Barwon Coast – Examining impacts of population, domestic dogs (Canis familiaris) and seasonal variants on coastal environments

The ‘Barwon Coast – Examining impacts of population, domestic dogs (Canis familiaris) and seasonal variants on coastal environments’ project was developed in response to domestic dog management and shared beach usage issues currently impacting Barwon Coast. Recently, across the local beaches of Ocean Grove Beach, 13th Beach and the Barwon Estuary, a number of issues have arisen relating to how to manage the recreational use of the beaches, while continuing to provide ecosystem protection.

In response to these issues, Barwon Coast Committee of Management has partnered with, and funded, Federation University Australia to undertake research into the knowledge, attitudes and behaviours of beach users and other community members around dog control, beach usage and environmental management. The knowledge gained through this research will be used to guide future planning for costal management along the Barwon Coast.

To ensure that planning for coastal management takes into consideration the social, seasonal and culture issues that influence how different groups within the community use the beach there will be research undertaken over the summer months of 2018.

Dr Angela Murphy, together with research colleagues from Federation University Australia (Alison Ollerenshaw, Jennifer Corbett and Meghan Taylor), is undertaking this research project. The research will be focused on gathering baseline data relating to the size and profile of the local population, dog numbers and study participant views relating to compliance, environmental management and use of beaches. Community views will also be sought on what, if any, changes are needed to local coastal management approaches.

In essence, the project aims to:

  • Develop a profile of the population;
  • Build an understand of issues arising from shared beach use by people and domestic animals;
  • Gather information relating to different views on a range of coastal management issues; and,
  • Develop a response strategy informed by feedback from local community members and visitors to the beaches, to ensure that future coastal management is as effective and responsive as possible.

As members of the community, we would like to invite you to be involved and to provide your insights into these issues. Your input will enable informed decision making and the mapping of key issues for each of the local beaches in the area and, for coastal management overall. It will also inform and guide the development of planning strategies for the future.

If you choose to be involved in this research we would like you to complete a short survey. This survey will take approximately 15 minutes to complete and is available in online and hard copy formats.

All information that you provide will be treated confidentially and will only be used to identify the main themes and insights drawn out relating to the research project. No information collected through the survey (online or hard copy) will be used to identify individuals. The researchers are the only people who will have access to this information at any time following data collection and analysis.

Your participation in this research is voluntary. You are free at any time to withdraw your participation in this research without explanation. There are no consequences to withdrawing from the research.

However, once data has been combined it may not be possible to withdraw your specific data. You may also choose not to respond to all questions in the survey – just answer the questions you are comfortable with.

Consent to participate in this research is assumed when you complete and submit the survey.

All data collected for this research will be stored securely, and data will be destroyed after a minimum period of five years.

It is extremely unlikely that you will experience any distress as a result of questions asked as part of this research however, in the unlikely event that you are concerned with any of the questions included, or with the research project itself, we will ensure that support is available to you. You are also able to contact Lifeline on telephone 13 11 14.

This project has received approval from Federation University Australia’s Human Research Ethics Committee (approval number A17-162).

For further details about this research, please contact Dr Angela Murphy on telephone (03) 5327 6198.