As migratory shorebirds make their way south towards our shores, a new group has been formed to co-ordinate shorebird management across the Northern Rivers Region.

National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) Pest Management Officer Lisa Wellman said that the group hopes to improve shorebird management by sharing resources and ideas and developing effective regional strategies.

“Both migratory and resident shorebirds are under pressure right across the region as the population increases. Predation by animals such as foxes also places them at risk,” she said.

“While national and international agreements to protect shorebirds are important, local efforts to protect them are also essential.

“Shorebirds have three basic habitat requirements: roosting, foraging and nesting areas. Avoiding disturbance of these areas is crucial for their survival.

“The population of shorebirds in NSW is estimated at 23,200. Important coastal sites in this region include Flat Rock and South Ballina Beach near the Richmond River estuary and Woody Head and other beaches adjacent to the Clarence River estuary.

“The new regional shorebird group includes representatives from State and local government, community groups and interested individuals.’

“Our aim is to work together to raise awareness of shorebirds and improve the effectiveness of our management strategies through greater co-ordination.

“The group’s formation is timely as we anticipate the arrival of migratory shorebirds such as little terns on our beaches in spring.

“Migratory shorebirds make a huge journey by a route called the East Asian-Australasian Flyway. This is one of the world’s great flyways, stretching from Russia to Australia. The flyway passes through 22 countries with 55 migratory species using it.

“The Pied Oystercatchers at Belongil Beach, near Byron Bay, have also now started breeding and beach users are asked to leave them undisturbed at this important period.”