Chain of Bays Chain of Bays
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Coastal and Marine Conservation Park

The co-development of a new Marine Park and a new Coastal Conservation Park in the Chain of Bays represents a prototype for a new kind of conservation reserve in South Australia, integrating both coastal and marine conservation, and protecting species such as the Australian Sea Lion and coastal raptors, the White Bellied Sea Eagle and Osprey, which inhabit the interface between land and sea.
This new type of conservation area will require new approaches to conservation.
Not only is it important to protect sensitive species and locations, but it is also important to cater for the recreational demand of visitors to this popular marine and coastal area. New approaches to coastal planning and development and living in the coastal zone have been developed through the State Government's Better Development Plan Project, to ensure that development in the coastal zone does not damage the coastal environment. A new approach to the development of Park Management Plans, involving the co-development of Plans for the Chain of Bays region, will be adopted. This approach will ensure that Park management, planning and infrastructure development is integrated across all of the Parks in the Chain of Bays.

Coastal Access

Access to the coast is an issue which requires careful planning and the Chain of Bays is no exception. We encourage visitors to make use of the formal access provided to the coast, by using existing formal tracks and boardwalks.
In some places, such as Surfers Beach at Sceale Bay, and The Granites and Hally's Beach at Corvisart Bay, improved access was desirable to reduce the environmental damage caused by uncontrolled access. Formal boardwalks have been established at these locations to provide safe, convenient, and sustainable access to popular swimming and surfing sites. Trampling of vegetation and destablilisation of dunes has occurred in many places along the coast where there is no formal access, but not all beaches require formal access, nor would it be desirable to provide formal access for every beach in the Chain of Bays. We support a coordinated infrastructure plan for the Chain of Bays Coastline, incorporating structured access, toilets, interpretive signage where appropriate, and the retention of some areas as "wild" places. This plan will be developed in a partnership between the State Department for Environment, Eyre Peninsula Natural Resource Management Board, the District Council of Streaky Bay, Indigenous traditional owners, and community stakeholders including the Friends of Sceale Bay.

In other places, numerous informal vehicular access tracks have been established, and rationalisation of these tracks is desirable to reduce the damage caused by erosion and vegetation trampling.

In the case of tourist roads, we have argued that careful consideration needs to be given to the impact of opening access to isolated areas where endangered species are present. We opposed the Cape Radstock tourist road proposal for this reason.

In other areas, it may be beneficial to provide formal vehicular access to discourage the use of other informal access points to the coast.

Event Management

In 2009, a tow-in surf competition was conducted in the Chain of Bays. Our group raised awareness about the potential impacts of jet-skis in marine environments known to support breeding sites for coastal raptors and marine mammals. Despite its remoteness, the surf-breaks of the Chain of Bays are becoming increasingly popular, and demand for events in the area will grow. How these events are managed, which locations are selected, where people stay, where people view and what methods of transport are used, are all critical issues and important questions to ask in the context of a marine and coastal environment that is home to endangered species and easily-damaged sites. Many of the impacts may remain long after an event is over. Some of these issues may be addressed in Marine and Conservation Park management plans, and we will continue to provide advocacy on behalf of the environment.

Management and Infrastructure

We have campaigned, and continue to campaign, for improved management and infrastructure for the Chain of Bays. The State Government has announced its commitment to re-establish a Park Ranger Office and Senior Ranger position based in Streaky Bay. Our group has campaigned long for this outcome, and we are delighted that Streaky Bay will once again have an active Ranger Office. With new and expanded Conservation Parks and a new large Marine Park in the region, it is essential that we have a resident Ranger.

We strongly support the involvement of Aboriginal people in the management of Parks in the Chain of Bays. We look forward to the day when Aboriginal Rangers are a part of the management team, and when Aboriginal people are involved in the restoration and rehabilitation of degraded areas, and when Aboriginal cultural knowledge and cultural history is accessible to visitors to the Chain of Bays.

We believe that increasing numbers of visitors will come to the Chain of Bays, and that in order to sustain the increased visitor pressure on some areas, infrastructure will need to be developed. In some areas, toilets are desperately required, interpretive signage is needed, fencing is required, and accommodation options are required. While providing improved access for some areas, it may be necessary to reduce access to other areas, to prevent disturbance of especially sensitive sites.
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