Reef Check’s E-News
"Sunshine Coast Council understands that we cannot achieve our sustainability vision for the region without building productive and enduring partnerships with the community. Reef Check is one of a number of organisations that work collaboratively on the Coast with Council, industry and the wider community to raise awareness and capacity about the outstanding environmental values of our home, and the need to manage them wisely. Reef Check's work also contributes to the long term robustness of our economy by helping to conserve, protect and showcase our coasts wonderful marine features." -Ben McMullen, Coordinator Biosphere and Partnerships with Sunshine Coast Council
Monitoring subtropical rocky reefs in South East Queensland
Following the success of our flagship GBR project, Reef Check Australia's South East Queensland (SEQ) project was established in 2007 to monitor rocky reef sites between the Gold Coast, Brisbane area, and Sunshine Coast. In 2012, we expanded to include the fringing reefs of the Fraser Coast.
What is SEQ?
South East Queensland (SEQ) is a transitional area where tropical, sub-tropical and temperate species all exist within the same habitat area. As habitat and species shifts may be likely as a result of climate change, as well as pressures from anthropogenic threats, this transitional area is gaining recognition as an important area to study and protect (Wallace, Fellegara, Muir, & Harrison, 2009).
Our volunteer monitoring activities provide valuable information where there is currently a serious gap in the data; many of the sites Reef Check visits annually do not have regular long-term monitoring programs. However, water quality pollution from continued urban development is a serious issue within the area, which includes Moreton Bay - a Ramsar Wetland site.This region is also growing rapidly, placing increasing human pressures on these unique systems. It is imperative to assess the health of these reefs to ensure these valuable resources are understood and maintained so that human impacts can be identified and managed.
Where are Reef Check's SEQ sites?
Reef Check monitors more than 20 locations stretching from Noosa on the Sunshine Coast to Palm Beach on the Gold Coast.
How does our survey program work?
This flagship project has the support of more than 12 dive operators in the region. These operators recognise the importance of looking after their reefs, and support the project by providing discounted trips for our teams during surveys and training.
This project is also sustained through ongoing help from in-kind supporters like SEQ Catchments Ltd, who provide office space and advice.
Our enthusiastic volunteers continue to contribute their time and to make the most of this, we're seeking Adopt a Reef partners to provide the funding we need to formalise and strengthen the project.
When & where?
SEQ surveys take place from August to January each year. Most surveys happen at weekends so our community volunteers can participate outside of their work commitments.
The data collected from this monitoring is now distributed via our new Reef Health Database.
Check out Facebook for recent photos!
Examples of Successful Reef Check SEQ Projects
Launching a new Reef Check program on the Fraser Coast
In August 2012, our teams braved the chilly winter waters off the Fraser Coast to establish the first long-term monitoring locations in the area, helping to close the gap between our Great Barrier Reef sites and South East Queensland sites. The team established 5 new sites, including 3 sites inshore Hervey Bay and two off the Woongara Coast near Bundaberg. 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. Thanks very much to Great Sandy Marine Park, Bundaberg Aqua Scuba, Bundy Dive Charters, the Hervey Bay Boat Club and a few passionate locals for all of your help implementing this new project. Check out the trip photos! This project was supported by funding through the Australian Government's Caring for Our Country in 2012 and return surveys in 2013 are supported by funding through the Queensland's Governement's Everyone's Environment Grants.
Reef Check Underwater Clean ups at Amity Point
Reef Check Australia celebrated our third consecutive Clean Up Australia Day in March 2013 with a clean up at Amity Point, on N. Stradbroke Island. We were joined by volunteers from Wild Mob, the Australian Marine Conservation Society, University of Queesland's Turtles in Trouble, and UQ's Uni Dive, plus plenty more individuals who stopped in to show their support and lend a hand. We had over 35 people attend the event, with 11 divers. In just a few hours volunteers collected and sorted 124kg of debris. 767 cigarette butts were found, in addition to fake finger nails, mismatched thongs, a car tyre and hundreds of pieces of plastic. 35kg of debris was removed from the ocean alone, including more than a kilometer of fishing line. The strangest item found this year was a child's scooter, at the bottom of the ocean- covered in barnacles.
Blair Jedras is the Reef Check Australia volunteer behind the clean up. He grew up on N. Stradbroke Island, and hates to see his favorite childhood hang out covered in rubbish. 'Every single person can make a difference in this world. I know my mission- to stop waste entering our oceans. We have to protect our oceans, and the animals that live there, otherwise there wont be anything left for future generations to enjoy' says Blair.
Check out some of our awesome clean up team photos on Facebook.
The 2013 SEQ Survey Season is supported by funding through Queensland's Government's Everyone's Environment Grants and Sunshine Coast Coucil.