Great Lakes Council and Marine Park officers need your help this summer to prevent illegal driving of vehicles on the delicate exposed bed of Smiths Lake by reporting any illegal acts you observe.
Smiths Lake is an “Intermittently Closed and Open Coastal Lagoon” (ICOLL) and was opened to the ocean in September this year.
The Lake is part of the Port Stephens – Great Lakes Marine Park and is valued highly by our local community and visitors for its high ecological value.
“After the Lake is opened significant areas of the lake bed are exposed, particularly in Wamwarra Bay and near the Lake opening at Symes Bay. Unfortunately these areas and other foreshore areas are being heavily impacted by cars driving on the lake bed,” said Council’s Manager of Natural Systems, Mr Gerard Tuckerman.
“The impact of cars driving on the foreshore on the Marine Park has long term impacts on fish and macroinvertebrate habitat. Of concern to us is that saltmarsh communities are being destroyed and these are endangered ecological communities in NSW,” said Mr Tuckerman
It is a serious offence to drive on the Lake and people will be up for significant fines up to $22,000 as they are in breach of numerous pieces of legislation.
Infringement notices of $500 can also be issued under the Fisheries Management Act and Marine Estate Management Act.
If you see people undertaking this prohibited activity please assist Council and Marine Parks with this campaign by collecting details of the offence, timing, number plate and location and call Council rangers on (02) 6591 7222.