top of page
BIEPA's position on management of beach traffic to protect the native flora and fauna in the National Park.

Protecting Bribie Island NP's Ocean Beach

About this issue

Unfettered recreational vehicle access to Ocean Beach is inconsistent with protecting the conservation values of both the Bribie Island National Park and the Moreton Bay Marine Park, and is at odds with the beach's recognition as a Wetland of International Significance under the Ramsar Treaty. On peak days there can be thousands of 4WD vehicles driving on a 21km stretch of Bribie Island National Park's Ocean Beach. Over-use negatively impacts the ecological health of the inter-tidal zone and adjacent wetlands, deters seabirds and shorebirds, disrupts the nesting activity of critically endangered marine turtles, and modifies the natural processes of protective dune formation.

Peak visitation days; endangered beach stone-curlew; high tide driving; vehicles damaging dunes; turtle hatchlings trapped in ruts; impacts on wetlands.

How it impacts our mission

How beach traffic affects all aspects of BIEPA's mission:

  • Wildlife - Bribie Island is a rookery for critically endangered loggerhead turtles. Laying cycles are disrupted by night-time driving, and hatchlings heading from nest to ocean are put at unnecessary risk of exhaustion and predation by the effects of disorientation from lights, and by vehicle ruts. Threatened seabirds and shorebirds are deterred from this otherwise prime habitat by traffic. The littoral zone beach ecology is impacted through compaction and pollution.

  • Flora -  the effect of vehicles driving on the foredunes stops dune-stabilising plants from establishing. This limits expansion in the dune's natural growth phase, causing persistent coastline retreat that in turn sees erosion march further into the coastal habitat

  • Environment - littering, waste disposal and bush-toileting effects balance in native species populations, and encourages and fuels feral pig and fox populations that are attracted to waste left at visitor sites. Large volumes of plastic are left behind by visitors, which enters the environment and contributes to the devastating effect of micro-plastic pollution.

  • Sustainability - the ecological damage inflicted by high volumes of 4WD traffic on Bribie Island's protected areas is inconsistent with BIEPA's vision of a prosperous, nature-based tourism future for Bribie Island.

  • Community - the beach attracts large numbers of hoons, who not only act illegally on the beach endangering lives, but ensure residents have to endure traffic jams noise & air pollution, and bear the brunt of illegal hooning on local streets.

What we are doing about it

BIEPA is advocating strongly for the adoption of practical measures that will reduce impacts on the conservation values of the National Park. Many of these measures have been recommended in the Government's own report, the Bribie Island Sustainable Visitor Capacity Management Study, completed in 2022 and released publicly in May 2024.

The nature of Bribie Island’s Ocean Beach will continue to be degraded while recreational vehicles are permitted access. In the absence of a total ban on vehicles, BIEPA calls on all current and future State Governments to deliver a strict management regime that significantly reduces the current level of impact. Bribie Island National Park must be managed to protect its natural and cultural values. Recreational vehicles should not be allowed to continue to diminish these values.

The following principles broadly reflect BIEPA’s position in response to the State Government’s Bribie Island National Park and Recreation Area: Sustainable Visitor Capacity and Management Study.

BIEPA’s position is endorsed by the State’s peak conservation body, the Queensland Conservation Council.

  • Cap daily vehicle numbers using the cap implemented during the Covid-19 Pandemic as a guide.

  • Remove the 20 Peak Visitation Days from yearly permits, and implement a seperate daily permit lottery for those 20 days.

  • Allow only dawn to dusk driving during turtle nesting season (November to April) except for emergencies and authorised park management activities.

  • Allow hard sand driving only, with the beach closed to traffic 2 hours either side of high tide. Install boom gates at access track entrances.

  • Introduce on-line training and assessment during the permit application process, covering driver behaviour, ecology and wildlife awareness.

  • Implement enhanced and innovative strategies to police illegal activities, both on the beach and on associated access routes. Introduce drone patrols to enforce regulations and laws on the beach.

  • Encourage and foster recreational opportunities that are in keeping with National Park values, and ensure equitable visitor access.

  • Introduce an active education program that engenders a high level of community respect for the National Park, including a regular newsletter to all permit holders.

  • Ensure any future Management Plan incorporates Adaptive Management Principles that will continue to enhance protections and reduce ecological impacts on the Bribie Island National Park, Moreton Bay Marine Park and the Ramsar-listed Wetlands.

Who supports us on this issue
bottom of page