South East Queensland Catchments
A new era for the management of South East Queensland’s land and waterways has been formally announced, with the official formation of Healthy Waterways and Catchments. This new organisation combines leading not-for-profit organisations Healthy Waterways and SEQ Catchments, whose members voted in the change on 28 June 2016.
Natural wonder restored: Myora Springs
Myora Springs (also known as Campembah Creek), on the north-west side of North Stradbroke Island, is known for its natural beauty as well as a site of cultural significance to the Quandamooka people.
It is a freshwater spring directly adjoining both remnant coastal rainforest to one side and mangrove communities on the other and it is a popular water hole and educational resource.
Endangered flora and fauna such as the vulnerable water mouse (Xeromys myoides ) and endangered colourful Swamp Orchid (Phaius australis) are residents here and the Quandamooka people have strong ties to this site, a favoured camping and meeting place.
In 2012, SEQ Catchments with funding from Australian Government Caring for our Country Program along with partners OceanWatch Australia, Wetlandcare Australia, Healthy Waterways, Redland City Council, and the Quandamooka Yoolooburrabee Aboriginal Corporation identified a need to control the unintentional erosion and a loss of vegetation, including mangrove dieback, arising from increased human traffic from visitors, to preserve this unique place for future generations.
The Quandamooka people were keen for this unique ecosystem to continue to be shared and enjoyed by the local community and tourists alike.
The primary objective was to restore and stabilise where serious erosion had already occurred, including installation of geofab structures, removal of 40 tonnes of gravel impacting the waterway from nearby and revegetation. An environmentally sensitive designed walkway and viewing platform was also built to help minimise further erosion as well provide an opportunity to raise awareness about the values of the site.
Without these works, the erosion effects would have been compounded by the storms in January 2013, with more sediment and mud washed away into the spring and Moreton Bay. The works have so far proved to be very successful in preventing any further erosion.
Lockyer Valley Flood Recovery Program
- Stream and floodplain hydraulic modelling
- Two stream restoration demonstration sites including construction of a rock chute, bank battering and revegetation
- Individually tailored Farm Management Plans
- A Reach Restoration Plan
Many farmers across the Lockyer Valley suffered extensive damage during the January 2013 floods, with many struggling to get their properties back into production.
SEQ Catchments, with funding from the Federal Government and State Government’s On-farm Productivity and Riparian Recovery Program, has been working with almost 50 landholders in this nationally important food bowl, to increase the resilience of the creeks and farms to future flooding.
One of the focus areas has been the Laidley Valley, which as a result of the floods experienced extensive creek erosion, top soil loss and damaged infrastructure.
Strengthening these badly eroded areas to minimise the threat to further loss of land has been a priority.
The project bought together landholders and experts to assess the degradation of the creek system and provide advice on best management practices for production on floodplains.
Efforts focused on hydraulic modelling, tailored farm management plans, a Reach Restoration Plan involving local knowledge, aimed at bringing good agricultural land back into production as well as restoration of two sites along Laidley Creek.
The project is ongoing and is expected to be completed in 2015. SEQ Catchments is working in consultation with farmers in the area to develop individual management plans to considering alternative farming practices and stream management to increase their resilience to future flood flows.
This project is coordinated by SEQ Catchments and funded from the State Government’s On-farm Productivity and Riparian Recovery Program, which forms part of the Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements.
Restoring Seagrass Habitat in Moreton Bay
Seagrass meadows form one of the most important marine habitats globally and occur in shallow coastal waters including Moreton Bay.
Traditional block and tackle boat moorings affect up to 15 per cent of seagrass beds in Moreton Bay by producing “crop circles” as the tide moves in and out, impacting on seagrasses, algae and other marine plants growing on the marine substrate. Clearly visible from the air, this scouring forms a ‘halo’ where no marine plants grow.
The Seagrass Friendly Mooring system, designed by NSW based Des Maslen from On Water Marine Services Ltd, was the first Environmentally Friendly Mooring design rolled out in Queensland funded by the Australian Government’s ‘Caring for our County’ Program after a two year trial in an effort to repair the marine habitats of Moreton Bay.
Environmentally friendly moorings cause less damage to the seagrass bed, by ensuring there is minimal contact with the sea bed, while still being able to safely secure vessels in the environmental conditions of Moreton Bay.
Priority areas were selected (Macleay Island, Stradbroke Island and Victoria Point) and information sessions further raised awareness about the relative impacts of traditional boat mooring designs, and the benefits of the seagrass friendly mooring design for use in Moreton Bay.
Boat owners have embraced the environmentally friendly system and during the last year over 100 traditional moorings have been replaced across priority seagrass beds.
Seagrass is expected to regrow over an area about the size of 18 football fields and improve a further 120 Ha of marine ecosystems.
This seagrass recovery program has this year won two awards:
- The Environmental Sustainability category in the 2013 Australian Business Awards.
- The Product and Manufacturing award at the 2013 Healthy Waterways Awards.
Key to the success of the trial and the subsequent installation of the Seagrass Friendly Moorings has been the enthusiasm and cooperation of the Moreton Bay boating community in general and of mooring owners in particular, who responded so positively that the program was oversubscribed.
Key partners include the Australian Government (Caring for our Country program); Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry; Maritime Safety Queensland; the Queensland Department of National Parks, Recreation, Sport and Racing, the Queensland Recreational Boating Council, WetlandCare Australia, Oceanwatch Australia, and the University of Queensland.