding sustainable seafood, visit the AMCS’s website The guide can be purchased on-line for $9.95.

This story was written by the Great Ocean Road Coast Committee and published in the Surf Coast Time’s Going Green Column.

An Underwater World In Decline

Imagine you are in a forest and life is teeming around you.  The forest canopy stretches metres above and as you look up into the filtered sunlight a myriad of lifeforms can be seen living in their sheltered forest home.

No, it’s not a tropical rainforest; it’s an underwater world of Giant Kelps (Macrocystis).

The exceptional biodiversity of these Giant Kelp beds was first noted by Charles Darwin who visited Australia in 1983 and proclaimed, “The number of living creatures of all orders, whose existence intimately depends on the kelp, is wonderful”.

These large, brown algae are attached to the seafloor and are an important feature of many temperate reefs.  Buoyed by large, air filled bladders, they stand up in the water, and create a forest like environment, providing shelter and food for hundreds of species.

Macrocystis is limited to specific areas due to its preference for cool water and their need for rocky reefs to anchor themselves to.  In Australia, Macrocystis is confined to the southeastern parts of the mainland and Tasmania.

Global Distribution of Giant Kelp:

Climate change and the decline of Macrocystis:

Evidence suggests Giant Kelps are in decline.  The problem has been associated with the El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) climate pattern, and contributing factors include changes in ocean acidity, increasing sea surface temperatures, more frequent storm surge events, and erosion of the coast.

Scientists believe the increasingly frequent ENSO phenomenon is driving warm tropical currents further south down the east coast of Australia where higher than normal water temperatures in partnership with lower nutrient availability, has seen a crash in Kelp populations, particularly in Tasmania.

Impacts on marine life are already apparent. Distributions of fish and other animals are shifting polewards and the timing of Antarctic seabird breeding and migration is changing, while some fish species previously only seen in Sydney are now being found in Port Phillip Bay.

How you can help

Everyone who cares about the health of our oceans can get involved by reducing their carbon footprint and working together to seek lasting global solutions to climate change.

The Great Ocean Road Coast Committee is currently undertaking a project on climate change and adaption strategies along the Surf Coast which commenced in April 2010.  You can investigate ways make a difference, and find further information at .

To get hands on in the battle against climate change, contact Surfers Appreciating the Natural Environment (SANE), a local community group that conducts environmental activities in the Bells Beach Reserve, on the 2nd Sunday of each month starting at 10:00am. Contact Graeme Stockton on 0425 752 648 or go to SANE’s website at

This article was published in the Surf Coast Times as part of the publications fortnightly “Going Green Column”.