Byron Shire Council will receive $49,500 in funding to reduce light pollution and help protect the coastal habitat of Australia’s threatened species.
As the coastal population of humans increases, light pollution is a growing threat to wildlife such as turtles and migratory birds.
The Byron Shire Coastal Light Management Plan will develop and implement a prioritised action plan for the sensitive ecological coastal environments it manages.
Minister for the Environment and Water, the Hon Tanya Plibersek said light pollution is increasing each year and is an emerging issue in the field of wildlife conservation.
One of the darkest continents
‘Australia is one of the darkest continents on earth, but light pollution is still impacting our threatened and migratory species. Baby turtles are being prevented from reaching the ocean and birds are struggling to roost and take their first flight.
‘It’s great to see innovative, locally-driven solutions to light pollution that will meet the needs of communities and our threatened wildlife, helping to protect more of what’s precious, repair more of what’s damaged and help manage nature better for the future,’ she said.
The plan will assess wild animals and birds that are potentially affected and how they are impacted, review regulatory requirements for lighting in coastal areas, audit existing artificial lighting and identify hotspots, and put in place best practice lighting design principles for lighting infrastructure.
Great diversity of turtles and birds
Member for Richmond, Justine Elliot said Byron Shire residents are fortunate to enjoy loggerhead, green, leatherback, hawksbill and olive ridley turtles in the oceans and beaches surrounding Byron Bay.
‘Our region’s bird diversity is second only to the wet tropics and our coastal wetlands are a food supply for migratory birds from all over the world,’ she added.
‘The Byron Shire supports high numbers of rare or threatened animals and helping them to thrive and survive by reducing light pollution boosts not only our precious environment but our national and international reputation.’
‘This project is part of an investment of over $200,000 to reduce light pollution near our precious threatened species’ coastal habitat,’ Mrs Elliot said.