Pelican Island sand renourishment project a success
Monday 6 February, 2017
Sand renourishment and revegetation works undertaken in 2015 and 2016 to improve the habitat values for migratory birds on Pelican Island in the Gippsland Lakes is starting to pay dividends for the population of Fairy Tern and Little Terns.
Pelican Island had experienced a loss in low level beach areas over the past decade and the sand nourishment work completed in conjunction with Gippsland Ports and the revegetation works by Nungurner Landcare and Greening Australia has certainly increased the habitable areas of the island for the tern colonies.
Parks Victoria Project Coordinator Jethro Bangay recently accompanied Birdlife Australia and Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) Biodiversity experts to Pelican Island to monitor the progress of the migratory bird population.
“Our first trip certainly exceeded expectations when we found over 60 Fairy Terns with many breeding pairs, along with 40 Little Terns and breeding pairs”, said Mr Bangay.
“Then to our astonishment, on the second trip the group reported a massive spike in sightings with over 80 Fairy Terns and 110 Little Terns recorded.
“The birds were roosting where the sand nourishment and revegetation works had been undertaken, so you could imagine the excitement of our group seeing such a positive spike in population growth”, added Mr Bangay.
The Nungurner Landcare group is continuing photopoint monitoring of the revegetation and DELWP biodiversity staff will monitor bird numbers species and locations.
The Gippsland Lakes and its wetlands are recognised as a site of international significance and are an important destination for many threatened migratory water birds, as well as the native Black Swan and Australian Pelican.
This project is funded by the Victorian State Government to improve habitat values for migratory birds and mitigate erosion across a number of areas throughout the Gippsland Lakes.