International Bird Sanctuary plans progress

A PUBLIC consultation session on the direction of the Adelaide International Bird Sanctuary (AIBS) was held for local residents at Two Wells on March 17.

Every national park has a management plan, and open-house enquiries and consultations are helping to form the management plan for the AIBS.

AIBS Community Involvement and Planning Coordinator, Arkellah Irving, explained the significance of the first new national park for South Australia in 10 years.

It is the main place for 23 species of migratory birds, that come from many parts of the world, including Siberia and Alaska, spending their time here building enough resource and fat, to travel back and breed.

“They cross through a lot of countries that have very different issues than we do, they’ve got land reclamation issues, building right up to the edge of the coast; so the habitat for the birds where a lot of the Asian countries are is declining rapidly,” explained Arkellah.

“So globally there’s an effort to conserve these birds and because they spend six months here, this site is considered internationally significant, because some of the birds are endangered and they are losing their habitats along the way.

“When they come here, they’ve actually got quite a long stretch of coastline to be able to select their different feeding.

“One year you’ll have more birds down at St Kilda and another year you’ll have them up at Thompson Beach.”

Data is collected on endangered plants and animals, especially migrant shore birds; where they spend most of their time and where the plants actually exist.

From this data the Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources are able to identify the areas that need most protection.

“When it comes to townships like Parham and Thompson Beach, we’re not doing any National Park in the township, so that people can keep doing what they do as normal,” Arkellah said.

However they will go around a particular area and mark it part of the National Park, if it is of importance.

“So we’re just making sure people are given the opportunity to find out about it, what we’re doing,” she added.

Private land holders in the area earmarked for future inclusion in the park, or close proximity, were given an invitation to the consultation, and if contact hasn’t yet been made, they will be individually approached.

For those people who use these areas recreationally, for example crabbing, the consultation attempted to gather as much information from them as possible.

“We’re asking what people use the area for and then we’re zoning according to that, balanced with the biodiversity areas,” Arkellah said.

“So say for instance people were horse riding in critical habitat areas for migratory birds or for resident birds that lay their eggs on the beach, that’s obviously not
compatible.

“So in our mapping, the conversation is we would like that area left to the park and we would like to zone horse riding in a different area.

“If we get a big response from community members saying we hate this idea about proposed use of areas, we need to actually take that on board, so that’s what we’re doing here, balancing the needs of the people and the park.”

The AIBS committee members are working with the locals to try and build the tourism opportunities back into the local communities.

Instead of approaching a new tourism operator to run things they will look to the local economy.

The management plan is still another seven or eight months away from being finalised, and at the end of it, it will be more than two years of listening to people.

If you would like any information on the Adelaide International Bird Sanctuary, head to their website or facebook page or email DEWNR.AIBS@sa.gov.au.

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