Oarsome news for paddlers at Devilbend Natural Features Reserve
Monday 4 December, 2017
Kayakers and paddlers are preparing to get their oars wet at Devilbend Natural Features Reserve for the very first-time after Parks Victoria announced kayaks and canoes will be allowed in a 47 Hectare section of the former reservoir from Saturday 2 December 2017.
Earlier this year Parks Victoria asked the community for feedback on a proposal to allow non-powered recreational boating within a restricted zone following research on the impacts of non-powered watercraft on Blue-billed Ducks and other waterbirds by the Arthur Rylah Institute for Environmental Research.
Following community feedback Parks Victoria has announced a section of the reservoir will be opened to non-powered recreation boats such as kayaks and canoes, with the remaining water body being a designated exclusion zone to provide a safe habitat for wildlife including Blue-billed ducks.
Devilbend Natural Features Reserve is recognised internationally for its importance in the conservation of bird populations. Over 44 species of birds call Devilbend Natural Features Reserve home including 8 species which are listed as threatened.
Water safety regulations for inland waterways will apply including the need to wear life jackets. Paddlers should check weather conditions and paddle safe information on Maritime Safety Victoria’s website before hitting the water.
Parks Victoria received 96 submissions with the majority of respondents supporting on-water access (81%) and opportunities for increased nature based recreation including fishing.
Devilbend is a popular fishing location for estuary perch and trout which are regularly stocked by Victorian Fisheries Authority.
Victorian Fisheries Authority has provided $116,000 from the Better Fishing Facilities Fund to invest in new facilities including an extension of the existing fishing platform. The Better Fishing Facilities Fund is part of the State Government’s $46 million Target One Million plan to get more Victorians fishing, more often.
Powered watercraft will not be permitted in the reserve due to their noise, speed and high impact on waterbirds and other environmental values.
Access for vehicles at the water’s edge to facilitate all abilities visitors will also be available with a permit from Parks Victoria.
For more information on kayak and canoe watercraft access call 13 1963.
The following quotes are attributable to Parks Victoria Area Chief Ranger Georgia Kerr:
“Research shows connecting with nature and getting active in the great outdoors contributes to improved physical, mental and social health in our community. Canoeing and kayaking are great ways for people to enjoy Devilbend Natural Features Reserve.”
“Experiencing the park from a canoe or kayak offers a different perspective and greater connection with the beauty of the park, enhance fishing opportunities and another way to exercise or get active in the park.”
“The public feedback during consultation earlier this year was really positive. We’ve listened to the feedback which has informed how we are allowing restricted non-powered recreational boating within the reserve.”
“It’s really important we ensure recreational boating activity at Devilbend Natural Features Reserve considers the impact on birdlife in the park. The recreational boating zone and exclusion zone will provide a balanced outcome for both the amazing birdlife and visitors in the park.”
Media enquiriesJarred Parsons
Parks Victoria media centre