How this gizmo is redefining coral reef protection
Mesmeric coral reefs and seagrass beds throughout Central Queensland will live longer thanks to a partnership involving Gladstone Ports Corporation.
GPC has teamed up with Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service to install $113,500 worth of reef protection infrastructure, south of Gladstone.
QPWS rangers worked with Gidarjil Land and Sea Country Rangers and local contractors to install six of the environmentally friendly vessel moorings (EFMs).
The large team also installed six reef protection markers at Pancake Creek, located approximately 20 kilometres north of the Town of 1770.
The project was all part of GPC's Biodiversity Offset Strategy partnering with QPWS Reef Protection Program which aimed to reduce the impacts of anchor damage on sensitive coral reef and seagrass communities.
It also aimed to raise awareness about the impact from anchor damage and demonstrated how
responsible operations of vessels can improve the resilience of reef and seagrass ecosystems.
QPWS Southern Great Barrier Reef Principal Ranger Dave Orgill said the new moorings provided important protection for the delicate ecosystem around Pancake Creek.
"The environmentally friendly moorings work in conjunction with the markers that signal no-
anchor areas to protect seabed floor habitats," Mr Orgill said.
QPWS had been monitoring the habitat conditions at two of the mooring sites before and during the installation process using a method called Reef Health Impact Survey.
GPC acting CEO Craig Walker said the funding and research was part of GPC's mission to responsibly manage, develop and facilitate the prosperity of the region.
"The latest monitoring results showed there was an increase in coral cover which is fantastic news and a great reminder of why we fund these projects," Mr Walker.
"As Australia's premier multi-commodity port, it's important we operate our port facilities and
services in an economically and environmentally sustainable manner."
Managing director Dr Kerry Blackman said Gidarjil Land and Sea Country Rangers worked
alongside QPWS to install the environmentally friendly vessel moorings.
"It's important we have first nations people with a hands-on role in the management of and care of first nation country and sea," Dr Blackman said.
"Our objective is to undertake environmental work on country that meets aspirations for keeping country healthy and for protecting heritage."
"In recent times we have expanded our program in order to undertake both land and marine
management activities throughout the region that covers the traditional lands and traditional sea country of the Gooreng Gooreng, Gurang, Taribelang Bunda and Bailia peoples."
A final report on the Environmentally Friendly Vessel Pancake Creek Mooring program is expected to be released in 2022.