Native birds attacked near Myall River

TEA Gardens residents fear feral pests are destroying native bird colonies that nest on Corrie Island at the mouth of the Myall River.Access to the island, a 164-hectare Ramsar Convention-listed nature reserve, has been made easier for some pests over the past year due to the siltation of the Myall River's natural entrance channel.The Myall River Action Group has been campaigning to have the natural, or eastern, channel reopened to improve flushing of the lakes system.State Government authorities have resisted, arguing that the alternative man-made navigational channel allows sufficient flows to and from the lakes.The issue of feral pests invading Corrie Island has arisen as a secondary issue.Action group spokesman Gordon Grainger said there had been increased sightings of feral cats, foxes and dingoes on or near the island over the past year."There have certainly been a lot more animal footprints in the wet sand around the island, which is of great concern," Mr Grainger said.National Parks and Wildlife Service regional manager Robert Quirk said feral dogs had always been able to get to the island.However, the siltation of the channel had made it easier for cats and humans to reach the island."We don't think the threat [to the island's habitat] is of a significant scale to be able to justify the effort and cost of dredging the [natural] channel," Mr Quirk said.He said baiting and other control measures were being used to control feral pests on the island.Great Lakes and Port Stephens councils have applied for funding to conduct a study into the various affects the natural channel's closure has had on the environment.

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