Protection of the Hooded Plover along part of Victoria's iconic Great Ocean Road has received increased support through a $20,000 grant from the Australian Government’s 25th Anniversary Landcare Grants.
The Hooded Plover (Thinornis rubricollis) is a rare beach-nesting shorebird species that was listed in November 2014 as Vulnerable under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. It was included among an initial list of 10 birds identified for action in the Australian Government’s Threatened Species Strategy, which was released on 16 July 2015.
Funding for BirdLife Australia Ltd. from the Australian Government will help the Friends of the Hooded Plover Surf Coast and Otways implement their project, A Great Ocean Road Flagship – Protecting the Hooded Plover.
“Hooded Plovers face a variety of threats including human disturbance to nesting birds, eggs and chicks, beach litter, and predation by dogs, cats and foxes,” Minister for the Environment, Greg Hunt said.
Federal Member for Corangamite Sarah Henderson said this project will build community skills and capacity to monitor the breeding environment and success. “It will engage communities, tourists and schools in awareness-raising workshops,” Ms Henderson said.
A recent ‘all-schools event’ involved students from Torquay College, St Therese Catholic Primary School in Torquay and Bellbrae Primary School preparing information packs for summer visitors and spreading the message in wrist bands calling on 'hoodie helpers to the rescue' to promote responsible dog behaviour.
“This project is a great example of how all members of the community can contribute to ensuring Hooded Plovers and healthy coastal environments are preserved for future generations.”
“Work on the ground that will help the plover population grow includes training volunteers to monitor bird breeding, assessing weeds and predators, and protecting sites with signage and fencing,” Ms Henderson said.
Fact sheets will be produced for beach users with tips on how to tackle such threats as weeds, dogs off lead, litter and human disturbance.
Other species that will benefit from the work include the Pied Oystercatcher, Red-capped Plover, Red-necked Stints, Bar-tailed Godwits, the Sanderling, and Ruddy Turnstones.