2 March 2020
The threat to wildlife posed by the proposed Urannah Dam has inspired community members to donate more than $20,000 to Mackay Conservation Group over the past six weeks.
Late last year the group began planning a fundraising swim-a-thon, hoping to raise $10,000 for a campaign to highlight the impact Urannah Dam would have on the Irwin's Turtle.
The Swim For Our Rivers fundraiser attracted a lot of community support and more than doubled expectations.
Mackay Conservation Group coordinator, Peter McCallum, said "donors contributed amounts from $5 to several thousand dollars.
"We were stunned when one person approached us to say that they would match any donation we received in the last week of the campaign, up to $10,000. It was such a pleasant surprise.
"The donations will be used to ensure that our community is aware of the threat Urannah Dam imposes on the main habitat of the Irwin's Turtle.
Irwin's Turtle was discovered by famed naturalists Steve and Bob Irwin in 1990. Its range is estimated to be only 25 square kilometres and the main population is found around Urannah Creek west of the Eungella rainforest.
"A dam on Urannah Creek will flood the sandy riverbanks that Irwin's Turtle needs to lay its eggs. It requires clear, free flowing streams and they will disappear if a dam is built", Mr McCallum said.
Mackay Conservation Group also plans to build a community alliance during 2020 to put pressure on governments to better fund restoration of the region's rivers and streams.
"Too many of our rivers have been poorly managed, so they can't support as many fish, turtles, birds and other animals that depend on them.
"It takes money and human effort to restore habitat. We want government to partner with our communities to do more to protect our rivers."
For comment contact:
Peter McCallum 0402 966 560
Photos from the Swim For Our Rivers fundraising event can be found here: https://flic.kr/s/aHsmLyJePZ
Photos of Urannah Creek & Irwins Turtle can be found here: https://www.flickr.com/gp/mackayconservation/oi1XAH