Deal with waste responsibly


Incorrect disposal and illegal dumping of rubbish costs our coast both environmentally and economically, but there are simple steps we can all take to reduce the impact.

Disposal of household waste in public bins, general waste contaminating recycling and illegal rubbish dumping are having a major toll on coastal environments and come at a huge financial coast to local authorities, consuming funds that could be spent elsewhere.

GORCC education activity leader Hilary Bouma and conservation officer Georgie Beale demonstrate responsible recycling.
GORCC education activity leader Hilary Bouma and conservation officer Georgie Beale demonstrate responsible recycling.

Great Ocean Road Coast Committee (GORCC) Coastal Reserves Manager Rod Goring said the problem was ongoing, despite work undertaken to encourage responsible rubbish disposal and the provision of recycling and general waste bins across campgrounds and coastal reserves.

“A large amount of household waste is often disposed of in public bins provided for beachgoers.

“Not only is this illegal, but it causes overflow and litter on our beaches is not only visually horrible but threatens coastal flora and fauna and the marine environment.

“Additionally, contamination of recycling is a constant issue, and we urge all coastal users to familiarise themselves with what can and can’t be recycled.

Recyclable materials include glass containers, some plastics, cardboards, paper and metal including steel or aluminum cans.

“Many may not realize that plastic bags, plastic wrap and food containers with food scraps, are not recyclable and cause contamination.

“Our contractors face heavy fines for delivery of non-recyclables to the depot and, unfortunately, some heavily contaminated bins have to be emptied into general waste and sent to landfill,” he said.

Equally concerning is the illegal dumping of rubbish directly onto coastal reserves, with large amounts of hard rubbish being discovered on our coast on a regular basis.

“From pianos and televisions through to paint cans and asbestos, it is unbelievable what people will leave on beautiful beaches that are so highly valued by the community,” said Mr. Goring.

Great Ocean Road Coast Committee Outdoor Works Supervisor, Phil Brown with a piano that was illegally dumped near the Point Impossible nudist beach in Torquay.
Great Ocean Road Coast Committee Outdoor Works Supervisor, Phil Brown with a piano that was illegally dumped near the Point Impossible nudist beach in Torquay.

Waste disposal sites are made available at several coastal locations and allow the drop off of household garbage and a range of recyclable materials.

“All coastal users, including campers, visitors and holiday home owners are encouraged to use these facilities and minimise the amount of rubbish that ends up on the beaches.

“The council also has drop –off collection points for holiday home owners at Torquay, Anglesea and Lorne,” said Mr.Goring

If you notice any illegal rubbish dumping or to report any rubbish or litter contact the GORCC office on 5220 5055, or the Surf Coast Shire on 5261 0600.  Littering from vehicles can be reported to EPA Victoria by calling the Littering Hotline on 1800 372 842 or visiting http://www.epa.vic.gov.au.

This story featured in the Surf Coast Times Green the Coast Column.

Visit GORCC’s website for more information on rubbish dumping and local laws and regulations to protect our coast.

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Clean up to conserve coast


The Great Ocean Road Coast Committee (GORCC) is once again supporting Clean Up Australia Day and asking you to join us to help clean up and conserve the Surf Coast environment.

Clean Up Australia Day volunteers Isabella and Tessa.
Clean Up Australia Day 2012 volunteers Isabella and Tessa.

GORCC is asking the community to participate in the 2013 Clean Up Australia Day held on Sunday 3 March at our designated site, Bird Rock car park in Jan Juc, from 10am to 12pm.

You can view a map of the location here.

According to the Clean Up Australia Day website, in 2012 an estimated 591,400 volunteers cleaned up 16,169 tonnes at 7,363 sites right across Australia.

Last year our designated site attracted 11 volunteers and over 20 bags of rubbish were filled! This year we can do better, so come along and help clean up and conserve our precious environment.

GORCC staff members Zac, Trent with Jan Juc Coast Action Chairperson Luke Hynes with some of the unusual items found at Clean Up Australia Day.
GORCC staff members Zac, Trent with Jan Juc Coast Action Chairperson Luke Hynes with some of the unusual items found at Clean Up Australia Day.

You can register as a volunteer on the Clean Up Australia Day website to go into the draw to win a $100 Bunnings voucher or a $100 Rip Curl voucher by clicking the button “Join this Site”  on our Clean Up Australia Day page.

What to bring:

  • Just bring yourself as all clean up equipment will be provided on the day.
  • If you have a set of gloves please bring them along otherwise we will provide you with some on the day.
  • Ensure you wear a hat.
  • Enclosed footwear must be worn.
  • Water, sunscreen and light refreshments will be provided as well as a free BBQ at 12pm.
  • All ages are welcome, but children 15 years old and under must be accompanied and supervised by an adult.

Hope to see you there!

If you are interested in other volunteering opportunities along the coast visit our website.

For more information about Clean Up Australia Day download this handy iPhone App!

To learn why it is important to participate, watch the clip below from the organizers of Clean Up Australia Day.

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Will you be joining us at Bird Rock? Let us know below…

Dog teams train for quoll search


Dog detection teams are in training in an effort to support Tiger Quoll research, as conservation efforts ramp up following the rediscovery of the endangered species in the Otways last year.

A Tiger Quoll and her joeys in Cape Otway.  Photo: ALI CORKE
A Tiger Quoll and her joeys in Cape Otway. Photo: ALI CORKE

The Conservation Ecology Centre (CEC) is working in conjunction with South-West Victorian Dogs and community volunteers to train dogs to search for and detect Tiger Quoll scats.

DNA tests undertaken on faeces collected from an animal sighted near Lorne confirmed it was a Tiger Quoll (Dasyrus maculatus),  followed by another reported sighting in the Cape Otway area.

CEC Conservation Coordinator Dr Jack Pascoe said there are currently 10 dog teams in training.

“The Otway’s Conservation Dog Team has the potential to discover much more about the ecology of the Otway’s quoll population including their distribution, genetic diversity and relatedness.”

“We hope early this year the dogs will be able to positively identify Tiger Quoll scats from a lineup of samples.

“Later in the year we hope to have most of the dog teams fully trained for deployment for field surveys.”

South West Victorian Dogs Program Developer Luke Edwards said the program involves teaching the dogs to identify the Tiger Quoll scats through a reward system.

Dr Pascoe said increased information on the quoll population would assist in the development and application of effective and practical conservation solutions.

In another boost to conservation efforts, the CEC has purchased 21 acres of land for the creation of a habitat corridor for local wildlife.

The property, which will link to the Great Otway National Park, will provide a safe haven for Tiger Quolls, koalas, and other species and is hoped to become a model for future habitat restoration.

For further information or to become a volunteer contact CEC on 5237 9297.

This story featured in the the Surf Coast Times Green the Coast Column.

One of the four quoll joeys born at CEC last year. Photo: ALI CORKE
One of the four quoll joeys born at CEC last year. Photo: ALI CORKE

Want to find out more about the work of  the CEC in Cape Otway?

Visit the CEC website where you can find out more about the Tiger Quoll Conservation Program and other conservation programs underway.

Want to get involved in other volunteering opportunities along the coast?

Visit the Great Ocean Road Coast Committee volunteer page here.

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Critters return to Juc


Environmental volunteers working to restore the Jan Juc Creek reserve are witnessing the return of various native species to the area and calling on everyone to aid in their protection.

A Sugar Glider in Care at the Conservation Ecology Centre.  Photo by A. Bloomberg.
A Sugar Glider in Care at the Conservation Ecology Centre. Photo: A. Bloomberg.

Leader of the Friends of Jan Juc Creek Reserves (FJJCR) Octavier Chabrier said an array of native animals had been sighted.

“We have spotted many animals we haven’t seen in years including Echidnas, Kangaroos, Lizards, Possums, Pardalotes, Snakes and many more,” said

Sugar Gliders are also returning, although the recent discovery of an injured glider came as a timely reminder for residents to keep their cats indoors.

“Unfortunately, the animal, which was carrying young, had been injured and is suspected to have been attacked by a cat.

“The glider and its baby were looked after by a vet and local wildlife carers but unfortunately neither could be saved.

“Ensure you take steps to be a responsible cat owner and adhere to the cat curfew,” said Ms Chabrier.

Robyn Rule from the Torquay Wildlife Shelter said cat saliva was deadly to gliders and possums and that it was important they received antibiotics straight away.

“The faster they get into care the better, so call Wildilfe Victoria on 1300 094 535 or, after hours, call the Torquay Wildlife Shelter on 0402 237 600,” she said.

FJJCR consists of 50 members who work to eradicate weeds and restore and revegetate the areas of reserve along the Jan Juc creek and has planted over 1000 plants and grasses over the five years.

Friends of Jan Juc Creek getting hands on during their recent working bee at Torquay Boulevard. Photo by Margaret Hopkins.
Friends of Jan Juc Creek getting hands on during their recent working bee at Torquay Boulevard. Photo by Margaret Hopkins.

“It’s such a thrill to watch the dynamic change that comes from the growth of these plantations,” Ms Chabrier said.

Ms Chabrier said the group also worked to educate others about invasive weeds .

“Many don’t realise plants in their back yard could spread to the reserves and invade indigenous plant species.”

“The Mirrorbush, a fast-growing hedge that can run rampant through the reserves, is one weed in particular that many people are unaware of,” she said.

The Surf Coast Shire publishes a free Environmental Weeds-Invaders of our Surf Coast booklet which is available on their website to assist residents to identify what weeds could be lurking in their garden.

“Inspect your garden for weeds and consider if they could be removed and replaced by indigenous plants,” Ms Chabrier said.

FJJCR is always seeking new members and doesn’t have a minimum time commitment, welcoming even those who can only volunteer once a year.  For more information on FJJCR contact Octavier Chabrier  0439510269.

This story featured in the Surf Coast Times Green the Coast Column.

For more volunteer opportunities visit the GORCC volunteer page.

This story featured in the Surf Coast Times Green the Coast Column.

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New group protects sanctuary


The new Friends of the Eagle Rock Marine Sanctuary group is seeking members and set for an official launch in February while spectacular underwater footage of the area has been released.

The newly formed volunteer group has been working with Parks Victoria and Great Ocean Road Coast Committee (GORCC) to produce a short film showcasing marine life protected by the sanctuary.

The Surfcoast's newsest volunteer group - Eagle Rock Marine Sanctuary group
The Surfcoast’s newsest volunteer group – Friends of the Eagle Rock Marine Sanctuary

Founding members of the Eagle Rock Marine Sanctuary group snorkelled with the cameraman and guided him to special parts of the sanctuary to produce underwater footage which showcases an array of marine life.

Parks Victoria’s Alicia Ivory said the film gives visitors a snapshot of what is beneath the waves in the sanctuary.

“Many visitors come for a photo and a look around the lighthouse but might never get a chance to get out into the water and see the marine life our sanctuary protects.

“It is a fantastic way to show people the different creatures making use of the area and what we all need to do to make sure they are safe and protected,” she said.

Watch the footage below!

 

90% of the plants and animals showcased in the video are only found along the southern coastline of Australia.

Ms. Ivory said these areas provide an important refuge for a number of rare and threatened marine animals and plants.

“Much of our marine life is found nowhere else in the world,” Ms Ivory said.

The film is accessible via QR barcodes on interpretive signage which has been installed above the marine sanctuary or directly via the GORCC website.

Visitors to the Split Point Lookout can take a photo of the barcode with their smart phone to instantly view the footage.

Interpretive signs installed by GORCC at Split Point Lookout.
Interpretive signs installed by GORCC at Split Point Lookout.

Manager of EcoLogic and Friends of Eagle Rock Marine Sanctuary founding member Sharon Blum-Caon said the group currently consists of six founding members and new participants are welcome.

“We catch up for snorkeling, rock pool ramblings, social events, coastal vegetation rehabilitation and photography,” she said.

Everyone is welcome at the official launch to be held on 9 February 2013 and attendees will receive a free Friends of Eagle Rock Marine Sanctuary pack including a T-shirt printed with an image of the sanctuary’s iconic Port Jackson Shark.

For more information contact Sharon on: 0412 257 802 or email tours@ecologic.com.au.

This story featured in the Surf Coast Times Green the Coast column.

For further details on volunteering along the coast, view the GORCC volunteer page.

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Community vital to coast research


A new community-based environmental research initiative is helping to monitor long term vegetation and landscape change on our coast.

The Fluker Post at Lorne Point

The Fluker Post Research program, which involves monitoring change on selected sites through photography, has been established by the Corangamite Catchment Management Authority (CCMA) and Victoria University .

Participants are being invited to submit photos taken from the post to track how a project site changes over time.

CCMA coastal projects officer Jannes Demetrious said it is a great way for the community, and even those just passing by a site, to take part in an important environmental project.

“All you need to do is take a photo and email it in. Photos can be taken with a digital camera and emailed later or with a Smartphone and emailed directly using the barcode scanner QR code on the post,” he said.

The posts have been installed for several months and already the project has received a positive response.

“We were expecting one or two photos a month but so far we have received about 20-25 photos from the posts a month,” said Mr. Demetrious

The posts are named after Victoria University’s Dr Martin Fluker who developed the idea to improve the accuracy of photo point monitoring.

Changes to vegetation are being monitored whilst rehabilitation work is undertaken on the sites and will continue for up to 5-10 years.

Mr Demetrious said this is the first use of these posts to monitor vegetation condition.

“We hope to see a decrease in weedy vegetation and we can document any erosion if it’s occurring,” he said.

There are currently five posts located on Great Ocean Road Coast Committee managed areas and two more installed on Surf Coast Shire managed areas.

Posts are located at Torquay’s Rocky Point and Yellow Bluff, Aireys Inlet along Painkalac Creek and near the lighthouse, Anglesea’s Fairylands and along Anglesea River and along Lorne Point.

The initiative is funded through the CCMA’s Coastal Tender program, funded by the Australian Government which has funded numerous environmental projects across the region.

The photos can be viewed on the CCMA Facebook page and photos can be submitted to cmmaflukerpost@gmail.com.

This story featured in the the Surf Coast Times Green the Coast column.  

Changes to vegetation are being monitored.

Media Releases:

Read the full media release from CCMA here.

This media release from Victoria University (VU) explains the use of Fluker Posts on the Great Ocean Walk between Blanket Bay and Johanna Beach near Apollo Bay.

More information on Fluker Posts:

Visit the Fluker Post Research Project page on Facebook here.

Images of the CCMA Fluker Posts can be found here.

Coast connections at student forum


Students from four regional schools came together to celebrate a year of coastal conservation achievements at an environmental forum held in Torquay last week.

EcoLogic’s Sophie Small, GORCC Education Activity Leader Sarah Bolus, Northern Bay College students Brian Devlin and Dylan Shelly with some ‘bush tucker’ they learnt about as part of the forum activities.

The educational event formed part of the Great Ocean Road Coast Committee (GORCC) Coast Guardians Program and included environmental activities, guest speakers and student presentations.

Geelong Lutheran College Middle School Co-Ordinator Georgia Quirk said the forum highlighted the importance and impact of the students’ year of environmental work.

“It was great to see the students come together with the other schools in the program, and realise that what they have done has a larger purpose.

“Together we can achieve a whole lot more and it was wonderful to see our students interacting with others by take part in this community endeavour,” Ms Quirk said.

Participants learnt about indigenous foods, protecting and caring for wildlife, the impact of marine debris on our environment and were encouraged to consider environmental volunteering and future careers in conservation.

GORCC Conservation Officer Georgina Beale said the forum acknowledged the students’ hard work and contribution to maintaining the coastal environment.

“The students have assisted us to protect and enhance the natural environment and supported the incredible work of local environmental volunteer groups,” said Ms. Beale.

The program covered a range of environmental topics integrated with hands-on activities such as weeding, planting and erosion prevention.

Geelong Lutheran College, Northern Bay P-12 College and Lorne-Aireys Inlet P-12 College and Surf Coast Secondary College Students took part in the Coast Guardians Program for 2012.

Each school took ownership of the rehabilitation and conservation of a coastal site with the help of GORCC’s conservation team and supported by local volunteer groups including ANGAIR, Friends of Queens Park and Torquay Coast Action.

GORCC Conservation Officer Georgie Beale and Education Activity Leader Sarah Bolus with students at the forum.

Visit or like GORCC on Facebook to see more images of the Coast Guardians End of Year Forum.

What is the Coast Guardian Program?

Students involved ranged from years 7-10 from four schools.  The activities the students undertook this year helped to increase awareness of environmental issues and encouraged social responsibility and environmental stewardship and it is hoped that participants will be able to walk along that section of coast in years to come and see the results of their hard work.

The program is additional to GORCC’s general Environmental Education Activities Program and is provided free of charge to the schools involved.

Read more about the program here.

Want to get involved in GORCC’s Environmental Activities Program or volunteering on the coast?

Learn more about it the Environmental Activities Program here.

Visit the volunteer page for further information on volunteering opportunities.

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