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Reef Check on the Fraser Coast
The Fraser Coast region is famous for iconic beaches and humpback whales, but the unique coral communities of this region are often overlooked. These reefs are home to a mix of subtropical and temperate marine species, including nudibranchs, corals, sea snakes and sea turtles. Research indicates that these reefs are actually more similar to the Great Barrier Reef to their north, than to Moreton Bay reefs to their south.
Reef Check Australia started collecting data about Fraser Coast reefs in 2012. The data collected by our trained volunteers can help us all better understand and protect these unique reef systems.
Checking up on reef habitat in the Great Sandy Strait
In September 2016, we set out on an expedition to fill in knowledge gaps on important reef habitat areas across the Great Sandy Strait.
Reef Check's regional history
In 2012, Reef Check Australia established five new reef monitoring locations, including sites within the Woongarra Marine Park (Burkitt’s Reef and Barolin Rocks) and three nearshore sites within the Great Sandy Marine Park in Hervey Bay (Big Woody Island Reef, ESA Park and Gataker’s Reef West). We worked with local management authorities and researchers to select sites with existing baseline data and important management priorities, with water quality as a particular focus. Reef Check sites will help to provide additional long-term reef health data for these unique subtropical reef systems.
The Reef Check Australia Fraser Coast project aspires to build on previous and current reef monitoring and research projects that have been undertaken within the Fraser Coast Region. Results from the 2012 Reef Check Australia study support the 2010 DeVantier benthic cover findings. Reef Check surveys recorded living coral cover ranging from 32-50% (the DeVantier study found that most living coral cover typically ranged from 20-40%). The slightly higher live coral cover results from Reef Check surveys may be accounted for as Reef Check transect locations were specifically selected to focus on areas with substantial live coral cover. Read more details in our report.
Findings so far indicate that Woongarra Coast sites appear to be dominated by soft corals, whereas Hervey Bay sites are dominated by hard corals.
Key news stories:
- Coastcare Members now qualified Reef Check Volunteers (Sept 2016)
- Reef Check Fraser Coast Report Released (Dec 2014)
- Researchers Warn: Re-plant or Perish (Sept 2013)
- Bays Reef Watch (Aug 2012)
- Reef Watchers on Job (Aug 2012)
You can get involved too! Learn, explore, appreciate and protect the unique reefs on your doorstep.
- Be a REEFSearcher
- Check out our Fraser Coast Infogram Poster
- Check out our Fraser Coast 'Love your local reefs' poster.pdf
- Follow us on Facebook or Instagram for the latest updates
- Read our reports
- Donate to support our programs
Additional in-kind support:
Local marine biologists: Ian Butler, Amanda Delaforce, Kirsten Wortel and Maria Zann. A special thanks to Great Sandy Marine Park and Burnett Mary Regional Group for providing in-kind support for program development.