A new community education campaign kicks off with a field day this month to raise awareness about key threats to breeding shorebirds in the South Ballina to Evans Head area.

The education program is being funded by the Northern Rivers Catchment Management Authority (NRCMA) as part of the ‘Engaging NSW Communities in Shoreline Conservation’ project.

National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) Ranger Holly North said that this program would complement management actions being undertaken to protect breeding shorebirds.

“The education program targets the conservation of Pied Oystercatchers, Beach Stone-curlews and Little Terns which use coastal habitats to breed,” she said.

“The program addresses key threats to breeding shorebirds including foxes and intrusion from beach users. 

“Local residents in the South Ballina to Evans Head area as well as holiday visitors will be invited to community field days throughout the year based on different themes.

“The first field day on Friday 28 May will be held on a private property at Broadwater and will demonstrate best-practice fox control to protect breeding shorebirds.

“Fox control is a vital part of shorebird conservation because foxes take eggs and chicks from breeding shorebirds.

“Local landowners will also be invited to participate in a private property fox threat abatement program to protect breeding shorebirds. This program will complement the existing fox threat abatement program on public lands funded by NPWS and LPMA.

“Future field days will involve guided walks at South Ballina beach and Mobbs Bay with local experts. Participants will learn about shorebird breeding ecology, migratory shorebirds and sea turtles.”

The project delivers on regional priorities within the Northern Rivers Catchment Action Plan and is also part of the Australian Government’s Caring for our Country program.

Australian Seabird Rescue, National Parks and Wildlife Service, Northern Rivers Catchment Management Authority, Land and Property Management Authority, Livestock Pest and Health Authority (LPHA) and local councils are project partners in this venture.

For details contact Australian Seabird Rescue 66862852 or NPWS on 66270200.

PICTURE: Pied Oystercatcher chicks are banded as part of the South Ballina-Evans Head shorebird conservation program. PHOTO REID WATERS