Posted on 14/03/2015 by Phillip Island Nature Parks
Phillip Island Nature Parks has been awarded the 2015 Australian Coastal Award in the category of ‘Planning and Management’ for the restoration of the Summerland Peninsula at a ceremony held on the Mornington Peninsula last night.
The submission titled ‘Saving Summerland – A Peninsula for the Penguins’ details the Nature Parks’ over 25-year commitment to returning the Peninsula to the penguins through a world-first buy-back program of a housing estate. This, coupled with ongoing research, habitat restoration and detailed planning have ensured the future of the penguin colony and the spectacular coastal environment.
The project began in 1985 when the State Government announced the ‘Penguin Protection Plan’. The Plan’s objectives were to buy back the 776 privately-owned allotments on the housing estate (180 houses and 600 vacant blocks), rehabilitate the area and save the penguin population through management and research initiatives including predator control, traffic management and ongoing monitoring.
Over 25 years later, the project is complete and the Peninsula’s very special coastal environment and wildlife populations have been restored. The project has made sweeping changes to the visual landscape and restored stunning views of Western Port and Bass Strait and also lowered the risk of fire through the removal of power lines. Over 110,000 plants have been put in to transform the former housing blocks into future penguin homes and 1,542 penguin boxes have been installed to cater for the increasing number of penguins.
“This is an enormous national achievement which recognises the past 20 years of conservation and restoration of critical habitats on Phillip Island,” said Phillip Island Nature Parks’ Chief Executive Officer, Matthew Jackson. Mr Jackson accepted the award last night with Environment Manager Dr. Rosalind Jessop who has been involved with the project since it began in 1985.
“Everyone involved should be very proud. The combined efforts of all departments have enabled us to achieve this unique milestone and we should all be proud of this achievement.”
Hosted by the National Sea Change Taskforce, the Australian Coastal Awards acknowledge the people and organisations that have made a significant contribution to the Australian coastal environment and settlements.