$4m invested to protect CQ’s coastal ecosystems
THE Fitzroy Region’s coastal ecosystems are in safe hands after the Australian Government’s Reef Trust provided $4 million to fund a number of important environmental programs over the next two-and-a-half years.
The funding was directed to Central Queensland’s natural resource management body Fitzroy Basin Association (FBA), who have 23 years of experience developing and delivering projects that protect the region’s natural assets; including the Great Barrier Reef.
Spanning the coast line between St Lawrence and Boyne Island, the FBA’s multifaceted project was designed to work with local communities and stakeholders to protect iconic species and the overall health and resilience of the Great Barrier Reef and associated coastal habitats.
Seven FBA staff will be involved in feral animal and weed control, marine debris removal, erosion control, fish passages, environmental monitoring, community and indigenous engagement and the hosting of the Shoalwater and Corio Bays Area Ramsar Management Advisory Group.
The project’s delivery partners include community groups, private landholders, Traditional Custodian Groups, the Department of Defence, Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service, Local Councils and research organisations.
Senior project officer Cassandra Tracey said the FBA prided itself on implementing the best available science through its projects to establish a portfolio of evidence-based and accessible solutions for environmental management.
“This project will help FBA and our local community to implement priority actions across a vast coastal area from St Lawrence to Boyne Island,” Ms Tracey said.
“We will be working with all sectors of the community to support our coastal wetlands and manage threats to threatened species and ecosystems, including the Great Barrier Reef.”
To kick the project off, three Team Turtle CQ volunteers boarded a helicopter last week to search every beach between Farnborough and Stanage Bay to record turtle tracks and nesting attempts during “turtle census week”.
The data gathered from more than 140 tracks located during the flight would help the FBA to work with the on-ground delivery partners and inform future conservation activities protecting marine turtle nests along our coastline.
Migratory shorebird and coastal dune surveys have also commenced along with planning erosion mitigation work with local grazing landholders.
Keeping in mind that it was an offence to disturb turtles, there were a number of ways in which members of the public could still play their part in supporting the FBA’s conservation efforts.
“When they’re visiting the beach, they can pick up any litter they might find and just making sure to tidy up after themselves to ensure any items don’t inadvertently become marine debris,” Ms Tracey said.
Volunteers can report any turtle movements by visiting the FBA’s website.
The FBA plans to roll out an ambitious training program next year, helping locals properly identify and report turtle tracks.
Across Queensland, this project was part of the $28 million announcement made by the Australian Government to support regional jobs and empower reef communities.
Capricornia MP Michelle Landry said the FBA was the region’s experts in environmental management.
“I am pleased that work has already commenced on the two and a half year project,” Ms Landry said.
“Federal funding provided under the Reef Trust Partnership is demonstrating how we can work together to support the reef, farming communities and tourism.”
Special Envoy for the Great Barrier Reef Warren Entsch said this important work would help improve awareness and volunteer engagement in Landcare activities and strengthen partnerships with local communities and Traditional Owners.
“This is about working with people and backing local communities and the result will be cleaner beaches, thriving habitats, healthier coastal ecosystems and species, and a more resilient Great Barrier Reef,” Mr Entsch said.
For more information or report turtle sightings, visit here.