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New dog walking restrictions will increase protection for threatened wildlife in Mornington Peninsula National Park

Tuesday 4 June, 2013

Parks Victoria says that following extensive public consultation, restrictions on dog walking will be extended within the Mornington Peninsula National Park to protect native wildlife, particularly the Hooded Plover. However, dogs on lead will be allowed in some areas of the park from sunrise to 9.00 am.

Parks Victoria District Manager Libby Jude says the new restrictions will see permanent bans on dog walking in additional areas of the park, many of which are important for Hooded Plover breeding and flocking.

"Under the new restrictions, around 14 km of coastline will still be available for dog walking, with an additional 7 km of Hooded Plover breeding habitat being protected from the threats posed by dogs."

Ms Jude says the decision to increase restrictions took into account the results of the strong community response following a broad consultation process undertaken late last year. An independent analysis of the submissions showed there is community support for banning dogs in the park as well as support for continued dog walking.

"Dog walking has been a long-standing activity within the park, and we feel that the new restrictions balance the community support for dog walking in the park with the need to conserve the Hooded Plover and other native fauna," Ms Jude said.

"The new restrictions will protect key threatened species habitat areas from threats posed by dogs. The park’s Hooded Plover breeding population is one of the highest across Victoria but has a consistently low comparable breeding success to other parts of the state."

The Hooded Plover is a threatened species in decline in Victoria and monitoring of breeding outcomes in the park over many years has demonstrated that where dogs are banned breeding success is significantly improved.

Ms Jude said the new restrictions come into force on 1 September this year, and Parks Victoria is asking dog walkers to observe the new prohibition areas as well as the parks’ dogs onlead rule where dog walking continues to be provided for.

"There are many alternative areas for dog walking on the Mornington Peninsula, including specific areas established by the Mornington Peninsula Shire where dogs are allowed to run free. On leash and leash free areas are provided on the bay beaches to accommodate the needs of those people who want to exercise dogs on beaches and in the water."

Ms Jude says the areas where new restrictions apply will be closely monitored and patrolled for compliance.

"Where access for dogs continues, protection measures will continue to be applied for Hooded Plovers when breeding activity occurs," Ms Jude said.

Background information

  1. The new restrictions
    The new restrictions apply in areas of the park that are adjacent to rural areas and/or areas with minimal public access to beaches. These areas include London Bridge to Sorrento Ocean Beach (excluding the Portsea Surf Beach Visitor Site), a section of Rye Ocean Beach, a section of St Andrews Beach, Gunnamatta and a section of the Flinders coastline.
  2. Where are dogs allowed?
    Detailed maps showing where dogs may continue to be walked are available here.

Dogs are only allowed on-lead at specified times and in specified areas of the Mornington Peninsula National Park. Off lead dog walking is not allowed in any area of the park at any time.

Specific areas for both on lead and leash free dog walking have been established by the Mornington Peninsula Shire on the bay beaches. Information about the location of these areas is available at www.mornpen.vic.gov.au  

A copy of the report prepared following community consultation in 2012 is available from the Plans and projects page of the Mornington Peninsula National Park - Dog walking review.

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