C O A STS
(c ont inued )
Monitoring resident shorebird populations
The Shorebird Monitoring project continued to go from strength to strength this year with 100 volunteers showing their dedication to the coastal environment by maintaining their twice-yearly counts of seven shorebird species.
At the beginning of 2012/13, the Beachwatch program was established in the Waratah-Wynyard and Circular Head municipal areas. The lessons learnt from the successful program launch in Devonport the year before, set the new volunteer groups in the west of the region off to a sound start. By the end of the year, a total of 172.5 standard Clean Up Australia Day litter bags had been removed from all of the Beachwatch beaches and the number of beaches included in the Beachwatch program rose to 23.
Data from these counts is collated by project coordinator and ornithologist, Hazel Britton, with support from Cradle Coast NRM and then shared with BirdLife Tasmania, BirdLife Australia and the Tasmanian Natural Values Atlas to inform conservation program development. Local education and conservation efforts were also undertaken by Cradle Coast NRM this year including the hosting of a Beach Nesting Bird identification workshop in Burnie and the design and installation of shorebird interpretive signage at key beach sites where human disturbance was most prevalent. The project is still in its infancy with regards to establishing trend data, but the information collected over three years is still providing interesting insights to the region’s resident shorebird populations. Red capped plovers have proven to be elusive to the monitoring volunteers with a total of 153 adults seen in the breeding season count. The number of chicks and juveniles recorded did more than double from the previous season, albeit from a low base of five in 2011/12 to 11 in 2012/13, potentially attributable to the lower incidence of king tides and storm surges this year. Full results of the monitoring in the past year and since the project began can be found on the Cradle Coast NRM website.
Beachwatch is based on the ‘adoption’ of a local beach by a community group, school or social club such as Rotary, Lions, surf clubs or Guides and the commitment to pick up rubbish from the beach twice a year in August/September and February/March. As rubbish was removed from the coastal environment, the groups kept a record of the type and quantity of the various man-made materials found. These data sheets were collated by Cradle Coast NRM and forwarded to Tangaroa Blue Ocean Society where they are used to assess trends in marine debris and formulate strategies for reducing waste at the source. Data is also provided to Clean Up Australia and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) marine debris research project. Schools and youth organisations involved in the project participated in supplementary education sessions on the coastal environment and related activities such as intertidal beach rambles; a study of the effects of plastics on marine/coastal animals; shorebirds; coastal reserves and weeds. Volunteer groups in the Wynyard area were particularly active in sea spurge removal, in addition to their litter clean-up tasks.
Cradle Coast NRM annual report 2012–2013
NRM Annual Report 2012 2013