Coastal team gears up for summer

The Great Ocean Road Coast Committee (GORCC) coastal reserves team is working to prepare for the busy peak summer season.

Several major projects have recently completed, while intensive maintenance is underway.  From re-gravelling and re-grading carparks to pruning and cleaning, the coast is almost ready for the annual influx of holiday makers and beachgoers.

Recent works at Elephant Walk in Torquay included extensive car park upgrades.

GORCC Coastal Reserves Manager Rod Goring said ongoing maintenance is an important component of GORCC’s work along the coast to ensure the foreshore areas are at a high standard.

“The coastal reserves team has been undertaking maintenance and upgrades in preparation for the busy Christmas and New Year period,” he said.

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Completion of upgrades at Voss’s carpark along the Surf Coast Walk has improved coastal users access and safety.

Recent work has included:

  • Voss Carpark pathway (Surf Coast Walk) upgrade.
  • Elephant Walk precinct works (playground and car park upgrades).
  • Whites Beach Toilet block completion.
  • Jan Juc Toilet Block completion.
  • New seating for Taylor Park, Torquay.
  • Re-gravelling tracks along Spring Creek.
  • Trimming and pruning trees along the Surf Coast Walk
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The new amenities block at Whites Beach.

What are some of your favourite summer, coastal activities? Let us know in the comments below.

Conservation plan released

GORCC’s 2015-2020 Native Vegetation and Weed Action Plan (NVWAP) has been released.

GORCC engaged locally based consultant Beacon Ecological to lead the revision of original 2009 NVWAP.  The updated 2015 NVWAP will guide GORCC’s on-ground conservation work over the next five years and aims to protect and enhance ecological values along the 37km of coast under GORCC’s care.

NVWAP

GORCC Environmental Projects Coordinator Alex MacDonald  said the updated plan sees a continued focus on the eradication of weeds which are identified as the key threat to coastal biodiversity.

“Weeds have been identified as the number one threat to GORCC coast management.

“It is a widespread issue which is difficult to combat without a sustained and coordinated effort,” she said.

GORCC Environmental Projects Coordinator Alex MacDonald with Beacon Ecological consultant Luke Hynes, who undertook the weed plan revision process.
GORCC Environmental Projects Coordinator Alex MacDonald with Beacon Ecological consultant Luke Hynes, who undertook the weed plan revision process.

The revision and development process included consultation with local environmental volunteer groups, land managers and other key stakeholders.

Ms. MacDonald said GORCC and environmental volunteers had made significant progress in combatting invasive weeds along the Surf Coast, but that weed eradication remained a big challenge.

“Invasive species can have devastating impacts on the biodiversity on GORCC managed land, which is why it is important to develop and implement an effective action plan for future management,” she said.

To view the plan, click here. Interested in learning more about environmental volunteering on the coast? Click here to find out how.

How do you plan to overcome the weeds in your backyard? Let us know in the comments below!

Eco burn for Jan Juc cliffs

Jan Juc Coast Action (JJCA) has partnered with the local CFA to conduct an ecological burn as part of a trial to investigate how important grasslands respond to different treatments.

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Torquay CFA volunteers performing controlled ecological burns at Jan Juc

A five year ecological burn plan has been developed between JJCA group and Torquay CFA in an effort to optimise the flora vegetation at the Jan Juc cliffs.

The conservation plan is designed to increase overall biodiversity in the area by allowing plants time to set seed before the second fire.

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Local CFA volunteer monitors the planned burn to ensure the fire remains under control.

Australian flora needs fire for plants to seed and regenerate evolving from thousands of years of controlled burns by Indigenous Australians.

JJCA Chairperson – Luke Hynes is hopeful the ecological burns will improve the coastal vegetation along the cliffs and was grateful for the local CFA support.

“Our main challenge organising the ecological burns was finding a day to complete the burn when the weather is appropriate.

“We rely on fantastic local CFA volunteers to undertake the burns and really appreciate the time they put in,” he said.

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Six CFA volunteers helped clear the tussock grasses to create space for other native species.

The fire creates space between native grasses which allows smaller, indigenous herbs and plants room to grow.

Torquay CFA Captain, Phil Campbell was pleased at the outcome of the ecological burn, and said that the day was well organised and uncomplicated.

“We were very lucky with the wind and weather conditions. It was a coincidence that the weather on the day was perfect for burning, which made it a lot easier for us to control,” he said.

Mr Hynes is eager to see the results from the initial burn and hopes more native species will grow in the area.

“The Jan Juc cliffs were revegetated over 10 years ago with positive results, so hopefully we will be able to see a larger variety of herbs and grasses regrow along the cliffs,” he said.

The JJCA group is particularly interested in whether the fire will increase populations of the native rare orchid, Swamp Diuris, in the area.

Funds has been provided by the Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne to collect and grow seeds of the rare orchid and the JJCA group hopes the ecological burn will improve the populace.

The JJCA group works to preserve and revegetate the Jan Juc coastline with Indigenous species and the removal of environmental weeds.

Ongoing environmental conservation works are being conducted in the are to help combat erosion, pest invasion and the provision of tracks and lookouts.

Check out the JJCA Facebook page to keep up to date with what’s happening along the cliffs.

Are you fire ready for this summer? Share your tips of how you keep your home safe in the comments below. 

Grab a grant and get involved!

Do you or your organisation want to contribute to caring for our precious coast? Apply for a Great Ocean Road Coast Committee (GORCC) Coastal Grant!

Applications are now open to open to projects that have a coastal focus and relate to the 37km of Crown Foreshore land managed by GORCC between Torquay and Lorne.

Each year GORCC provides $10,000 in grant funds towards approved environmental and community activities in coastal areas under our management.

Previous grant rounds have funded a diverse range of projects, from the procurement of tools and cigarette butt bins to weed control, revegetation, educational projects and coastal events.

Stuck for ideas on how you help protect our coast and enhance our coastal communities?

Previous grant rounds have funded a diverse range of projects, from the procurement of tools and cigarette butt bins to weed control, revegetation, educational projects and coastal events.

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Coastal locals enjoying all the fun at the 2013 Lorne Model Boat Regatta, a successful applicant of last year’s GORCC Coastal Grant Program. Photo: Warwick Tucker

 

Or, take some inspiration from one of last year’s successful applicants – the 2013 Lorne Model Boat Regatta.

We interviewed Penny Whitehead, Marketing Manager of the Lorne Model Boat Regatta to see why she applied for a GORCC Coastal Grant.

How much funding this this project receive from GORCC?
$1000

Why did you apply for a GORCC Coastal Grant?
The project profiles an iconic space and place on the Great Ocean Road foreshore so seems like a close fit.

What aspects of the event did the GORCC Coastal Grant fund?
Marketing and promotions of the event.

What was the purpose of this event?
To run a family friendly event allowing everyone to have fun sailing model boats together in an iconic part of Lorne.

Why do you believe it is important to hold events such as the Lorne Model Boat Regatta?
These events bring the community together, encourage children to get outside and interact with nature, allow adults to explore their inner-child and profile the great outdoors of Lorne!

Will you be applying for another GORCC Coastal Grant to fund the next event?
 Yes indeed!

Do you believe it is important for organisations such as GORCC to offer funding to environment and community projects? If so, Why?
Yes. Grants allow small community organisations like the Lorne Business and Tourism Association (LBTA) to run events that attract people, media and community conversation. Without the grants, the events just cannot exist.

 

Applications close Friday 24th October 2014. Up to $2500 per project is available. For more information, including the online application form, click here.

Volunteers make-over Fisherman’s Beach

Twenty-two volunteers from Lend Lease gave Torquay’s Fisherman’s Beach area a makeover this week, building a new pathway and pedestrian bridge, as well as planting 500 native plants in a rehabilitation area.

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Lend Lease volunteers helped makover Fisherman’s Beach

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The activities were led by the Great Ocean Road Coast Committee (GORCC) as part of a range of environmental education and volunteering opportunities GORCC provides to schools and groups.

The new pathway provides a link from the Surf Coast Walk to the viewing deck above the Fisherman’s Beach kiosk, which provides great coastal views, with easy access to the kiosk for refreshments. A number of new picnic tables will be installed on the deck in coming weeks.

Environmental weeds along the bank to the north of the deck have been cleared and replaced with native tubestock.

Lend Lease’s Tanya Moscicki said the activity formed part of Lend Lease’s community day, which was established in 1996 to provide Lend Lease people with the opportunity to give back to the communities in which they live and work.

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The volunteers planted 500 native plants in a rehabilitation area.

“The weather was amazing so it was great to get out and do something different in the sunshine – everyone enjoyed the day,” she said.

GORCC’s Coast Project Manager, Mike Bodsworth said partnering with volunteers enabled GORCC to achieve much more than would usually be possible.

“We estimate volunteers contribute around a quarter of a million dollars worth of work every year,  from hooded plover monitoring and research projects, to weed control, planting, litter removal and construction.”

“Lend Lease’s team of volunteers also included qualified tradespeople, so it was an ideal chance to build some visitor facilities that have been on the drawing board for a while,” he said.

For more information about how you can get involved in GORCC’s volunteer program,  watch the clip below or visit www.gorcc.com.au/volunteering

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Ford employees got their hands dirty last month as part of a GORCC run program, planting over 1000 coastal saltmarsh plants along the Anglesea River. Photo: Abhishek Sharma.Ford motors towards a healthier coast

Feista Fun on Bell Street

The second Bell Street Fiesta is set to explode with a fun filled day of events, activities, stalls and entertainment for all ages as part of the Drink Art Food Torquay (DAFT) Weekend.

 

The Bell Street Fiesta will be a fun filled day of activities and entertainment for all ages. Photo: http://daftorquay.com/about-the-fiesta/
The Bell Street Fiesta will be a fun filled day of activities and entertainment for all ages. Photo: http://daftorquay.com/about-the-fiesta/

The street will come alive on Saturday October 12th with 5 hours of non-stop entertainment for all the whole family. Activities on the day will include:

  •  Beer, wine and coffee appreciation tastings
  • Local produce tastings
  • Art Exhibitions
  • A Farmers Market
  • Fashion parades
  • A variety of engaging stalls
  • An array of kids activities

The Great Ocean Road Committee (GORCC) is hosting an interactive, environmental education stall at on the day.

Eco-Logic Education and Environmental Services have been comissioned by GORCC to set up the stand which will featuure a range of fun activities for all ages.

Activities include quizzes, ‘Spot the Hoodie games’, story book reading and plasticine fun.

All the fun will take place in Bell Street Torquay, commencing at 11am.

Click Here to check out the weekend program filled with events, activities and entertainment for all ages.

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Holiday fun on the coast for all

Scavenger study visits Surf Coast

A new study is investigating scavenger rates on beaches along the East Coast of Australia, with the most recent research undertaken on the Surf Coast and highlighting the predominance of foxes.

A fox snapped at Wye River in a study investigating scavenger rates along the Surf Coast.
A fox snapped at Wye River in a study investigating scavenger rates along the Surf Coast.

Deakin University School of Life and Environmental Sciences Senior Lecturer Dr Mike Weston said he did not know of any similar study in Victoria.

“The study aimed to measure the rates of scavenging on a variety of beaches at different latitudes and degrees of urbanisation and to examine groups of scavengers on these beaches,” he said.

Beach scavengers detected along the Surf Coast have included rats, foxes, dogs, silver and pacific gulls, magpies, and ravens and birds of prey.

Infrared cameras were used to detect the scavengers and will help to understand their reliance on dead animals as an energy source.

“We used four cameras per beach and used mullet as bait for the animals,” he said.

The study has covered 14 beaches between the Bass Coast and Johanna Beach.

“Locally, we have been working on Torquay Beach, Anglesea Beach, Lorne, Wye River and Apollo Bay,” said Dr. Weston.

Foxes were the most predominant scavengers sighted in the study.

Great Ocean Road Coast Committee (GORCC) Conservation Officer Georgie Beale said foxes are often found in coastal vegetation and fox dens are a common sight in the dunes.

“Foxes pose a threat to beach-nesting birds and other marine animals, with penguin carcasses and small marsupials commonly found around their dens and scattered along the dunes.”

“Fox control is an ongoing priority for GORCC and we have fumigated 40 fox dens this season from Torquay to Fairhaven,” she said.

Dr Weston said beaches are interesting ecosystems because ecological energy flows on and off them, meaning the food web is driven by things like fish washing ashore or food coming from the land.

“Animals which live on beaches rely on or are influenced by these energy flows,” he said.

A silver gull was captured on camera at Wye River.
A silver gull was captured on camera at Wye River.

Dr Weston said the final report is expected to be published a year from now, with further research to be conducted on beaches before the results are analysed.

The study is a collaboration between Griffith University, the University of the Sunshine Coast and the School of Life and Environmental Sciences, Deakin University.

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

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Sensors to stop stealthy predators

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 Predatory pests targeted in Juc

New flora discovered on coast

Renowned botanist Geoff Carr has identified indigenous plants near Anglesea and Aireys Inlet that have never before been documented in the area.

The plants were discovered as part of Mr Carr’s ongoing study of local flora in the area and included three new plant species which are thought to be rare and vulnerable.

Rough Cranes-bill  (Geranium sp.4)  found near Aireys Inlet

“The plants in Anglesea and Aireys Inlet are of international significance. This is due to the area’s unique location as the meeting point of East and West Victoria,” Mr.Carr said.

Mr Carr will present samples of the plants to the National Herbarium of Victoria where they will be included as part of flora notes on the area.

As part of his study, Mr Carr has been working with local environment groups such as the Anglesea, Aireys Inlet Society for the Protection of Flora and Fauna (ANGAIR) in order to monitor the progress of these plants and recently hosted a workshop with local environmental volunteers and flora enthusiasts.

Friends of Allen Noble Sanctuary coordinator Ellinor Campbell said plants discovered included Lemna trisulca, an ivy-leaf duck-weed which is thought to be rare and vulnerable and Austrostipa scabra subs falcata, a rough spear-grass which is known to Victoria but not recorded in the local area.

“Also discovered was Bulbine aff. Glauca, a bulbine lily which has not been documented at this stage but will probably one day be a species and Geranium sp. 4, a rough cranes-bill which has been seen in this area before but is more common in high rainfall areas,” she said.

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Tall spike sedge seen at Allen Noble Sanctuary

ANGAIR member Carl Rayner said while the aim of the workshop was to learn about indigenous flora, it also highlighted the importance of the work undertaken by amateur botanists who play an important role in the discovery of new plants.

“Amateur botanists may find new plants when they survey areas of bush or as they compile a plant list for an area.

“It is difficult for professional botanists to survey every last hectare of bush due to the lack of resources available to them,” he said.

“ANGAIR holds nature walks every month on the Surf Coast and occasionally we find new plants,” he said.

Tall spike sedge near Anglesea

For information on ANGAIR or the Friends of Allen Noble Sanctuary (affiliated with ANGAIR) contact Carl Rayner:  5263 2193 or 9331 2810 or Ellinor Campbell: 5289 6581 or 9583 2736.  More information about environmental volunteering can be found at http://www.gorcc.com.au

This story also featured in the Surf Coast Times Greening the Coast column.

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 lorne-pointCommunity vital to coast research
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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.