Documentary maker Wain Fimeri has raised concerns about people crossing a sandbar over Laverton Creek at Altona and accessing world-listed wetlands.
The sandbar next to Doug Grant Reserve and Apex Park has extended the habitat area of Cheetham Wetlands, which is internationally recognised under the Ramsar environmental treaty and home to more than 200 bird species.
From this area, the short-tailed shearwater migrates each year to Siberia and Alaska – one of the longest migrations of any life form on earth.
Mr Fimeri said he was concerned about beachgoers, wind surfers and people with dogs crossing the sandbar and disturbing birds.
“We are the custodians of this remarkable place,” the Altona resident said. “Beachgoers have many other lovely beaches hereabouts.
“Dogs have the grassy Doug Grant park and the wonderful dog beach east of the Altona boat ramp.
“We have in our backyard a treasure. Were it a pyramid or a Versailles or an Angkor Wat, we would protect it fiercely.”
Hobsons Bay councillor Sandra Wilson said the council was lobbying the state government to extend the Cheetham Wetlands boundary.
“Council’s conservation rangers are regularly patrolling the area, with the aim of educating the community about the birds’ habitat and the importance of keeping off-lead dogs within the off-lead area at Doug Grant Reserve,” she said.
“It’s important that people understand that this site is a critical habitat for lots of different water birds including threatened species that come to Hobsons Bay from as far away as Siberia to feed for the summer before returning north to nest.
“We are hopeful that the ongoing discussions with the state government will lead to an increased level of protection.”