Call for caution around coastal cliffs

Authorities are calling for beach visitors to exercise caution after recent cliff collapses at Jan Juc and Aireys Inlet, with undercutting and rainfall making the areas more unstable.

Great Ocean Road Coast Committee Coastal Reserves Manager Caleb Hurrell said this time of year was known for cliff movement due to the fluctuation in soil conditions.

Read more

Take care around Surf Coast cliffs

Pedestrians and beach users are encouraged to take care near cliffs along the Surf Coast following heavy rain in winter and spring.

Great Ocean Road Coast Committee, Parks Victoria and Surf Coast Shire Council said the start of summer was a good opportunity to remind community members and visitors about cliff instability.

Read more

Call to beachgoers: Reduce dune damage

Fragile sand dunes are deteriorating due to an increase in illegal access, threatening coastal environments and posing safety risks to beachgoers.

Dune systems are being left exposed to high winds, tides and rainfall as vegetation as they continue to be trampled by beachgoers leaving designated tracks and ignoring signs. Read more

GORCC thanks volunteers

In celebration of National Volunteer Week, the Great Ocean Road Coast Committee (GORCC) would like to thank our dedicated coastal environmental volunteers for the time they take to look after our beautiful coast on behalf of the community.

Kit-e Kline and children Makeisha, 6, and Jamaiyah, 3, help clean up the rubbish around Bird Rock car park during Clean Up Australia Day 2013 held in March.
Kit-e Kline and children Makeisha, 6, and Jamaiyah, 3, help clean up the rubbish around Bird Rock car park during Clean Up Australia Day 2013 held in March.

According to Volunteering Australia,  this week is Australia’s largest celebration of volunteers and volunteerism with over 6 million (ABS 2010) people volunteering annually in Australia which represents 36 per cent of the adult population.

National Volunteer Week is an opportunity to say thank you to all our volunteers acrosss the nation and you are invited to get involved!  Learn more about National Volunteer Week here. 

National volunteer week presents a perfect opportunity for GORCC to say a big thank you to all the individuals who are making a difference to our environment!

Groups operating along our coastline work tirelessly to protect the coast and participate  in a range of activities including:

  • Weeding
  • Revegetation
  • Developing facilities such as walking tracks
  • Preventing erosion
  • Participating in informative walks,
  • Monitoring native birds and animals
  • Attending meeting and social events.

These groups are always looking for more helping hands – so if you have a little time to spare, get in touch with a group in your area.  Learn more about coastal volunteering in our region and view a directory of local groups here.

National Volunteer Week will finish on Sunday May 19.

More information:

Lend a hand! Joint effort at Anglesea

View over Anglesea, including the site where conservation works are set to take place this Friday.

This Friday an army of volunteers will descend on the coast at Anglesea, planting precious Moonah trees and forming a human chain gang as they transport mulch up the dunes.

The project, which is part of an annual conservation day organised by the Torquay Landcare Group,  is a joint effort between a number of groups and organisations, demonstrating the difference that can be made through coordinated  action. Torquay Landcare will be joined by the Anglesea, Aireys Inlet Society for the Protection of Flora and Fauna (ANGAIR), the Great Ocean Road Coast Committee (GORCC) and others while Quiksilver is generously providing funding support and around 20 staff volunteers.

Quiksilver gives  staff 2 volunteer leave days each year where staff are encouraged to get out of the office and do something positive for the community. The revegetation day is on the Quiksilver Foundation Event Calender every year.  The organisation has been working with these groups now for over 6 years and at the Anglesea site for 3 consecutive years.

Coastal Moonah Woodland is listed as a threatened community under the Flora Fauna Guarantee Act 1988 and the group aims to rehabilitate the area in an effort to restore it to its former glory.

Anyone can get involved – so if you love the coast and want to roll up your sleeves (plus have a great day out!) feel free to come along and join in.  The day starts at 9am (meet at the foot of the stairs at the Surf Beach dunes – opposite Red Till)  and lunch is provided at the Anglesea Surf Lifesaving Club at 1pm.   For more information contact Rhonda from Torquay Landcare on 0428 374 610.

If you can’t make it tomorrow, then there’s always next year! The annual event is set to occur on Spring Creek in 2013, so stay tuned!

To learn more about coastal volunteering in our region, visit our webpage here.

Top Tips to Care for the Coast

Here are a few simple tips that will help you to protect our beautiful coast and ensure everyone can continue to enjoy it.

4 tips to look after the environment

  1. Understand boating practices (dispose of waste correctly including sewerage).
  2. Minimize the amount of rubbished generated by reusing bags and using recyclable materials.
  3. Use environmentally friendly cleaning products
  4. Become a volunteer. Get in touch with one of these coastal environmental volunteer groups to get involved.
Dogs are only allowed off their leash in certain areas

4 tips to look after wildlife

  1. When boating, whales, dolphins and seals stay at least 100m away – the sea is their home.
  2. Rock pools are homes to plants, so return overturned rocks to their original position and don’t disrupt the habitats of marine life.
  3. Ensure dogs are on leashes on the beach and avoid dog prohibited areas. This will ensure wildlife, such as the Hooded Plover – an endangered little Aussie bird battling to survive, are protected.
  4. If you see an injured animal the best thing you can do is call the right people immediately. If they are alive call DSE on 136 186; they have a customer service center which will direct you to the closest local animal shelter or refuge.
    – for more information on what to do with sick or injured animals click here.
Stay out of the dunes and keep your dog on a leash and you will be helping to protect nesting birds like the endangered Hooded Plover. Source: Dean Ingwersen

3 tips to look after plant-life

  1. Keep on designated pathways when walking to and from the beach to protect the vegetation.
  2. Take care to avoid sand dunes as they are fragile ecosystems which are home to precious native vegetation and many  habitats.
  3. Be sure to look out for noxious weeds – they start off in your garden and from there they invade the coast! For more information on noxious weeds click here.
Signs have been put up around the Surf Coast to ensure visitors stay off the dunes in order to protect plant-life and habitats

Inspiration for this post came from ’50 Ways to Care for our Coast’, a publication by Coast Care.

For more tips on how to protect our coast click here.

Related Blog Posts:

Don’t be a butt with your cigarette!
Who let the cats out:
Beachgoers and dunes at risk: 


Precious babies on our beaches

Beachgoers and dunes at risk

It might seem like fun but playing in sand dunes can not only destroy these areas but can be dangerous.

Coastal conservationists are sending out the message- stay safe and keep out of the dunes!

Great Ocean Road Coast Committee (GORCC) Coastal Projects Manager, Mike Bodsworth said running and jumping on dunes could be great fun but caused serious damage to the vegetation which holds the dunes together.

It might look like fun, but playing on the dunes is prohibited to preserve native vegetation along the Surf Coast.

Have you noticed anyone entering the dunes in your area?

“Dunes that are stripped of native vegetation commonly develop ‘blow-outs’, or large gullies of wind-blown sand.“Over time these gullies become larger and are extremely difficult to rehabilitate,” said Mr. Bodsworth.

Torquay Coast Action (TCA) is a local group dedicated towards shaping, restoring and maintaining the environmental integrity of coastal dunes.

TCA President Glenda Shomaly, said the fragile dunes, desperately needed to be looked after, and that plants were vital to the future of the dunes.

“It doesn’t take much to loosen the vegetation holding the dune together and kill the roots causing erosion and ‘blow-outs’,” she said.

Mr. Bodsworth said playing in the dunes could not only threaten the natural environment but there were hidden dangers for beachgoers as well.

It’s common for objects like sharp sticks, stones, wire and glass to lurk amongst soft dune sand and we are concerned for the safety of people playing in the dunes.

“It’s common for objects like sharp sticks, stones, wire and glass to lurk amongst soft dune sand and we are concerned for the safety of people playing in the dunes,” said Mr. Bodsworth.

Have you noticed any dunes which are developing gullies or blowouts?

Ensuring kids utilise the designated areas such as playgrounds and reserves on the foreshore will prevent further damage to the fragile coastal dunes. Click here for location maps of playgrounds and reserves on the Surf Coast.

Surf Coast Shire local laws prohibit access to dunes unless on designated pathways, the laws apply to all fenced and unfenced sand dune areas.

Where an area is unfenced, the ban applies to the entire sand dune starting from the bottom part closest to the sea.

The vegetation on the dunes holds them together when this vegetation is destroyed the dunes begin to recede.

“You can help to protect our dunes and stay safe by staying to designated paths and tracks, and staying off the dunes,” said Mr. Bodsworth.

For more information about protecting the dunes and our coastal environment visit the GORCC website

TCA conduct regular working bees, for more information or to volunteer contact Glenda Shomaly on 5261 6266 or click here to visit the GORCC volunteers page on our website.

This column appeared in the Surf Coast Times fortnightly Greent the Coast Column.

Your input into the management of the coast is much appreciated and we’d love to hear from you.

Fighting Furry Ferals

Rabbits in the region are on the rise as the problematic pests gorge themselves on an abundance of lush feed following a wet summer.

Caleb Hurrell, Pest Management Officer from the Department of Primary Industries (DPI) says rabbits cause a range of impacts on the wider landscape.

“Impacts include overgrazing of native vegetation, displacement and direct competition with native fauna, soil erosion and reduced water quality.

“As little as 1 active warren entrance per hectare can prevent the regeneration of threatened native vegetation and in favourable conditions two rabbits can breed up to over 180 rabbits in 18 months,” he said.

The Torquay Landcare Group and the Surf Coast & Inland Plains Landcare Network are working to eradicate rabbits in Freshwater Creek, Moriac and Bellbrae.

Andy Smith, a local land owner and a member of the Torquay Landcare Group says controlling the pest is a huge challenge.

“It is a continuous effort to control the rabbit population and stop them exploding.

“We poison the rabbits over a week, and before and after poisoning we work to clean up areas that harbor rabbits such as warrens and wood piles,” said Mr. Smith.

The Great Ocean Road Coast Committee also runs an annual control program, focussing on rabbits residing in the dunes from Whites Beach to Point Impossible.

“The rabbits threaten important native plant species, reduce cover and destabilise the dunes,” said the Committee’s Acting Coastal Reserves Manager Mike Bodsworth.

Mr. Bodsworth said Pindone, the poison used in control programs, is of low toxicity to dogs.

“Routine notices are placed on sites where baiting has occurred and the poison used is not attractive to dogs,” said Mr Bodsworth.

How should people help?

Rabbits are classified as a declared established pest under the Catchment and Land Protection Act 1994. All landowners have a legal obligation to control rabbits on their property in Victoria.

The DPI says effective rabbit control relies on a coordinated effort involving all landholders in a geographic region.

“Combining a range of differing rabbit control techniques including warren ripping, fumigation, harbour removal is the most effective way to control rabbits,” said Mr. Hurrell.

Mr. Smith says rabbit control is a difficult process that needs to be well planned.

“A poorly thought out poisoning or ripping program can be an expensive waste of time.  The timing and selection of methods needs to be well thought out and coordinated with experts and neighbours,” he said.

Where can I find more information?

  • Call the DPI Customer Service Centre on 136 186 or visit
  • Contact the Torquay Landcare Group on (03) 5266 1087 to get involved.
  • For more information on the Great Ocean Road Coast Committee’s rabbit control program call (03) 5220 5055.

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”.

Connections make light work of coastal erosion

As a small group comprising only five to six volunteers at the time, Anglesea Coast Action was pondering the problem of how to find the resources needed to control erosion in a popular coastal reserve.

The group had developed a solution that involved lining a stormwater drainage channel with rock, which sounded simple enough. Implementing that solution would, however, take at least a year of monthly working bees due to the small number of hands available to do the work.

Through Coast Action/Coastcare, the group established a connection with some young university students staying at a local camp who had expressed a desire to do some voluntary work in the area.

The students readily agreed to help Anglesea Coast Action and, within one hour, the task was finished (about 40-metres of rock lining).

The benefits of the students’ involvement went way beyond providing the extra hands and muscle to get the job done.

A strong sense of camaraderie between the young students and the more mature volunteers contributed to an enjoyable experience for all concerned. The students seemed to gain a great deal of satisfaction in helping to look after the coast, which uplifted the spirits of the Coast Action members.

Anglesea Coast Action has since replanted the area with indigenous species, with the result attracting much positive feedback from the local community, including residents, visitors, volunteers and land managers.

This experience illustrates:

  • the benefits of partnerships, in terms of bringing others into projects to work together – many hands really do make light work
  • the importance of having an experienced and responsible group leader to organise and coordinate project activities
  • the need to plan ahead to ensure the activity is well organised and run on the day – the logistics of this project were important, particularly in relation to sourcing materials and equipment, and supervising volunteers, and
  • the positive outcomes achieved through good communication, including gaining the approval and support of relevant land manager/s.

Story provided by Carl Rayner, Anglesea Coast Action