DOLPHIN COVE PROGRAM
Question 1 - Introduction
Welcome to Dolphin Cove! We are here today to study human impacts on our coastal environments and to investigate how those impacts are currently being managed.
Here at Dolphin Cove, near Tura Beach NSW we will be studying a coastal reserve between the urban environment and the beach. Our role is to come up with a plan of management that details how the current facilities and management strategies can be improved to protect our precious coastal environment.
Question 2 – Sewerage treatment
Urban development produces sewerage which is definitely something that we don’t want on our beaches. The role of the pumping station is to send the untreated sewerage to the treatment works at Tura Beach stopping it from spoiling the beautiful Dolphin Cove environment.
Q What happens to the sewerage after it is treated? Is that a problem?
Question 3 – Asset Protection Zone and Reserve
The cleared area between the houses and the bush is for fire protection and is called an Asset Protection Zone or APZ. The reserve provides for drainage of stormwater, protection from erosion, public access, protection of flora and fauna and to limit the visual impact of the development.
Q. Does the vegetation look good to you?
Question 4 Why has the road been closed?
Vehicle access to this area would cause erosion of a fragile area. Drainage of water from the road would also cause erosion problems. Some motorists engage in anti-social behaviour like dumping rubbish and illegal camping. Having the area open to motorists also can increase the number of visitors. The road closure also protects the privacy and quiet surrounds enjoyed by the residents.
Q. This is a pedestrian access only area but people sometimes drive their vehicles here anyway. What do you think of this?
Questioni 5 – Why has the gully been left uncleared?
Keeping the gully vegetated protects the beach from damage by stormwater and erosion. The vegetation has habitat value, scenic value and also protects the land from wind erosion.
Q What could happen if all this vegetation was cleared?
This coastal environment has a range of plants that are tolerant of wind and salt. The coastal soils in this area are sandy and nutrient poor making it a harsh environment for plant growth
Dominant plant species in this location include – Swamp Paperbark (Melaleuca ericifolia), Coast Banksia (Banksia integrifolia), Tree Broom Heath (Monotoca elliptica), Saw Banksia (Banksia serrata) and Giant Honey Myrtle (Melaleuca armillaris) and Coast Wattle (Acacia sophorae). There are many other shrubs and herbs providing shelter and food to a range of animal species.
You will notice at this location the beautifully constructed walkways. They not only look good, they protect the plants and soil from damage from people walking to the beach. They are much safer than a narrow, rocky pathway down to the beach.
Q. Do the native plants make the site attractive?
Question 6 – The Lookout
This area is managed by the Bega Valley Shire Council. Some management strategies in place here include road closure, regeneration of vegetation, signs and improved access routes with constructed stairs and walkways.
Question 7 – Pool at the beach
Would I drink this water? No way! Stormwater from urban environments is likely to be contaminated by fertilisers, rubbish, pesticides, garden waste, pet faeces and other pollution and often contains dangerous microorganisms. Our drinking water is usually harvested from catchments where there is very little human activity.
Q What can you do at home to improve the quality of stormwater?
Question 8– An ex-car park
Here at the old car park you can see the damage that vehicles can cause. The sandy soil has been loosened and is easily eroded. Here you can also see how signs help manage the area by letting people know what they can and can’t do. Someone has vandalised this sign in an attempt to be funny. We are not amused.
Q What has happened since the old car park was closed?
Question 9 – The new car park.
Here at the new car park cars are on a stable sealed surface. They are also in open view of houses discouraging anti-social behaviour and thieves. Drainage from the car park is directed on to a rubble drain to prevent erosion. Signs tell people that they can’t go any further and the bollards (these poles sticking out of the ground) and the huge boulders further down stop them from just ignoring the signs.
Q. What do you think of the new car park? Could it be improved?
Question 10 – Why do the houses have flat roofs?
Question 11 – The reinforced creek bed
Stormwater rushing from sealed surfaces like roads and roofs would cut into this sandy area, so rocks and rock barriers have been used to slow the water down.
Q. Who pays for this sort of work?
Question 11 – The Sediment and Nutrient Trapping Dam
As mentioned previously stormwater from urban areas may be polluted and, when it rains heavily, moves very quickly carrying lots of nutrients and sediment with it. This dam has been built to slow water down so the sediment and nutrients drop out, leaving cleaner water be drained off in the pipes near the top. This works like an artificial wetland, simulating what nature does. Tortoises and frogs like places like these.
Q What would happen if the dam wasn’t here?
Question 11- The Lined channel
To stop erosion the channel leading from the dam has been lined with geotextiles. Note the dimples that help slow the water down and help trap sediment and nutrients.
Q. Why should people stay away from stormwater drains after heavy rain?
Question 12 – The cliffs
Lookout! The cliffs here are prone to slumping and mass movement. The crumbling materials are made up of clays and poorly consolidated sediments that are highly unstable and non-cohesive. The cliff top would represent a severe foundation hazard and it is not suitable for building on. In some places you can see hollowed out sections of rock which show honeycomb weathering.
Q. If global warming causes the sea to rise what will happen to the cliffs?
Question 13 – Dogs and Shorebirds
Often retired people or tourists ignore signs telling them not to take their dog into the National Park. They need to know that a rare bird, the Hooded Plover, nests on the beach here and their doggy might just help it become extinct.
Tourists, residents, fishermen, surfers, developers, National Parks, the Bega Valley Shire Council, Coastcare – all have a stake in how this place is managed.
Q. Can you find evidence of dogs here?
Question 14/15 – What do we value?
People love to live near the coast but unfortunately we can love the sensitive coastal environment to death. We should all be aware of what impacts our homes and lifestyles can have on the environment. If we are successful in managing the impact on coastal environments, our beautiful beaches and bushland will be sustainable and will be able to be enjoyed by many future generations to come.
Q. Are we looking after the environment in this location?
Well that concludes our little study of Dolphin Cove. There are lots of strategies in place to protect the coastal environment. What more could be done? As a planner for the local council we can come up with a management plan with some more strategies to make this Reserve even better. What facilities are missing? What strategies need to put in place? Who needs to be involved?
Q. What would you do to improve the management of the coastal environment in this location?
Bournda EEC – Dolphin Cove Program Aug 2011