Bird Sanctuary Advertised for Public Comment

Published on Monday, 21 March 2022 at 4:15:45 PM

A new bird sanctuary for Denmark will be advertised for public notice/comment following a decision at this month’s Ordinary Council Meeting, taking another step towards further protecting migratory shorebird habitat at Prawn Rock Channel.

Studies have shown the Prawn Rock Channel area is an important nesting and feeding ground for the birds which travel more than 12,000km every year to Denmark from the Arctic regions of Siberia.

The habitat is close to a popular dog exercise area which threatens to disturb nesting birds and has led to calls for intervention.

In 2014, Council approved a seasonal fence to discourage users from entering the area of the sand flats near the northern part of Prawn Rock Channel island where the migratory birds nest.

Since then, the Shire has been working with representative groups and community members to determine what the future of the Prawn Rock Channel and Ocean Beach recreation precinct might look like.

Council and Shire Officers believe the creation of a bird sanctuary in the area meets community expectations to prioritise the health and prosperity of Denmark’s natural environment as laid out in the Strategic Community Plan Denmark 2027 and the Shire of Denmark Sustainability Strategy.

Denmark Shire President Ceinwen Gearon said the creation of the bird sanctuary was delivering on community expectations that Council does what it can to protect natural habitat for wildlife and especially for vulnerable and endangered species.

“People come to visit and live in this community because of the stunning natural environment which we all cherish,” Cr Gearon said. “Our community regularly tells us that they want us to prioritise the protection of our natural environment and we hope this bird sanctuary will help us to achieve that goal.”

With that in mind, Cr Gearon acknowledged the bird sanctuary remains a divisive topic for the community.

“We hope the community feels we have done our best to listen and put the interests of the community and our treasured natural environment first for the benefit of future generations.”

The Shire is required to give a period of public notice (21 days) to communicate the proposed bird sanctuary site before Council meets again in May to formally vote on the establishment of a sanctuary following feedback from the public comment submission period.

Details about the gazetted area for the proposed bird sanctuary will be made available during the public notice period via the Your Denmark website.

Read the full public notice here.

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