Community groups empowered to protect environment

A long-term project wraps up this month having supported 42 regional community groups to protect endangered wildlife, regenerate native bushland, and tackle marine debris.

NQ Dry Tropics’ Engaging and Strengthening Communities project, funded through the Australian Government’s National Landcare program, administered $360,000 of Community Landcare Grants and also delivered workshops and training that built community groups’ knowledge, skills and capacity to care for their local environment.

And nearly 2700 hardworking volunteers and their project partners supported 47 projects with in-kind support worth more than $580,000.

The project, launched in 2015, supported Townsville group Mundy Creek Catchment Care to remove weeds and carry out revegetation works on a green corridor that connects the Town Common Conservation Park with Castle Hill Reserve.

Group head Bernadette Boscacci said they were able to re-establish 400m of creekbank vegetation, and also maintain surrounding grasslands by managing weeds and conducting controlled burns.

“Engaging and Strengthening Communities may be finishing however, the work continues. Hopefully more funds will open up to support our work in the future,” Ms Boscacci said.

Keith Kiloh, Chair of Lower Burdekin Landcare Association

Lower Burdekin Landcare Association Chair Keith Kiloh said the project helped the group in many ways:

“NQ Dry Tropics supported us to restore native vegetation at various locations including Plantation Park, Morratt’s pit, and Lilliesmere lagoon”, Mr Kiloh said.

“We received funding to tackle weeds such as Candle bush in Plantation Park, which can spread easily and cause problems downstream for farmers by choking waterways and threatening native species.

“And the project increased our knowledge and ability to seek future funding by organising grant writing workshops and field trips”, Mr Kiloh said.

Queens Beach Action Group

The Queens Beach Action Group (QBAG) has spent more than 17 years maintaining and protecting Bowen’s longest stretch of beach, alongside the South Sea Islander community, Juru people, and the Bowen Scouts. Their work has included restoring Yasso point and monitoring Green Sea Turtle populations, supported by two Community Landcare Grants.

QBAG president Ivan Garrod said the grants enabled the group to plant more trees at Yasso Point to stabilise the dunes and protect against erosion.

“Support from NQ Dry Tropics has helped us remain active and increase our membership. More people are now interested in our work”, Mr Garrod said.

NQ Dry Tropics project officer Thijs Krugers paid tribute to the dedication of the community groups, which play a vital role protecting critical habitats, wetlands and the Great Barrier Reef.

“NQ Dry Tropics remains committed to supporting our local community groups, and helping them connect with each other so they can work together to protect and improve our environment”, Mr Krugers said.

For more information about volunteering visit the Volunteering Dry Tropics Facebook page, and for grant opportunities visit the NQ Dry Tropics Grants Hub at nqdtrytropics.com.au/grantshub.

Main photo: Stephen Guetrato (left, Mundy Creek Catchment Care)  Thijs Krugers, (centre, NQ Dry Tropics), Bernadette Boscacci (right, Mundy Creek Catchment Care).