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Pitt Water Nature Reserve Management Plan 2013

The full version of the Pitt Water Nature Reserve Management Plan 2013 is available for download as a PDF [2.9 MB].

Summary

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 be found.

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 power);
  • provide guidance for the formalisation of a pre-existing occupation of the reserve to improve environmental outcomes; and
  • 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.