Programs and projects

A landscape image of the Great Ocean Road Coast, taken from the cliff looking our to the ocean.

Native Vegetation and Weed Action Plan

Our Conservation Team actively conducts weed preventative and control measures to help protect and enhance the natural beauty of the Great Ocean Road coast and parks.

Our Native Vegetation and Weed Action Plan is core to our ongoing work across the Crown land reserves we manage and guides the practical, on-ground management and helps to protect and enhance the ecological values of our coastal environment. We implement long-term strategies and regularly monitor sites in accordance with this plan.

Within the program our Native Vegetation and Weed Action Plan Transect Monitoring Method and Native Vegetation and Weed Action Plan Management Zone Recommendations outline key priority areas for tackling weeds and protecting native vegetation across the Great Ocean Road coast and parks, with annual reviews to ensure projects and conservation objectives remain on track.

Priority areas include:

  • Weed removal
  • Prevention of weed spread
  • Vegetation quality
  • Habitat areas for native fauna
  • Presence of pest animals including foxes and rabbits
  • Native wildlife protection.

*This document is currently being reviewed and a revised version is under development. The Conservation Team aims to start implementing the new document’s recommendations and objectives in late 2022.

Vegetation monitoring

Our Conservation Team regularly monitor the health and quality of native vegetation along the coast by making quarterly assessments in accordance with the Native Vegetation and Weed Action Plan.

To effectively monitor native vegetation, it is important to know the type of flora, its extent or presence and its overall condition. Our team monitors vegetation through a range of techniques, with the most common method utilised being a transect line.

A transect line is a string or rope that is placed on the ground. The number of organisms or plants it touches are observed and recorded at regular intervals along the transect. This provides a snapshot of the overall vegetation health in the area and an insight into the type of diversity present.

Motion sensor camera monitoring

Our team has been conducting wildlife monitoring using motion sensing cameras since 2015. These cameras detect the movement of animals and capture an image as they pass in front of the camera.

We use these cameras between Spring and Autumn to assess the presence of native and pest animals in the area. This helps to quantify the fauna in the area and allows us to implement pest reduction resources in a strategic way.

Previously, our main conservation efforts have focused on weed removal and pest eradication. The motion sensor camera monitoring allows a visual representation of the revegetation works the team has been undertaking.

Recently, we have used motion sensor cameras to monitor Hooded Plover nests for threats and disturbance. The imagery captured has helped us to better understand the difficulties the birds face daily.

Hooded Plover monitoring

Australia's Hooded Plover program is critical to the survival of the species, not only raising awareness of the plight of this vulnerable beach-nesting shorebird, but also connecting people with broader issues the ecosystems that sustain them are facing.

Our Conservation Team works alongside volunteers to monitor and track Hooded Plovers (aka ‘Hoodies’) as they breed, installing signs and fencing to protect them from threats.

Our team regularly patrol known breeding zones to ensure people obey signage, particularly in relation to dog laws.

Breeding season is generally between September and March each year – during this time we record data relating to the Hoodie nests, eggs, chicks and fledglings for BirdLife Australia.

To learn more about Hooded Plovers, please click the button below.

Point Impossible shorebird protection zone

With support from Surf Coast Shire Council, we recently established an on-lead dog zone at Point Impossible to protect endemic wildlife and their environments, including shorebirds, from the impacts of dogs off-lead.

Off-lead dogs are a major threat to shorebirds that have flown tens of thousands of kilometres to feed on our shores, and to threatened Hooded Plover chicks.

We ask that all dog owners keep their dogs on a lead between Thompsons Creek at Point Impossible and Point Impossible Carpark. We also ask horse riders, who are allowed to ride in this area with a permit, to stay well below the high tide mark.

Shorebird protection Q&A

Q: After 20 years of no controls why change now?

A: The aim of the protection zone is to continue to reduce the impact of dogs, horses and humans on shorebird habitat while educating the community on shorebird conservation. Increasing visitor numbers have created intense pressure on native animals and plants. We are actively managing this to improve the poor survival rates of shorebirds. We are seeking to strike a balance between visitor behaviour and conservation efforts.

Q: My dog is not aggressive why should I keep it on a lead?

A: Regardless of an individual dog's behaviour, their uncontrolled presence disturbs sensitive nesting areas. Approaching birds on nests can cause the nest to be abandoned in 50% of cases.

Q: What’s changed for horses?

A: The regulation is the same as before: horses are required to stay below the high-tide line. We are asking horse riders to avoid the breeding exclusion area.

Q: Where else can I take my dog?

A: Please check your local Shire Council’s website for a list of dog friendly beaches.