Don’t dance on the dunes
BARWON Coast are calling on the community to do the right thing while enjoying Ocean Grove’s beautiful beaches by staying out of the dunes.
Maddie Glynn from Barwon Coast said there’s been an increase of people “playing and partying” in the sand dunes which is causing significant damage.
“This threat to our sand dunes was identified as a significant environmental issue by the local community in the 2018 Barwon Coast Coastal Management and Beach Usage Report,” Ms Glynn said.
“The majority of respondents said they were concerned over the sand dune degradation from children playing in and sliding down the dunes, partying in the dunes and dogs-off leash running through the dune.”
Unfortunately, despite targeted efforts by Barwon Coast, the behaviour is once again on the increase.
“Our sand dunes are already under natural pressures from the influences of the tides and weather. These pressures are compounded further through the inappropriate actions of some recreating in the dunes.
“If we continue to treat the dunes with disrespect, we stand to lose all the things we value from healthy dunes; diverse plant species, habitat for native species and protection from storm events.”
Barwon Coast has received multiple reports of people playing in the dunes and Ms Glynn said they’d like to remind the community “this is not acceptable”.
A spokesperson for the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) said the dunes are an “important natural buffer for coastal areas from the impacts of storms and waves”.
“They are also home to sensitive vegetation and vulnerable species, such as the Hooded Plover. We encourage locals and visitors to stay on established trails and access points to minimise impacts to the dunes and vegetation.”
Barwon Coast Committee of Management closely monitors ongoing erosion along the coastline, focusing on priority areas including Ocean Grove and Thirteenth Beach, in and around the estuary mouth and the Barwon Bluff.
Ocean Grove’s main beach has undergone a transformation following the completion of a new rock revetment and beach access ramp thanks to a $2.1 million investment from the Victorian government.
The rock revetment spans 76 metres and will help address coastal erosion which has impacted the foreshore area over the last 10 years; with a height of approximately five metres, the structure strengthens this section of coastline and safeguards it from further erosion and storm damage.
Ms Glynn said they’ll continue to work in partnership with DELWP, Bellarine Police, CFA, the City of Greater Geelong council and the local community to “change these inappropriate behaviors”.
“Collectively we are calling on all beach users that if you see something to please phone it in to Barwon Coast or the police. Penalties do apply if caught.
“We all have a role to play in protecting and appreciating this special place, and only together can we make a difference.”