Northern Territory Government Newsroom

Operation Knot – Dog walking compliance checks to increase at Casuarina Coastal Reserve

Dog walkers that visit the Casuarina Coastal Reserve are being asked to re-familiarise themselves with the dog walking regulations to help protect our amazing habitat and in particular, the migrating shorebirds that visit this area.

Operation Knot is a compliance operation during March to raise awareness of the reserve use and regulations.

The operation will see increased patrols conducted by Parks and Wildlife NT rangers, particularly in early mornings and late afternoons, focusing on Lee Point rocks to Sandy Creek and Lee Point rocks to Buffalo Creek, where shorebirds are more concentrated.

The majority of shorebirds travel long distances from breeding grounds in Siberia, Alaska or China and tend to stop on our shores for a much needed rest while refuelling for the next leg of their journey.

Shorebirds start to arrive at the Casuarina Coastal Reserve around October and resume their journey towards the end of March.

Strict regulations apply for dog walkers using the reserve to protect migratory shorebirds and their habitat, with penalties of up to $314 for non-compliance under the Territory Parks and Wildlife Conservation By-laws 1984 22(1) and 47.

Operation Knot is named after the Great Knot, a medium to large shorebird with short legs and a slender medium bill. The Great Knot has been classified as vulnerable in the Northern Territory and critically endangered in the rest of Australia.

The Great Knot breeds in north-east Siberia, migrates to south-east Asia and eventually lands in Australia, concentrated on the coastline of Northern Australia.

If shorebirds are repeatedly harassed and made to take flight by being chased by dogs or human pollution, they can deem their nesting site as unsafe and may choose to not come back.

Parks and Wildlife NT will continue to work with the community and local groups to raise awareness of the importance and significance of preserving the reserve and species.

For more information visit

Quote from Dean McAdam, District Manager – Darwin/Urban Parks

“By-laws are in place to allow for suitable shared use of the Casuarina Coastal Reserve by locals, families, dog walkers, horse riders and as a natural habitat. It’s so important that as a community, we work collectively to protect our coastal reserve.

“We want to remind visitors that the stretch of beach from Lee Point rocks to Buffalo Creek is a strictly no dog area, as is the Lee Point Beach and Buffalo Picnic Areas.

“Shorebirds are located in greater numbers from Lee Point rocks to Sandy creek with this stretch classified as “Dogs under control” and “Dogs on Lead” closer to Sandy Creek.

“For a dog to be classed as under control, your dog must respond immediately to your commands, not chase birds and must not rush other dogs or people, otherwise your dogs must be on a lead.

“As part of Operation Knot, we will be raising awareness through our website and social media channels, and our rangers will also be on patrol ensuring compliance.”

Media contact: Department of Tourism, Sport and Culture 0476 844 83

Casuarina Coastal Reserve Map

Operation Knot Poster

Ranger Michael at Casuarina Coastal Reserve