Media Release Thursday, 29th November 2007
Gold Coast seagrasses are valuable fish habitat
The Gold Coast’s seagrass beds are valuable resources that provide food and shelter for a multitude of species, including prawns, fish, sea turtles, dugongs and shorebirds and they should be on the maps, a Seagrass-Watch training workshop was told on the weekend.
Chief Scientist of the Northern Fisheries Centre at Cairns and Program Coordinator for Seagrass-Watch HQ, Mr Len McKenzie, speaking at the workshop held at Gecko House in Currumbin last Sunday, 25th November, said that it would be very useful to have all the Gold Coast’s seagrasses mapped.
Gold Coast Seagrass-Watch Coordinator, Sheila Davis, said that the Gold Coast is developing a team to keep an eye on the Gold Coast Broadwater’s vital seagrass beds and volunteers are keen to map seagrasses in the rest of the waterways.
Participants at the workshop were trained on scientific procedures to collect data on the health and condition of seagrass, monitoring it three times a year. “We did our fieldwork in Currumbin Creek and used seagrass beds that are not on the map,” said Ms Davis. “Workshop participants are keen to find more and ensure that all the Gold Coast’s seagrass beds are mapped.”
“The health of our seagrass is under constant threat from both natural and human impacts, and Seagrass-Watch experts train volunteers to monitor its condition,” said Ms Davis. “This data is sent to Seagrass-Watch HQ where it adds to the knowledge about seagrass throughout the Asia Pacific and contributes to the management of our waterways.”
Seagrass-Watch is an award winning, community based, habitat assessment program, monitoring the health and extent of seagrass beds over time. Survey methods are scientifically rigorous but simple and easy to learn and the results help guide decision making in areas such as Marine Park planning and ecosystem health monitoring. The Gold Coast team is funded by SEQ Catchments as part of the Moreton Bay Seagrass-Watch.
“If the idea of an afternoon with nature, and the knowledge that one’s participation assists in the management of our natural resources appeals to people, then they are welcome to join the Seagrass-Watch team,” said Ms Davis. “It’s a fun activity and provides a great opportunity to get to know our waterways and their wildlife including many interesting birds and invertebrates and the chance to spot turtles and dugong.
Call Sheila Davis, Gold Coast Seagrass-Watch Coordinator (ph: 5530-6600) or email gcseagras|AT|vis.id.au to find out how you can get involved with this program.
Gold Coast Seagrass-Watch, PO Box 199, Mudgeeraba Qld 4213 5530-6600 0423-305-478