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Southport Lagoon Draft Management Plan

29/07/2005

Judy Jackson, MHA
Minister for Parks and Heritage

The significant natural and cultural values of the Southport Lagoon Conservation Area will be better protected under new recreational vehicle management arrangements prescribed in a draft management plan.

Parks and Heritage Minister Judy Jackson said that the plan has been prepared in response to growing concerns from land managers, the community and recreational users about the increasing impacts of recreational vehicle use on the values of the conservation area.

The Parks and Wildlife Service is now seeking input from the public on the Draft Management Plan 2005 for three reserves in the far south of the State: the Southport Lagoon Conservation Area, George III Monument Historic Site and Ida Bay State Reserve, Ms Jackson said.

This plan is aimed at ensuring the long-term viability of the values for which the Southport Lagoon Conservation Area was reserved.

Southport Lagoon is the only relatively pristine estuary remaining in the Huon/Derwent region and there are significant flora, fauna, historic and recreational values.

The key management initiative proposed in the plan is the closure of the Leprena Track to all recreational vehicles accessing the southern part of the conservation area.

The Lagoon Track will be upgraded substantially and re-routed to provide a year-round four wheel drive track to Southport Lagoon.

Ms Jackson said the plan also proposes to establish boat launching and camping facilities at Southport Lagoon.

These changes are necessary to halt the unacceptable impacts from recreational vehicles including soil and peat erosion, significant vegetation loss and the threat of destruction of threatened plant species, the spread of weeds and damage to the dunes at the Spit, she said.

This damage has been increasing rapidly and private landholders adjacent to the reserve are also being impacted with some properties suffering substantial damage.

Another initiative is the establishment of a community based management committee to engage community users of the reserve and advise the Parks and Wildlife Service on the management programs and priorities.

Management committees such as this have worked well in other areas of the state such as the Arthur Pieman Conservation Area, where there are a broad range of users and diverse interests.

These initiatives have been proposed following consultation with user groups over a long period of time and a thorough examination of a range of options available for providing access to the reserve while also protecting sensitive areas.

The Southport Lagoon Conservation Area Draft Management Plan is available on the Parks and Wildlife Service website at www.parks.tas.gov.au/publications/tech/southport_lagoon/summary.html.

Photos of the swamp eyebright flower as well as damage caused by recreational vehicles are also available for use by the media.

This initiative is part of the State Government's commitment to progressing Tasmania Together Goal 21 Value, protect and conserve our natural and cultural heritage.