Wednesday, October 30, 2013


It is pretty exciting to see a new wave of citizen science blossoming on a vital and hugely neglected buffering zone along Australia's coastlines. 

If you've been wanting to make a difference and not yet found your volunteer group 'perfect match' you might consider initiating your own Saltmarsh Watch (here) where you can find online information and instruction on how to undertake careful and considerate action of these colourful and dynamic ecosystems.  

AUSMEPA is also an organisation that recognises the need to protect our coastlines to ensure the health of our coasts. 

They have previously awarded the Port of Townsville with their Environmental Award for the rehabilitation of a badly degraded saltmarsh into a vibrant reserve...see more here

If you are in SE Qld and would like to try your hand, volunteers are needed at Bremner Road, Rothwell (Redcliffe Peninsula) from December through March 2014. To register your interest please contact either Bob on his email:  or 
Cheryl at Wetland Care:

South Australian Intertidal data analysis 2006-2012

It's been a long time coming but South Australia's Conservation Council have produced a data analysis of the first 6 years of Reef Watch intertidal monitoring is now available on the Reef Watch website.

The reports is freely available on the Reef Watch website report  

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

REEFSearch with Cleveland District High School featured on SCOPE

Congratulations to Reef Check and Cleveland District High School for this great item.
It highlights a project assisted by AUSMEPA under grant funding from their Rhondda Alexander Memorial Education Grant program.

2013 Ecosystem Health Report Card for South East Queensland’s waterways

Queensland's Healthy Waterways launched the 2013 Ecosystem Health Report Card on Oct 23, providing insight into the health of South East Queensland’s waterways and Moreton Bay. This remarkable initiative has provided a model for other cities internationally and regularly informs developments within Australia to improve water quality.

About Healthy Waterways and the Ecosystem Health Monitoring Program 
Healthy Waterways is a non government, not-for-profit organisation working to protect and improve waterway health. The Ecosystem Health Monitoring Program (EHMP) is one of the most comprehensive freshwater, estuarine and marine monitoring programs in Australia. The EHMP delivers a regional assessment of the ambient ecosystem health for each of South East Queensland’s (SEQ) 19 major catchments, 18 river estuaries and nine zones in Moreton Bay.

Healthy Waterways manages the program on behalf of member organisations, and it is delivered by a large team of experts from the Queensland Government, universities and CSIRO.

Report Card 
The annual Ecosystem Health Report Card highlights whether the health of the waterways is improving or declining. A total of 389 sites are monitored across SEQ and Moreton Bay: 135 freshwater sites are monitored biannually, and 254 estuarine and marine sites are monitored monthly.

The 2013 Report Card results show the mud and nutrients deposited into Moreton Bay during the 2011 and 2013 floods continues to reduce water clarity and stimulate the growth of algae.Last year, the health of seagrass beds and corals appeared to improve slightly. However, this year corals and seagrasses are showing signs of ongoing stress and decline. Perhaps the best news for the bay and estuaries was  improvements linked to advances in sewage treatment, lowering the nutrient load.

One of the best grades on the report card came from the north in the Sunshine Coast. Noosa is a community where residents are embued with a strong environmental ethic. They have worked hard to protect their catchments, with good ecosystem health outcomes.

Some of the worst grades noted were catchments to the west and south where population growth and land change has drastically altered the catchment. The report card helps to identify where further management action is required.

Brisbane City Council Lord Mayor Graham Quirk said “Brisbane City Council’s vision is to become Australia’s most clean, green and water-smart city and this financial year we are investing more than $16 million to improve the health of our waterways.” 

For more information, visit

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Launch of the 2013 Ecosystem Health Report Card for SE Queensland

Wednesday 23 October at 11:15am (for 11:30am start) until 12:30pm.
The SE Queensland's Report Card is the envy of other states. It is an ambitious effort to monitor, record and report the health of the waterways and receiving waters so that everyone knows how things are progressing, good or bad.
The Report Card provides an annual snapshot of the ecosystem health of South East Queensland’s waterways and is released annually by Healthy Waterways. It is the culmination of twelve months of scientific monitoring at 389 freshwater, estuarine and marine sites throughout the region. The Report Card also helps to identify issues affecting our waterways and the actions required to improve waterway health.

The launch is a high profile event held simultaneously at four locations across South East Queensland:
Healthy Waterways
Riverlife Centre (Located at the base of the Kangaroo Point Cliffs access via Lower River Terrace or River Terrace)
Kangaroo Point 
Brisbane QLD 4169
Gold Coast City Council
Broadwater Parklands (The Rooftop)
Marine Parade
Southport QLD 4215
Somerset Regional Council
Somerset Civic Centre
25 Esk-Hampton Road
Esk QLD 4312
Moreton Bay Regional Council
Pelican Park (Bells Beach)
Hornibrook Esplanade
Clontarf QLD 4019

The Report Card launch is a key event for the water industry and offers significant networking opportunities as it is well attended by government, industry, research and community groups. The launch is an open event so please feel free to bring guests. Light refreshments will be served at 12.30pm.

If you would like to attend please confirm your attendance by Friday 18 October by emailing, nominating which event you wish to attend.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Seajellies, a slippery problem and growing

The ocean is changing all the time however the speed and nature of the recent changes related has links to human activities. (See related articles here, here and here)

Jellies may be change indicator species and reports around the world are telling us about growing numbers of seajelly 'smacks' or' swarms' or 'blooms'. 
A common Australian jelly, Catostylus mosaicus, or blue blubber jelly (Photo courtesy of Tony Isaacson)
The blue blubber (or brown blubber in some parts of Australia) is quite a common sight and last year a Queensland man took a video of a massive swarm off the coast. However this relatively mild cnidarian does not appear to have gone into the kind of plague proportions we are hearing about in Japan, Scotland, Israel or Florida where the size and numbers of jellies have caused serious problems for nuclear power and desalination plants.

Probably the most spectacular example are the devastating blooms of the massive jellies,  'Nomuras', off the coast of Japan. As adults they weigh in  at 220kg and measure 2m in diameter. They have been swarming in the Japan Sea since 2002, clogging fishnets and overturning trawlers owing to their size. (see BBC article here).

Why is this happening? Some scientists remind us that we have been taking too many fish from the sea that eat jellies. Others point out that changes occurring from human activities like; marine pollution from stormwater, ocean acidification and temperature rise to name a few, may just be giving jellies the edge they need to reclaim the ocean where they were once the top predator hundreds of millions of years ago.