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EcoUpdate: February 2022

Welcome to the first EcoUpdate for 2022 – this edition has a somewhat seaside flavour marking the end of a long and busy summer. From planning picnics to protest meetings, so many of our hardworking members have been challenged dealing with marine park submissions, heliport dilemmas and jet ski issues. And then came a beautiful video produced by local members for World Wetlands Day – reminding us why we do what we do!

There’s nothing more beautiful than a dip into nature: Watch the video here

Tell me what you think of EcoUpdate – just 3 questions in 30secs! Tell me now

I’d really appreciate your responses – it will help me plan content for future editions.

Ewa Meyer
Editor, EcoUpdate

If you missed previous editions of EcoUpdate, you can read them here. Please forward this one to your friends and don’t forget to sign up HERE.

Tomaree Headland – what’s at the end of the road?

An ongoing talking point in Port Stephens is the future of Tomaree Headland.

The NSW Government is keeping deliberations close to its chest, giving rise to all manner of speculation about how best to make use of such a spectacularly beautiful location. The Tomaree Headland and Heritage Group is seeking expressions of interest from a suitably qualified person or organisation to prepare a concept plan.

Read more

Noisy, dangerous and intrusive – should jet skis be banned in Port Stephens?

In and around Nelson Bay this summer, there seemed to be more personal watercraft on the water than ever before – but it was the behaviour of a minority of these that coincided with increasing numbers of complaints from visitors and residents alike.

Will Port Stephens become a magnet for the most reckless thrill seekers because of our absence of speed limits and enforcement shortfalls? We explore the options from different perspectives and make some recommendations on how the situation could, or should, be managed going forward.

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Are NSW Marine Sanctuaries under threat from new Draft Management Plan?

Late last year, the NSW Government released the NSW Mainland Marine Park Network – Draft Management Plan 2021 – 2031 (DMP) for public comment.  This was our opportunity to have a say on how our marine parks, including the Port Stephens – Great Lakes Marine Park, should be managed for the next 10 years. 

Unfortunately, it appears that the Government chose to ignore the advice of its own expert panels and marine scientists.

EcoNetwork President, Iain Watt, gives us a detailed briefing on what’s being planned and why we should not be happy about it.

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Anna Bay’s Helipad or Heliport – what’s the difference?

On Sunday 23 January, members of the Tomaree Ratepayers and Residents Association (TRRA) Committee attended a large public meeting next to the site of a proposed aircraft facility on Nelson Bay Road. Over 100 local citizens, including many with family members laid to rest at the adjacent Anna Bay cemetery, expressed their very strong objections to this proposal.

We look at the discrepancies in the development application and why this is the wrong location for several reasons.

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World Wetlands Day at Mambo-Wanda Wetlands

Mambo-Wanda Wetlands Conservation Group in Salamander Bay normally holds their annual Mambo Wetlands Walks on World Wetlands Day. However, like last year, due to covid caution, this year’s event happened online.

Watch the beautiful video produced by the wonderful Guy Innes and using the photographic talents of Mat Spillard and Leanne that showcase the plant and animal life in the Wetlands.

Read more and watch the video

Out and about in nature

Our local area is rich in wildlife, plant life and cultural history. It’s time to get outside and connect with the world around you. Keep your eyes open at this time of year for these interesting local fauna species.

Liesl Colyer from Living Strong Nature Journaling tells us about some of the wildlife they are seeing on their property in Bundabah such as the Yellow-tailed black cockatoo, the caterpillar of the Golden Notodontid moth and the Beautiful leaf moth.

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Local landcarers contributing to science

One of the largest reserves in Port Stephens, Stoney Ridge Reserve is located on the western side of the Tomaree Peninsula. It is home to the endangered Powerful Owl and is part of a corridor for koalas moving between Taylors Beach, Mambo Wetlands and Soldiers Point.

Landcare Soldiers Point – Salamander Bay group has been working in Stoney Ridge Reserve for many years and often spot echidnas. The time, location and behaviour of the echidna is recorded and this information is uploaded to a community science project.

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Get involved: The benefits of volunteering

Join Alison Rogers, EcoNetwork’s newest executive committee member and a keen volunteer for several affiliated groups, as she starts a new EcoUpdate series of short articles exploring the ways in which individuals and groups can ensure that motivation, collaboration and dealing with change make the volunteering journey enjoyable and worthwhile.

In this first chapter, Alison describes her own start in volunteering and how that has turned out for her. Find out why doing good can make you feel good!

Read more

Paradise Not Lost Yet!

Hawks Nest on the NSW mid-coast is under threat from plans by the Obeid family to develop a large area of beachside property into a massive hotel, apartment and retail precinct.

Many thanks to all our supporters who signed the ePetition asking the NSW Planning Minister to use his powers to direct the Mid Coast Council to revoke the recently rezoned land in Hawks Nest back to public recreation which it was prior to April 2021. Unless this happens, the Obeid Family development is likely to go ahead. 

Currently there are over 4,350 signatures from NSW residents but 20,000 are needed to force a debate in State Parliament. Please see the stunning photography of this beautiful area on our new updated webpage here

Cooling your home

Beyond Zero Emissions has released this excellent publication: Cooling your home – home retrofits, appliances and adaptions for a hotter future.

Most homes in Australia are not built for extreme heat – however there are DIY measures that can make your home more comfortable and safe – for owners and renters. Cooling your home offers practical information on:

  • installing cost-effective retrofits
  • updating appliances and using them more strategically
  • creating an efficient one-room Cool Retreat
  • simple behavioural adaptations to stay cool and survive heat waves.

The author, Dr John J. Shiel, is the Principal of EnviroSustain which consults on low carbon buildings and precincts.

Read more


Older people can struggle with sustainable living despite its obvious benefits

We are all very concerned about the continuing and deteriorating situation in aged care across Australia. Resourcing, especially with appropriately trained and adequately paid staff, is the number one priority. Another issue is the accommodation itself.

Recent research by Xin Hu from Deakin University looked at the literature on sustainability measures in a variety of settings recognising that these can be key to providing older Australians with better quality living conditions and health benefits. For example, ‘good ventilation and high-quality air conditioning often lead to improved indoor air quality and more comfortable ambient temperatures.’

Read more

EcoNetwork submission on NPWS Draft Cycling Policy

EcoNetwork generally agrees with the Draft Cycling Policy, Draft Cycling Strategy and Guidelines for implementation as properly managed cycling activities, with minimal impacts on wildlife habitat, may encourage some appreciation of our natural environment and provide enjoyable experiences.

However, we believe that there should be more emphasis in non-national park areas rather than high conservation areas. The NSW Government needs to take a broader approach rather than trying to turn national parks into all things for everyone. That is the role of the total public land system, for which national parks are firstly valued for their conservation value.

Read the full submission.

Community Solutions Workshops – Inspiring connections

25 February 2022 – in person workshop Raymond Terrace.
  • Have you ever wondered how to connect with the good in your community to create sustainable change?
  • Are you looking for ways to upskill and tap into the skillsets of your community?
  • Have you wondered what it might take to solve some of our community’s biggest challenges by sharing your good?

Raymond Terrace Senior Citizens & Community Hall, Fri 25 Feb 2022, 12:30 pm – 2:30 pm.

Registrations essential – book here.

EcoNetwork Port Stephens

Our Vision: Ecologically sustainable communities existing in harmony with the natural environment.

Our Purpose: To support our members and to educate and advocate on environmental issues that impact Port Stephens communities. : : facebook

Published: 7 Feb 2022