Discovery Walks 2024

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Join the Friends of Casuarina Coastal Reserve Inc. on Sunday, 21 July 2024 (8-11 am) for a fun-filled morning to explore the beautiful Reserve. Six concurrent guided small group walks are on offer. Register for one of these special experiences. You will learn about the local flora and fauna, practice your art or photography and take in the breathtaking views of the coastline. The walks will be followed by light refreshments and a talk with Park Rangers and the Friends of Casuarina Coastal Reserve (10-11 am). It’s a great opportunity to get some fresh air, exercise, and learn something new about this amazing local wonder. Register for the activity of your choice through the ticketing options. All adult tickets are $7 to cover admin and refreshments (kids are free). 

For information on the walks and booking, please visit https://events.humanitix.com/discovery-walks-casuarina-coastal-reserve

Parks and Wildlife has called for submissions about whether the Reserve should become a National Park. 

The Friends of Casuarina Coastal Reserve welcome the proposal to convert the Reserve into a National Park. Currently, Parks and Wildlife is seeking submissions from the wider community.

The announcement said:

‘by bringing management of the Reserve and the new area of land under the Territory Parks and Wildlife Conservation Act, the land will be managed by Parks and Wildlife in perpetuity, with improved powers to manage the land for its conservation, cultural and recreational values’ (our emphasis). Now is a good time to propose changes to fulfil this charter. 

FCCR have discussed some ideas based on the current state of the Reserve and what we think is important to consider when establishing it as a National Park. We would like to share these with you and encourage you to make your own submission. Below are some ideas for you to consider in your submission and links to the background information. You can comment on just one topic or as many as you like. 

‘Have Your Say’ about Casuarina Coastal Reserve

Parks and Wildlife has called for submissions about changes to the Reserve. The Friends of Casuarina Coastal Reserve Inc. have some suggestions to consider in your comments.

Plants and animals, birds, insects and reptilesIt’s been decades since the area has been comprehensively surveyed, and a lot has changed in the local area. Surveys would discover what’s there and needs protection. Should this be done?  
Rangers  Current management prioritises maintenance of visitor facilities (toilets, BBQs etc). Do you agree this is most important? Are there enough rangers?
FireArson has devastated parts of the Reserve in recent years. What could be done to limit the damage and reduce the risks? (e.g. better control of grassy weeds, more surveillance, trained volunteer firefighters)
First Nations cultureCasuarina Coastal Reserve is important to Larrakia people, but there’s minimal presence at present. Do you have some changes to suggest?
WeedsWeeds dominate parts of the Reserve and new weeds are coming in. What should be done about this? (e.g. spraying, revegetation of disturbed areas, more use of volunteer labour)
Visitor facilitiesWhat do you use and enjoy? What would improve the Reserve?
RecreationHumans enjoy the Reserve in many ways. What activities are compatible with sustainable management of the Reserve’s natural values? Should there be any restrictions or exclusion zones for certain activities?
Sandy Creek, Rapid Creek and the marine environmentLittle is known about the water quality in Sandy Creek, should this be surveyed and monitored? Some of the best seagrass meadows in Darwin Harbour are offshore in the Reserve. How should they be protected for dugongs, turtles and other marine life? (e.g. limits on outboard motorboats and powered craft, controls on fishing)  
Migratory ShorebirdsThousands of endangered birds feed and roost in the Reserve. Are they adequately protected, and if not, what should change? (e.g. more ranger patrols, barriers at roosting sites, education for beach users, less dogs)
EducationWhat could be done to better inform and educate park users about the wildlife and the bush? (e.g. signs, wildlife encounters, guided walks, online resources)
Advice from the communityWould an Advisory Committee be a good way for ongoing community input to the management of the Reserve? Or have you got another idea?
DogsLots of dogs and their owners enjoy the Reserve What changes if any would you suggest to the management of dogs in the Reserve?

Background information is at https://haveyoursay.nt.gov.au/casuarina-coastal-reserve

Send your submission to: parkplanning@nt.gov.au by 22 April 2024.

Plans for a Golf Course at Lee Point

Morandini Investments, lessees of the 85-hectare block behind Club Tropical and the Lee Point Caravan Park plan to build a golf course on this vacant land. The Friends of Casuarina Coastal Reserve have written a submission for consideration by the proponents and the Development Consent Authority. You can read it here.

Fire and Weeds

Weeds, especially pasture escapees like Gamba and Mission Grass increase the risk that uncontrolled fires pose to Top End forests and woodland. Parks and Wildlife, the Gamba Army, Landcare Groups and Adopt a Spot volunteers are all working to reduce these weeds in Casuarina Coastal Reserve.

This recent research highlights the effects of not acting quickly and decisively to control weed infestations.

Our Story

Our Story

Just before sunset one August day twenty years ago about a hundred people, me and my family included, watched baby Flatback Turtles make their way into the shallows at Casuarina Coastal Reserve. The ranger said when we went to bed that night those tiny turtles would still be swimming out to sea. He said that if all went well in about twenty years those turtles would return to the very same beach to lay their eggs. This year could be that year.

Twenty years ago the beach where the turtles nested was fringed by tall Casuarinas. Those trees are gone now, victims of arson events. That part of Casuarina Coastal Reserve now has very little plant diversity and not much in the way of habitats for small mammals, reptiles, birds and insects. As a landcare volunteer I’ve helped restore native vegetation at a few sites in the Reserve, but I realised that landcare alone isn’t enough to protect the natural values of the place. I wondered if other people thought the Reserve was under threat.

In March 2022 six Darwin locals met to consider the state of Casuarina Coastal Reserve. The consensus was that it’s a special place but it’s on a trajectory downwards. I agreed to organise a meeting to find out if other people agreed and wanted to do something about it.

In May thirty-five people came together at Dripstone Picnic. The group included runners, birdwatchers, cyclists, picnickers, beach walkers, dog walkers, academics, botanists, landcarers and many more who know and love the Reserve. They shared what they value about the Reserve, what they believed the threats to be, their vision for the place and what actions should be taken to look after it. Many of those present were worried about the Reserve’s future.

Soon after that meeting a group of twelve began to meet regularly. They decided it was important to become a legal entity and in September the Friends of Casuarina Coastal Reserve was incorporated (FCCR). FCCR now has a committee of seven, has held a planning day, is building a social media presence, has met with government policy makers and written to NT Ministers about the Reserve’s management and its future.

FCCR is dedicated to recognising, protecting, enhancing and caring for the natural values of Casuarina Coastal Reserve. It is already taking action to change the future for this special and well-loved part of the Top End.

Deb Hall

NT PARKS MASTERPLAN 2022-52 What You Thought Consultation Summary

Friends of Casuarina Coastal Reserve is in tune with lots of the people who had a say about the NT Parks Masterplan. 39,597 people viewed the Facebook posts or the website; there were 426 email submissions and 171 people responded to the ‘have your say’ survey questions.

Here’re some highlights that relate to our much loved local Reserve:

‘People want their parks to stay, and they want the biodiversity and cultural values respected and protected (page 5).’

‘People want more parks, and…they wish to see the natural qualities of our parks and reserves preserved when considering development for tourism or recreational access (page 5).’

‘A strong preference was shown for new development to be balanced with looking after country, and for infrastructure to be kept simple and low key (page 6).’

‘Overwhelmingly, people stated that they believed that the parks estate should be expanded for the protection of biodiversity‘(page 7).

‘Very strong support was provided for Parks and Wildlife Rangers confining their management efforts to those areas that are managed for national park and reserve-related purposes where their focus should be on core functions such as the conservation of biodiversity‘ (page 7).

‘An overwhelming majority believe that the management of parks and reserves should be linked with health and wellbeing outcomes’ (page 8).

‘A very high level of support was displayed for the view that the park estate should be considered as the cornerstone of biodiversity conservation in the Northern Territory’ (page 9).

‘A frequently expressed view was that Territory parks should be leading protected area management and a role model for biodiversity conservation’ (page 9).

‘The majority of respondents highlighted that the balance between biodiversity conservation, recreation and tourism needs to strongly favour biodiversity and protection over development’ (page 9).

‘Respondents expect that the majority of Parks and Wildlife resources should be allocated to protecting natural values‘ (page 9).

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