The full version of the Pitt Water Nature Reserve Management Plan 2013 is available for download as a PDF
The Pitt Water Nature Reserve (the ‘reserve’) is located in south-eastern
Tasmania and covers approximately 826.3 hectares. It is managed by the
Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service (PWS). Most of the reserve lies within the
Pitt Water-Orielton Lagoon Ramsar Site (the ‘Ramsar site’). The site was included
on the list of Wetlands of International Importance under the Ramsar convention on wetlands on 16 November 1982.
Pitt Water Nature Reserve
provides habitat for migratory and resident birds, is an important estuarine
ecosystem and an essential nursery for marine life. The reserve provides
habitat for a number of threatened birds, animals and plants, including some
unusual and unique species.
The reserve forms part of the
Pitt Water-Orielton Lagoon Ramsar Site, one of ten Ramsar sites (wetlands of
international importance) in Tasmania. It is an extensive and diverse wetland
and is the only Ramsar site in Tasmania located in an urban area.
The reserve is part of the major
summer feeding grounds for migratory shorebirds in Tasmania and the most
southern in Australia.
The reserve supports significant
populations of migratory birds including eastern curlew, bar-tailed godwit,
common greenshank, curlew sandpiper and red-necked stint. Some species fly to
the site from as far away as the Arctic tundra. Twenty six bird species that
occur in and around the reserve are listed on the Japan–Australia Migratory
Bird Agreement (JAMBA). Twenty bird species are listed on both the China–Australia
Migratory Bird Agreement (CAMBA) and the Republic of Korea–Australia Migratory
Bird Agreement (ROKAMBA). See Appendix 5 for the species list. The importance
of Orielton Lagoon as a shorebird feeding area and resting site has also been
recognised through listing on the East Asian – Australasian Flyway Reserve
Network that links some of the important wetlands along this flyway.
The reserve also
provides year-round habitat for many Tasmanian resident shorebirds. The
foreshore and islands are important feeding and breeding sites for pied
oystercatchers and many seabirds, including terns and gulls. It is one of the
only areas in Tasmania where great crested grebe are regularly seen.
The reserve supports
some of the most significant samphire vegetation in Tasmania and provides habitat
for other saltmarsh species. Seagrasses are another important vegetation type
that is protected within the reserve. The reserve is home to at least seven threatened flora species, such as
lemon beautyheads (Calocephalus citreus)
and yellow sea-lavender (Limonium
australe var. australe).
Eight threatened fauna species
have also been recorded, including the threatened live-bearing seastar (Parvulastra vivipara), white-bellied
sea-eagle (Haliaeetus leucogaster)
and eastern curlew (Numenius
madagascariensis). The reserve is also one of the only places where the
rare chequered blue butterfly (Theclinesthes serpentata lavara) can
The Barilla Bay and upper Pitt
Water and Orielton Lagoon sections of the reserve are under increasing pressure
from adjacent land uses, particularly urban and industrial development.
Unauthorised use of the reserve, pollution and the encroachment of neighbours
threaten the integrity of the reserve’s values. A number of strategies are
proposed in this plan to reduce these threats.
Management prescriptions, strategies and actions
This plan is aimed
at ensuring the long term viability of the values for which Pitt Water Nature
Reserve was established to protect. The plan outlines the legislative
management objectives for nature reserves, as well as reserve-specific
objectives, prescriptions, strategies and actions.
There are a number
of key threatening processes that have or have the potential to detrimentally
affect the values of the reserve. Key management initiatives in this plan
include directions to:
- improve water quality, particularly in
Orielton Lagoon through better stormwater management;
- ensure the continuation of important
weed removal activities, including Weeds of National Significance;
- manage access to the reserve to reduce disturbance
to birds as well as lessen other potential threats, such as pollution. The
most noteworthy access strategies are the seasonal restriction of access
to Woody Island to minimise the disturbance of sea-eagles during the
breeding season and prohibition on use of motorised vessels (when under
- provide guidance for the formalisation
of a pre-existing occupation of the reserve to improve environmental
- improve liaison with local municipal
councils, landowners and interested groups or community members to
minimise threats and assist with the implementation of management actions
recommended for adjacent land. This is important because many threats to
the reserve originate beyond its boundaries. The plan also outlines
opportunities for improving community engagement and understanding about
the threats to the values of the reserve.