Great Sandy Strait - Ramsar Wetland Project
WetlandCare Australia has been working in partnership with the Burnett Mary Regional Group (BMRG) in reducing threats to the Great Sandy Strait Ramsar Wetland and coastal systems.
This 2 year project, managed by BMRG and funded by the Australian Government’s Caring for our Country program, aims to reduce the impacts of fire, weeds, pests, vehicle and boat access and marine debris on the Great Sandy Strait Ramsar Wetland and surrounding wetlands, including the unique patterned fen communities.
The Great Sandy Strait (GSS) is located in the Burnett Mary region at the transition between tropical and temperate marine and coastal biogeographic zones. It supports a high diversity of estuarine and freshwater wetland habitats and species including the nationally threatened freshwater fishes the Honey Blue Eye and Oxleyan Pygmy Perch which occur in freshwater swamps and streams in the region. The region contains a large sand island and passage estuary which provides habitat and migration pathways for marine animals (fishes, prawns and turtles) between sheltered riverine areas and the open ocean. The connectivity between the various wetland communities enhances the biodiversity values of the site.
WetlandCare Australia has been assisting with on-ground surveys of structures within the region which have a potential impact on ‘biopassage’. Road crossings such as culverts and causeways along waterways can provide physical barriers or change flow characteristics which prevent passage of fish and other fauna, disrupting their movements and life cycles. WetlandCare Australia is developing a biopassage strategy for the GSS region, which will identify priority barriers for remediation.
The Patterned Fens ecological systems in the GSS are a rare and unique ecosystem containing species found nowhere else in the world and are the only example of fens in the southern hemisphere. Little is known about the history and management requirements of these systems and WetlandCare Australia is assisting in the establishment of further research to address key knowledge gaps and provide guidance in the management of these sensitive ecological systems.
WetlandCare Australia is also involved in engaging and educating the community in the values and management of the GSS through media releases, World Wetlands Day and Sea Food Festival activities and the establishment of a ‘Go Slow for Those Below’ advertising campaign. This campaign encourages a reduction in boat speeds for the benefit of marine fauna such as dugong and turtles, reducing boat strike occurrences and shoreline erosion through boat wash.
Along with other partner organisations (including Department of Environment & Resource Management (DERM), Department of Employment, Economic Development & Innovation (Fisheries), Fraser Coast and Gympie Regional Councils and OceanWatch Australia) WetlandCare Australia are providing technical guidance on all aspects of this project through their participation in various steering committees.
For more information, please contact Senior Project Officer, Sherry O'Brien on 07 41 812 999 Ext 203 or email@example.com.
PHOTO: WetlandCare Australia's Sherry O'Brien showcasing the Great Sandy Strait Project to visitors at the Hervey Bay Seafood Festival (WetlandCare Australia)
PHOTO: Patterned Fens, a unique part of the Great Sandy Strait Ramsar site (Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service)