New TCDC Dog Control Bylaws
There are changes to the previous dog control rules that ensure greater protection for Opoutere’s birdlife.
To reflect the significance of the Wharekawa Wildlife Refuge on the sand spit at the entrance to the Wharekawa Harbour dogs are now prohibited from this area year-round. For the rest of Opoutere beach dogs must be on leads year-round.
However, dogs can still be exercised and play off-lead in the forest which runs for many kilometres along the length of the beach and has well established trails. This area is described in the bylaw as “Opoutere bush north”.
Opoutere beach is now designated an area of Outstanding Natural Feature & Landscape under both the Waikato Regional Policy Statement and the Thames Coromandel District Plan, the whole of the Opoutere estuary and surrounding beach areas is of Ecological Significance. One of the reasons for these important designations is the need to recognise and protect Opoutere’s unique birdlife and its relatively undeveloped character. Dogs are the greatest threat that our endangered and threatened birdlife faces.
From the Biological Conservation Journal:
“The northern New Zealand dotterel Charadrius obscurus aquilonius is an endangered shorebird, and it is thought that human disturbance may decrease its nesting success. We made three types of approach to nests (walking, running or leading a dog).
Leading a dog caused the greatest disruption of incubation, while responses to walking and running approaches did not differ significantly. Distraction display intensity appeared to be unrelated to approach type. There was evidence of habituation to humans on busy beaches. Our results provide the first experimental evidence that shorebirds perceive dogs as posing more of a threat than humans on foot, and that their subsequent avoidance response is greater. We recommend that human activity, particularly the walking of dogs, should be limited near nesting sites.”
The new bylaw states:
Opoutere Beach – entire beach excluding southern end as indicated by signs – ON LEASH
Opoutere Beach south – Sandspit and Wharekawa Estuary and south end bush, south from the point at which the car park bridge crosses the stream and the southernmost beach access but excluding the loop track (loop track on leash) as indicated by signs – PROHIBITED
Opoutere bush north – the area north from the point at which the car park bridge crosses the stream and the southernmost beach access as indicated by signs – OFF LEASH
It’s important to note that these changes can also be seen in other Coromandel areas where birdlife needs protection from dogs.
TCDC have committed to patrolling the beach and enforcing these new bylaws, if you have any concerns or questions please follow this link to the TCDC website for all the bylaw details.
Weedbusting Working Bee
It’s time for another attack on the elaeagnus that is smothering the native forest below the Maungaruawahine summit.
Join us in the bush on the Sunday of Labour Weekend (23 October) between 1-4pm with a chainsaw or loppers, sturdy boots, gloves, safety glasses and earmuffs if you have them. It’s a challenging area so only the sure of foot should venture up there.
Park in the cemetery paddock next to 405 Opoutere Rd and follow the sound of chainsaws up into the forest, Chris Woudenberg will place pink cones in the bush to mark the trail but there will be plenty of us around to show you what to do and where to go.
Bring a couple of cold beverages for the chilly bin and we will celebrate the working bee with hot sausages and a drink afterwards.
Please call Chris with any questions, 021 418119.
See you there!
Wharekawa Catchment Care Group AGM 2016
Labour Weekend 2016
Saturday October 22nd 10.30 am
Opoutere Community Hall