New ʻTidal Treasureʼ signage unveiled

L-R: Ursula Taylor, CEO Derwent Estuary Program, Cr Aaron De La Torre, Dr Vishnu Prahalad, UTAS, Cr Phil Owen, Mayor Leigh Gray.

Brighton Council in partnership with the Derwent Estuary Program and UTAS officially unveiled a suite of informative signs along the Old Beach Foreshore trail in February.

At the unveiling, Mayor Leigh Gray presented the signs, titled Tidal Treasures of the River Derwent, to the community of Old Beach. The saltmarshes and Derwent River foreshore are an extremely valuable natural asset within the Brighton Municipality and provide a great place for connecting with nature to learn about the many ways they benefit our wellbeing.

CEO of the Derwent Estuary Program, Ursula Taylor spoke at the event and explained, “Saltmarsh is not only beautiful, it plays an important role in filtering water to keep it clean, it’s a place for fish and birds to breed and we now know it is very efficient at capturing carbon. Recently we surveyed 15 saltmarsh sites across the estuary to assess conditions and recommend management options, including at Old Beach.”

The official unveiling of the signage was followed by an informative ‘walk and talk’ along the saltmarsh foreshore led by Dr Vishnu Prahalad, University of Tasmania geography lecturer and renowned expert in coastal wetlands. Dr Prahalad said, “Nature in our backyards is increasingly being embraced by communities around the world as an important part of our lives. It offers
endless fascination, enriches our experience, and keeps us healthy in many ways. We are lucky here in the Derwent to still have these remnant patches of nature in the midst of suburbia, such as the Old Beach Saltmarsh. We will do well to look after this special place and let it look after us in turn.”

Mayor Gray described the gratitude Brighton Council has for its partnership with the Derwent Estuary Program and UTAS when it comes to caring for and understanding the true value of our saltmarsh areas. “Each sign features a different species of bird and plant that you will find here and includes tips on helping to protect and improve the saltmarsh area. We particularly want to
educate everyone to always keep their dogs on lead when walking, stay on the trail and keep clear of the birdlife,” he said. As part of Brighton Council’s Climate Resilience Strategy and Corporate Adaptation Plan, Council also works in partnership with the State Government and the Derwent Catchment Group to manage the foreshore and consider the impacts of sea level rise on the vulnerability of the saltmarshes themselves. It’s hoped that the new signage might be a catalyst to get even more members of the Old Beach community involved in caring for the foreshore area and grow a local Landcare group, currently in its infancy.