Reef Check Fraser (Woongarra Coast) Report Released
Dec 05, 2014
The Reef Check Australia Fraser Coast Season Summary Report is now available.
Reef Check Australia sites on the Fraser Coast demonstate that there are diverse coral communities in the region. Woongarra Coast reefs seem to be dominated by soft corals compared to those in Hervey Bay that are hard coral dominated.
However, these reefs appear to demonstrate signs of stress. The higher levels of bleaching and impacts in Hervey Bay may be due to the higher cover of coral to be impacted. The Fraser Coast, and especially, Hervey Bay, receive a great deal of sediment from surrounding rivers including the Mary River, Eli Creek and the Burrum River. This amplified during flood events, when large volumes of suspended solids may be transported into the Bay. Suspended sediments cloud the water and reduce water clarity as well as potentially smothering benthic organisms. The silt observed at Hervey Bay sites was lower in 2014 than in 2013 at all sites except Gataker's Reef West. Silt loading was high, as it was in the previous year. Sites surveyed on the Woongarra Coast had lower levels of silt recorded.
Reef Check Australia looks forward to continuing to build on the data from the established sites over the coming years to contribute to a long-term understanding of coral health for the Fraser Coast.
In an effort to grow and continue expanding Reef Check Australia's regional efforts, the following actions have been identified:
Increase the number of research sites at existing monitoring locations. Additional sites would help build on data reliability and address the patch nature of the coral habitat by increasing replication.
Expand on current research sites. Sites that have been recommended to Reef Check by local residents include 4 Mile Reef and Hoffman's Rocks.
Engage members of the community in reef awareness, appreciation and understanding, This may include education programs for schools and the public, building participation in REEFSearch identification and observation program and collaborative events and media to share information.
For more information, please contact Jodi Salmon at Jodi@reefcheckaustralia.org