Bowling Green Bay wetlands
Funding boost to help protect internationally-acclaimed wetlands
The Bowling Green Bay wetlands are a jewel in the lower Burdekin’s crown, and a newly-launched project will help ensure their health is maintained and restored.
NQ Dry Tropics is spearheading a joint local effort to protect the wetlands – internationally recognised as critical migratory bird habitat – as part of the $2 million Restoring Bowling Green Bay Wetlands project.
The four-year initiative, funded by the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program, will mobilise a range of lower Burdekin stakeholders, including landholders, community groups, Traditional Owners, science bodies and local businesses.
It will also build on nearly two decades of work by NQ Dry Tropics to improve the health of coastal ecosystems in the region.
NQ Dry Tropics Project Officer Olivia Penman said the initiative would improve the ecological character of the wetlands and adjoining creek catchments by reducing threats such as invasive weed chokes and pollutants – but would also focus on championing the important role wetlands play in the everyday lives of local communities:
“We want to raise awareness of how wetland ecosystems benefit the landscape, and support activities such as fishing and bird watching,” Ms Penman said.
“We will also be promoting the concept that environmental and agricultural outcomes can be achieved side by side.
“Project activities will support better connectivity for native fish species, and help improve the quality of water flowing to the Great Barrier Reef lagoon,” she said.
Ms Penman said that project activities including managing marine debris, revegetating habitat and undertaking fauna surveys would be conducted in partnership with Bindal Traditional Owners and Gudjuda Rangers based in Home-Hill.
“Earlier this year NQ Dry Tropics supported Gudjuda to conduct training to better identify and monitor migratory bird species that spend part of the year on the Bowling Green Bay wetlands, she said.
“The Gudjuda Reference Group has a fantastic Land and Sea Rangers program and they will be an asset to the project,” she said.
Project Officer Olivia Penman
Gudjuda Ranger Eddie Smallwood said the group was looking forward to sharing its extensive knowledge of the area as well as building valuable new skills:
“We are looking forward to partnering with the Bindal Traditional Owners and NQ Dry Tropics throughout this project to provide local knowledge, education and cultural heritage advice as well as strengthening the skills within our team of Land and Sea Rangers ”.
Bowling Green Bay is one of only five wetland sites in Queensland listed under the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance.
Ramsar is the name of the city in Iran where the convention was signed to recognise wetlands around the world that were especially important according to a range of criteria, such as supporting habitat for water birds and endangered species.
Traditional Owner Eddie Smallwood (Bindal)