CONFUSION surrounds plans to erect fencing to protect the highly endangered hooded plovers in the Sussex Inlet area, with several sites earmarked.
One of the aims of a community meeting on Monday, March 11 is to clarify the situation.
The Cudmirrah Berrara Swanhaven Progress Association will host the meeting and has invited representatives from Shoalhaven City Council and the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) to attend.
Association chairperson David Tarbert said the meeting was important and urged all members of the community to attend.
Mr Tarbert said the community wanted to be presented with all the facts and fully agreed that the hooded plover needed to be protected.
However, they did not want to see a rumoured 60-metre by 20-metre fence erected on a beach in the north Cudmirrah area.
“That is the size of a house block,” he said.
NPWS’s Shorebird Recovery Coordinator for the South Coast Jodie Dunn, who will attend the meeting, wants to ease people’s fears about plans to protect the highly endangered hooded plover.
“Our motto is sharing the shoreline,” she said.
Ms Dunn said all the service wanted to do was protect the threatened shorebirds’ nesting area and give the birds some peace to sit on their eggs and tend to their chicks.
She said the birds only needed a small part of the beach.
Ms Dunn said the service wanted to work with the community and at the meeting she would talk about what the shorebird recovery team had planned for the northern Cudmirrah area.
No decision on a set design has been made for the fencing and once again Ms Dunn said before the final decision was made the community would be consulted.
She said there were a number of fencing options the service would like to trial for protecting the shorebird nesting areas.
The main aim was to make their fencing sturdier, easing the workload for local volunteers and reducing the likelihood of damaged fencing on the beach while also protecting nests and chicks from foxes and dogs.
Ms Dunn said the fences had been used successfully in Victoria and northern NSW.
At north Cudmirrah she had watched birds and chicks go from their safely fenced zone down to the shoreline and feed, but head straight back to the safe areas when they felt threatened by beachgoers or by people walking dogs.
“These fenced areas are important as a refuge for the birds, particularly the vulnerable flightless chicks,” she said.
She said she was always happy to talk to the public about the shorebird recovery program and could be contacted on 4454 9500.
The meeting will be held in the community hall on the corner of Collier Drive and First Avenue, Cudmirrah.