Habitat Conservation

  • Project typeOpen Space Upgrades

To better protect the precious birdlife along the Laverton Creek Spit Conservation Zone at Doug Grant Reserve in Altona, Council has declared it a dog free zone and will install fencing along the beach in the coming months, following community consultation with the Hobsons Bay Community. 

The Laverton Spit, for which Council is the Committee of Management, attracts extensive birdlife that gathers to feed and nest along the naturally formed wetlands and lagoons. 

Council recently endorsed a motion in the Chamber to prohibit dogs from entering the Laverton Creek Estuary and Spit area (the Spit) in the future for the purposes of conservation. An order under section 26 (2) (a) of the domestic Animals Action 1994 to prohibit dogs from entering the Laverton Creek Spit conservation zone will now be made.

Support was also given for the proposed fencing alignments for the dog off leash area and the dog prohibited conservation zone.

Doug-Grant-Reserve-Laverton-Creek-Spit.jpg

New zones for the Doug Grant Reserve - Laverton Creek Spit 

A special protected place

The Laverton Creek Estuary and spit area has naturally formed lagoons and wetlands that attract wading birds and waterfowl. The area holds some of the most important wildlife values in Hobsons Bay, with numerous migratory birds visiting from Siberia and Alaska each year between October and March. A number of the visiting species are listed as critically endangered and are protected by the Federal Government's Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1989.

In July 2017, Hobsons Bay City Council was formally appointed as the Committee of Management of the spit.

As the Committee of Management under the Crown Land Reserves Act, Council is required to manage, improve, maintain and control the land for the purposes for which is it reserved. 

Land management

The land will be managed by Council's Parks and Conservation Team. Council has spent the last few years advocating for the birdlife here through education and awareness walks onsite. Council has also spent time controlling habitat-altering weeds - African boxthorn, boneseed and sea spurge on and around the spit. These weed species are listed as noxious weeds and fall under the Catchment and Land Protection Act 1984.

Future use and access

The main issue identified relating to the management of the spit relates to use for recreation purposes, in particular dog walking and unrestricted access by kite surfers.

Access for kite surfers on the spit needs to be carefully managed. Apex Park is a good area for kite surfers to rig as it is away from the crowded Altona Beach areas and power lines along the Esplanade. Having access to an area at the end of the Spit is beneficial for kite surfers, however this and restricting access for dogs needs to be managed appropriately with fencing and signage.

Council will install protective fencing on the reserve side of the shared trail from the western boundary of Apex Park to the furthest western point of Doug Grant Reserve. Habitat fencing on the foreshore side of the trail will also be installed to further restrict dog walkers and their dogs having access to the shore.

Dog walkers can continue to enjoy the dog off lead zone at Doug Grant Reserve within the fenced area but the installation of the fencing will help demarcate this highly valued conservation zone. 

Visitors to the area will still have ample opportunity to enjoy the scenic surrounds with the installation of three seating and viewing areas along the reserve's shorelines. 

Creating space spaces for all

The following works are scheduled to be undertaken in the coming months:

  • protective fencing on the reserve side of the shared trail network, from the western boundary of Apex Park to the most western section of Doug Grant Reserve
  • habitat fencing to be installed on the foreshore side of the shared trail for the same length to restrict access into the water and onto the Spit. This fencing will include three seating and viewing areas so the public can still view the significant bird habitat area
  • compliance signage and key reserve entrance points and decals on the shared trail showing on and off lead zones
  • educational signage about the Spit to complement the signage along the shared trail

Order to prohibit dogs entering the conservation zone

The new dog exclusion zone will apply to the area shown on the map below.

Doug Grant Reserve Base Concept(PDF, 367KB)

Location

Queen Street, Altona 3018  View Map

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