The Saltmarsh and Marine Turtle Monitoring project aims to conserve outstanding universal values of World Heritage properties through 3 primary activities:
- Fencing to protect Subtropical and Temperate Coastal Saltmarsh (STCS) from the impacts of livestock degradation. BMRG is partnering with land managers, QPWS and Gidarjil rangers to implement a wildlife friendly stock exclusion fencing program in the Bustard Bay High Conservation Value Aquatic Ecosystem (HCVAE). This work builds on previous investment in the area to protect salt marsh communities from the impacts of stock. Water quality monitoring will be implemented pre and post exclusion fence installation to determine the reduction in attenuating pollutants and reduced sediment/nutrient filtering caused by hoof compaction and trampling.
- Supporting community volunteer groups to continue long term marine turtle monitoring. The formalisation of a Turtle Monitoring Advisory Group (TMAG) with relevant technical expertise and decades of volunteer knowledge is vital to identify not only the current threats, but to identify possible future risks to ensure marine turtle conservation along the Wongarra coast, Fraser Island, Lady Musgrave Island and Deepwater National Park.
- Development of a marine debris collection program to mitigate the impact of debris, primarily plastic, to marine fauna and ecosystems. Community groups and Indigenous rangers are working in partnership with local government and industry groups to reduce existing onshore debris to prevent it re-entering the marine environment. These activities contribute data to the Australian Marine Debris Initiative to allow a comprehensive overview of the amounts and types of marine debris impacting nesting turtle beaches.
Through education, public awareness and community involvement this project will build partnerships, strengthen the sense of community stewardship of marine turtles and ultimately leave a legacy for future communities. BMRG also undertakes regular reviews of activities and their effectiveness with the TMAG to facilitate program implementation and how this project will link with other conservation projects in the region to enhance conservatory efforts through a coordinated approach.