Hunt­ing part of Lake Boort fu­ture

Duck hunt­ing on Lake Boort will con­tinue with the first de­tailed man­age­ment plan for the re­serve re­flect­ing that hunt­ing and the desire to pro­tect and pro­mote its nat­u­ral and cul­tural val­ues are not at odds.

Field and Game - - NEWS -

Duck hunt­ing has been per­mit­ted at Lake Boort for many years, and will con­tinue to be per­mit­ted dur­ing de­clared duck hunt­ing sea­sons under the new man­age­ment plan re­leased by Parks Vic­to­ria in part­ner­ship with Dja Dja Wur­rung Clans Abo­rig­i­nal Cor­po­ra­tion.

In sea­son, duck hunt­ing will not be re­stricted across the wet­land but camp­ing will be, with des­ig­nated ar­eas with fire­places es­tab­lished to pro­tect sen­si­tive ar­eas.

The in­tent of the plan is to pro­tect and en­hance the out­stand­ing nat­u­ral, cul­tural and recre­ational val­ues within the re­serve and it defines the ap­proach for man­ag­ing the cul­tural land­scape, ecosys­tems, fire, wa­ter, pest plants and an­i­mals, recre­ation and tourism.

The 502 ha Lake Boort Re­serve is a spe­cial place for the Dja Dja Wur­rung, and is be­lieved to hold the high­est den­sity of scarred trees in Aus­tralia, which will be a fo­cus of re­search, in­ter­pre­ta­tion and cul­tural tourism ex­pe­ri­ences.

The plan recog­nises the op­por­tu­nity to en­hance ex­ist­ing part­ner­ships with hunt­ing or­gan­i­sa­tions such as Field & Game Aus­tralia (FGA) and with other vol­un­teers to im­prove game habi­tat.

Lake Boort is be­ing re­stored as a tem­po­rary flood plain lake with the de­liv­ery of en­vi­ron­men­tal wa­ter­ing. Un­til 1997 the lake was main­tained as a per­ma­nent wa­ter body, and duck hunt­ing was pop­u­lar.

The change in the wa­ter regime and the mil­len­nium drought re­sulted in less duck hunt­ing over sev­eral sea­sons, but nat­u­ral flood­ing in 2011 re­sulted in good hunt­ing sea­sons in 2012, 2013, and 2017.

The sea­sonal wa­ter­ing plan pro­posed by the North Central Catch­ment Man­age­ment Au­thor­ity would pro­vide wa­ter to Lake Boort in spring about once ev­ery five years, de­pend­ing on the avail­abil­ity of wa­ter.

The wet­ting-dry­ing wa­ter regime will in­crease the pro­duc­tiv­ity of the wet­land and ben­e­fit game habi­tat but ac­cord­ing to the plan, it is un­likely the tim­ing of en­vi­ron­men­tal wa­ter­ing will re­sult in suf­fi­cient wa­ter dur­ing the duck hunt­ing sea­son to at­tract sig­nif­i­cant num­bers of water­birds, ex­cept in years where sig­nif­i­cant nat­u­ral flows oc­cur.

“It is there­fore likely that a good hunt­ing sea­son would be likely at Lake Boort once or twice dur­ing ev­ery four to six years,” the plan states.

The plan ac­knowl­edges that dur­ing wet­ter years, the open­ing week­end is likely to at­tract sig­nif­i­cant num­bers of hun­ters and will need to be man­aged to min­imise ad­verse im­pacts on cul­tural sites and nat­u­ral val­ues.

One of the stated goals is to raise aware­ness of the cul­tural val­ues:

“Work­ing in part­ner­ship with the Game Man­age­ment Au­thor­ity, Field & Game Aus­tralia and the Tra­di­tional Own­ers to com­mu­ni­cate the cul­tural heritage val­ues of Lake Boort (and other re­gional wet­lands) to duck hun­ters who hunt here, and to re­gional duck hunt­ing groups.”

This in­cludes pro­mot­ing a min­i­mal im­pact code and codes of be­hav­iour.

FGA made a for­mal sub­mis­sion on be­half of mem­bers fol­low­ing the re­lease of the ini­tial draft plan for Lake Boort.

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