• North Coast Environment Council

    Formed in 1976, we are the peak umbrella environment group in northern NSW. We cover the area from the Hunter to the Tweed and west to the New England Highway. We also actively support other campaigns further afield. We receive no government funding and have no paid staff or central office. Our members and office-bearers work around the region, often travelling large distances to assist others as we organise in our defence of the environment and the communities it sustains. We rely on donations and the efforts of our members and volunteers, to remain effective. If you would like to make a tax deductible donation to assist us with our work, we guarantee plenty of bang for your buck. Post us a message to this site and we will get back to you.
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World Car Rally Disturbs Muttonbirds

The official monitoring of the first night of the World Car Rally has detected significant disturbance to the Wedgetailed Shearwater colony on Muttonbird Island Nature Reserve according to Jim Morrison president of the North Coast Environment Council.

Environment groups were allowed to station an observer on the Island with the official monitoring team which undertook monitoring from 6 to 8pm.

At 8 pm the birds were significantly more disturbed than recorded on nights prior to the rally and the official observer expected the disturbance to continue until the rally was finished for the evening.

Factors which may have contributed to the disturbance included seven sets of temporary lights erected for the rally which were pointing partly or directly towards Muttonbird Island Mr Morrison said.

At two points on the circuit rally car headlights pointed directly at the Island.

Both forms of lighting were bright white lights known to have more effect on the birds than coloured lights.

The noise of the rally cars was clearly heard on the Island and may have also contributed to the enhanced disturbance of the birds.

Artificial noise and lights are identified in the Muttonbird Island Nature Reserve Plan of Management as two major threats to the birds.

Mr Morrison called for the remaining two super special stages of the rally at the Jetty to be brought forward to daylight hours.

If this cannot be achieved Mr Morrison said the seven sets of lights should be realigned away from the island and screens erected at two locations to prevent car headlights pointing directly at Muttonbird Island.

The Shearwater colony on Muttonbird Island is already severely depleted and has a low breeding rate. “Additional stress should not be placed on the colony for sake of a car rally,” Mr Morrison said.

 

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