Protective fencing has been installed next to Doug Grant Reserve and Apex Park in Altona to better shelter Hobsons Bay’s precious birdlife along the Laverton Creek Spit Conservation Zone.
The conservation zone at the mouth of Laverton Creek is one of the most significant areas in Port Phillip Bay for an array of bird species, including migratory shorebirds, some of which are critically endangered and are protected by the Federal Government’s Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1989.
Migratory birds visit Hobsons Bay each year between October and March from Siberia and Alaska. This year, 19 species of local and migratory birds have been spotted in Hobsons Bay.
The fencing either side of the shared trail, from the western boundary of Apex Park to the most western section of Doug Grant Reserve and, habitat fencing on the foreshore side of the shared trail at Doug Grant Reserve, provides a corridor for cyclists and pedestrians that limits unnecessary access and disturbance to the Laverton Creek Estuary and spit area.
When the area is disturbed by people or domestic animals, local and migratory birds are unable to feed and nest along the naturally formed wetlands and lagoons. Shorebirds commonly put on an extra 30-50 per cent of weight prior to migration and if they are unable to feed, their chance of making the long journey home is diminished.
As well as the fencing, two additional viewing areas and extra seating will be added along the shoreline for visitors to enjoy the scenic surrounds. Signs will also be installed next to the Laverton Conservation Spit encouraging kite surfers to rig in an area away from the conservation zone.
Council is working with Parks Victoria as part of the Coastal and Marine Management Plan project to further protect the conservation zone.
Council was formally appointed as the Committee of Management of the Spit in 2017. 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.
In November 2019, Council declared the Laverton Creek Spit Conservation Zone at Doug Grant Reserve in Altona a dog-free zone.
Dog walkers are encouraged to use the adjacent off-leash area at Doug Grant Reserve or the recently upgraded PA Burns Reserve which has formalised access to the beach at three locations and a dog wash down area.