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Devilbend on-water access

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Following community consultation, Parks Victoria will allow non-powered watercraft, such as kayaks and canoes, to use a section of Devilbend Reservoir for recreation from Saturday 2 December 2017.

Background

Parks Victoria recognises boating, such as canoeing and kayaking, as popular activities for visitors to enjoy parks and their natural settings. In keeping with the Healthy Parks Healthy People philosophy, providing opportunities such as these activities contributes to the physical, mental and social health benefits of people. At Devilbend Natural Features Reserve, canoing and kayaking can also provide access to deeper water for fishing, to improve the chances of catching trout species which have a preference for cooler, deeper water towards the centre of the reservoir, particularly in summer.

Devilbend Natural Features Reserve is of high conservation significance and the 243 hectare Devilbend Reservoir is recognised as an Important Bird Area (IBA). This means it is an area recognised by BirdLife International as being globally important for the conservation of bird populations, supporting over 1% of the global population of the Blue-billed Duck which is listed as threatened under the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988.

In accordance with the Devilbend Natural Features Reserve Management Plan, shore-based fishing is authorised in designated areas, while on-water recreation by non-powered watercraft could be considered within the designated Conservation and Recreation Zone only.  An amendment to the zoning in the management plan was required to allow non-powered watercraft access to a larger section of the reservoir than permitted by the existing zoning, to improve fishing and other recreational opportunities.

Community Engagement

During February and March 2017, park users, residents, stakeholders and the broader community were invited to have their say about how a plan for limited on-water access to the reservoir at Devilbend Natural Features Reserve would be implemented, including the area and types of watercraft permitted, as well as the location and type of launching facilities provided.

Parks Victoria received 96 submissions, which included comments, feedback, concerns and ideas. These were reviewed and considered during 2017.  81% of submissions were supportive of on-water access and Parks Victoria approved an amendment to the management plan to allow limited on-water access for non-powered watercraft.

Thank you to everyone who participated in the Community Engagement process.

Next Steps

Parks Victoria will:

  • Define the area permitted for on-water access and that excluded from on-water access with marker buoys and signage
  • Develop a “code of behaviour” for on-water users
  • Engage with key groups to address environmental concerns and determine the design and style of launching facilities
  • Seek funding to deliver the required facilities
  • Provide all-abilities access.

See the Community Engagement Update for further details, including a map showing the on-water access area and launch sites.

Community Engagement Update (PDF 650kB)
Community Engagement Update (Accessible version MSWord 740kB)

The Discussion Paper and other background documents remain available below.

Discussion Paper including map with proposed changes (PDF 1.5MB)
Discussion Paper including map with proposed changes (Accessible version MSWord 3.4MB)

Blue Billed Duck Flight Initiation Distance Report (PDF 4.6MB)
Blue Billed Duck Flight Initiation Distance Report (Accessible version MSWord 500kB)

Devilbend Natural Features Reserve Management Plan (PDF 4.9MB)
Devilbend Natural Features Reserve Management Plan (Accessible version MSWord 605kB)