Volunteers improve waterways for a healthier Great Barrier Reef
Community group volunteers across the Burdekin region are helping to protect the Great Barrier Reef by improving the health of local waterways through the NQ Dry Tropics’ Community Landcare Grants.
Volunteers from Rollingstone to Ayr have been pulling weeds, removing rubbish, planting riparian vegetation (native plants along waterways) and involving communities to improve habitats, passage for fish migrations and the quality of water flowing into the Reef.
NQ Dry Tropics Waterways, Wetlands and Coasts programme coordinator Laura Dunstan said community groups and their volunteers had taken significant steps to protect and enhance the values, function and health of our waterways.
“This is important work as waterways connect aquatic and terrestrial environments to the inshore Great Barrier Reef,” Ms Dunstan said. “Improvements to upstream systems will ultimately have downstream benefits for the Reef.”
The Australian Government’s National Landcare Programme funded the NQ Dry Tropics’ Community Landcare Grants and supported eight community driven projects. Six‐hundred volunteers protected and improved over 150 hectares of significant waterways and wetlands and removed more than one tonne of harmful marine debris.
Protecting and restoring native riparian vegetation at Horseshoe Lagoon, an ecologically valuable wetland resource on the Haughton River, is just one example of the many activities undertaken to improve waterways and the surrounding environment.
Lower Burdekin Landcare Nursery Manager Peter Thomas said the purpose of works was to encourage a suite of gallery forest species, including endangered semi‐evergreen vine thicket, to establish along the watercourse to improve habitat and water quality, plus protect farmland.
“Established riparian vegetation helps to reduce creekbank erosion, reducing turbid water, sediments and valuable topsoil from flowing downstream and out to the Reef,” Mr Thomas said.
This project was delivered by Lower Burdekin Landcare and a number of partner groups including NQ Dry Tropics, a local grazier and local youth part of the Australian Government’s Green Army initiative.
The next round of Community Landcare Grants 2016‐2017 will open next month.
Community groups that are interested in applying for funding, or would like to view a complete list of successful projects in this current round, are encouraged to visit the NQ Dry Tropics website at www.nqdrytropics.com.au/community-landcare-grants/ and the Volunteering Dry Tropics Facebook page.