For decades Queensland’s sugar cane farmers have been throwing money into the creeks and rivers that flow past their properties. That’s the money spent on excess fertiliser that runs off during heavy rain and makes its way to the ocean. It’s estimated that three quarters of nitrogen fertiliser put on cane farms leaches from the soil within a few months of application.
When nitrogen and phosphorus fertiliser enters rivers and ends up in the Reef, it upsets the natural balance of the marine environment. Algae love nitrogen and phosphorus. In a high nutrient environment algae can then become so numerous that the sunlight that normally reaches the sea floor can no longer do so. That means seagrass and other light dependent bottom-dwelling organisms have trouble growing and reproducing. Crown of Thorns starfish that destroy hard corals also love nitrogen and that’s one of the reasons they are in such large numbers on the Reef at present.Read more
The latest Mackay-Whitsunday Waterway Health report card continues to highlight the region’s poor water quality despite years of effort and millions of dollars to clean it up. Regulations will be required to improve water quality and protect the Great Barrier Reef.
The Mackay Whitsunday Healthy Rivers to Reef Partnership which includes members from 22 organisations representing the community, industry, research groups and government has recently released their waterway health report card for the 2014 – 15 year for our region. You can download a copy of the 2015 Report Card hereRead more
The Great Barrier Reef is being threatened from many fronts. Climate change, ocean acidification, coral bleaching, disease outbreaks, extreme weather, shipping, ghost nets, rubbish and introduced species are all stressing the reef. The reef is also being stressed by large quantities of nutrients and sediments flowing into its waters from coastal streams.
The Healthy Rivers to Reef Partnership has been formed to identify water quality problems in rivers from Bowen to Hay Point. The partnership aims to ensure that rivers and streams are properly managed to reduce the flow of pollutants into the reef.
On Wednesday 6 July at 6pm we will be hosting an information session about the partnership to introduce the partnership and the most recent report card on our waterways. Di Tarte and Charlie Morgan will explain how the report card has been developed and how the project will proceed in the future.
If you are concerned about the health of the reef and our waterways, please come along to this meeting.
6pm - 7pm Wednesday 6 July 2016
Mackay Environment Centre, 156 Wood St Mackay
As Queensland prepares to build the largest coal ports in the world on the edge of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and World Heritage Area, few protections are in place to prevent the destruction of fish, coral and iconic marine mammals.
Green and Flatback turtles nest along the beautiful Abbot Point Beach just east of the sand dunes containing the Juru burial grounds which themselves would adjoin the enormous coal stockpiles.
As the coal dust blows off the stockpiles and rain leaches toxic chemicals into the near shore marine waters, the turtles will ingest this pollution via consumption of the local sea grasses.Read more
If coal miners and coal port owners get their way, 16 million cubic metres (~4535 million tonnes) of the seabed at Abbot Point in Queensland will be dredged and dumped into the World Heritage listed Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.
The proposed dredging is to allow the expansion of the Abbot Point Coal Port near Bowen in Queensland.
The mud to be dredged is enough to fill the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) 30 times over.Read more
Dugongs were once so plentiful in Queensland that observers commented that it would take hours for the 100 metre wide herds to pass by, the water thick with their wallowing movements.
Today, dugongs are officially recognised as being vulnerable to extinction.
Will the day come when there will no longer be dugongs in the clear shallow waters off the coast of Queensland, and the only place you’ll be able to see one is in an aquarium?Read more
The Mackay Conservation Group (MCG) was established in 1984. At the time, the battle over the Bloomfield to Cape Tribulation road through the Daintree rainforest was in full swing, a battle that ultimately led to the World Heritage listing of the Cape Tribulation National Park. Members of the Mackay community were very concerned about this destruction and came together to form Mackay Conservation Group.
The preservation of the melaleuca forests at Slade Point on Harbour Board land was also of great concern, as were proposals to subdivide Lindeman Island for development.
The 1989 Qld state election which saw the 32 year reign of the National Party government brought to an end, members of the MCG were actively involved in creating and publishing a local score card on election candidates.
Over the years, other issues MCG has campaigned on include:
- Logging of rainforests
- Pesticide and herbicide run-off to the Reef
- Dredging of harbours and the subsequent damage to the Reef and the marine environment
- Establishment of coal ports in sensitive areas like Dudgeon Point
- Protection of Bimblebox Nature Reserve
- Coal dust and its effect on the local community.
In 1993 MCG properties trust was able to buy the building in Wood Street, Mackay. This security of tenure has enabled the group to develop strong connection to the region.
MCG is a registered charity and has Deductible Gift Recipient status, which enables tax deductibility for donations.
MCG is managed by a volunteer community management committee, and currently employs 4 part time workers.
MCG has more than 1,000 members and supporters.
Watch this video about Mackay Conservation Group's history https://youtu.be/HbLdZ0t1kgs
The Daily Mercury reported on June 4 2013 that Australia only narrowly avoided having UNESCO rate the heritage listed Great Barrier Reef Marine Park labelled "in danger".
The finding is an indictment of the lack of adequate action by state and federal governments to properly protect the Reef.Read more