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Pages tagged "water"

Water quality in Mackay region under supervision

pioneer1.jpgHealthy waterways are a vital ingredient in the social, cultural, economic and environmental constructs of a healthy society, with the state of freshwater and marine environments, inclusive of the Great Barrier Reef, providing invaluable benefits throughout the Mackay and Whitsunday region. The health of these catchments are essential to bestowing clean and safe drinking water, providing nursery habitats for recreational and commercial fisheries, as well allocating sufficient water sources for efficient agricultural productivity.

A 2015 report, undertaken by the Healthy Rivers to Reef Program, investigated both freshwater and marine environments throughout the region. A number of areas, particularly the river basins, were standardized as being in a ‘poor’ state. One of these low-ranking river basins was the Pioneer River, one of the largest utilized water sources within region.

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Coral Bleaching Risk Increasing for the Mackay Whitsunday Region

Bleached_coral._Photograph_supplied_by_the_Australian_Marine_Conservation_Society.pngThe devastating coral bleaching event of 2016 may be returning in 2017. 

Current ocean conditions have reef scientists worried that we may see serious coral bleaching later this year, particularly in the Mackay/Whitsunday region. 

According to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), eastern Australia waters are unusually warm, increasing the risk of bleaching. 

NOAA’s Coral Reef Watch website indicates that the Mackay/Whitsunday region is likely to experience Alert Level One (bleaching likely) and Alert Level Two (mortality likely) over the next 4 to 8 weeks. (See NOAA chart below showing warning alerts and areas that are most at risk.) 

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority is already fielding bleaching reports from Mackay in the south right up to the far north This is causing concern and many reef scientists fear another major coral bleaching event.

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Green Zones Helping the Reef Recover

Thalassoma_lunare_small.jpgGreen Zones on the Great Barrier Reef do more than just give fish a place to grow larger and more abundant. They also protect the reef itself and help it recover.

Last year the Great Barrier Reef suffered the largest and most widespread of the three mass bleaching events of the past two decades. The bleaching event affected reefs all over the world. When it hit Australia, it evolved very rapidly. Eventually over 93% of reefs were affected by bleaching. The northern section of the Great Barrier Reef was most badly damaged, with between 50 and 90% of corals dying. 

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Poor Water Quality Continues to Plague Reef

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.  pioneer-river.jpg

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 here  

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Help us stop the mining water grab

Queensland mining companies are about to have one of their Christmas presents taken away and they aren’t happy. The Newman government passed legislation to allow them uncontrolled access to underground water without a licence. That law is due to take effect in December. If the legislation is implemented then miners will have the right to water without a licence. There will be no appeal process. There will be no need for the water to be used sustainably.

The state government has introduced a new law which will prevent mining companies having unrestricted access to underground water. If the law passes it will mean that mining companies will abide by the same rules as farmers and graziers and obtain a licence.

The law is now in the hands of the parliament's Agriculture and Environment Committee. You can help ensure that the law is passed by making a submission to the committee. The website is:
http://www.parliament.qld.gov.au/work-of-committees/committees/AEC/inquiries/current-inquiries/EPUWMOLAB2016

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LNP Urannah deal questioned

ABC News reporter, Mark Willacy, has been investigating the method by which a $3 million grant was made to a Brisbane company to undertake a feasibility study into a dam at Urannah Creek west of Mackay.

Earlier this year MCG engaged an engineer to undertake a review of the previous 18 studies into the possibility of constructing this dam. The review found that non of the previous studies found that the project would generate an economic return.

You can read our full report at: http://bit.ly/2djKZoS


Australia's environment laws are too weak to protect the reef

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Mackay Conservation Group will hold a rally at Bluewater Quay at 6pm on Wednesday 31 August to call on the federal government to overturn the Adani Carmichael mine approval. Other rallies will be held in Brisbane and Melbourne.

Federal environment minister Josh Frydenberg must reconsider the approval of the Adani Carmichael mine and review the environmental legislation that has allowed the mine to proceed.

In Brisbane today the Federal Court announced a decision to reject the Australian Conservation Foundation’s appeal against the mine approval. The court’s decision means that the world’s largest privately owned coal mine now has moved one step closer to opening.

If the mine proceeds it will produce billions of tonnes of carbon dioxide and will be a disaster for the reef and for the tens of thousands of tourism jobs dependent upon it.

MCG is calling on the environment minister Josh Frydenberg to reconsider his predecessor’s approval of this mine in the light of the greatest coral bleaching event the world has seen.

Burning coal means a hotter climate and a hotter climate means coral death and death of the tourism industry. 70,000 people are employed reef tourism along the Queensland coast. Burning coal from Carmichael mine will put those jobs at risk.

The environment minister knows that there is a limit on the amount of coal we can burn if we wish to protect the reef but the laws that he is responsible for do not provide the legal protection necessary to ensure our greatest natural treasure is protected.

We are also calling on the environment minister to introduce a climate change trigger in Federal environment laws.

You can help by attending a rally at Mackay's Bluewater Quay at 6pm on Wednesday to call on the federal government to overturn the Adani Carmichael mine approval. 


Keep an Eye on the Reef

img_0229_small.jpgKeep an eye on the reef

If you spend time out on the water or by the water’s edge then you should think about downloading the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority’s mobile app “Eye on the Reef”.

The app is one of the tools that GBRMPA and marine scientists use to learn more about the location of marine creatures. 
It enables scientists and reef managers to better target research and monitoring activities.

Eye on the Reef is a program started in 1997. At that time tourism operators made weekly reports to GBRMPA about the state of the coral reefs they were visiting. 

The program enabled scientists to collect and analyse a much greater volume of data than ever before.
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Urannah Dam will waste taxpayers money

Urannah_landscapes-25_copy.jpegMackay Conservation Group released a report last week which shows that tens of millions of taxpayer’s dollars will be wasted if the proposed Urannah Dam west of Mackay goes ahead

The report is a review of 17 previous studies into the dam dating back to the 1960s, none of which have provided sufficient evidence to justify a new dam, yet the federal government has recently committed $3 million to an 18th feasibility study of the Urannah Dam proposal.

The report, An Economic Analysis Of The Urannah Dam Project, found that it is most likely that for every $1 spent on the dam, only 75 cents of economic benefit would be returned. Even the most optimistic scenario from previous studies shows that the Urannah Dam would barely break even.

The key findings of the report are:

  • The Urannah dam is a more expensive option to deliver water for irrigation, the Galilee basin, and for the Bowen region;
  • The Urannah dam is a cheaper option to supply water to the Bowen basin, however, there does not appear to be enough additional demand for water supply to warrant construction of another water source in the near future;
  • The Burdekin Falls Dam costs $11.5M per annum less than the proposed Urannah dam at delivering the same economic outcome;
  • The Urannah dam provides a return of $0.75 for every dollar invested assuming full consumption of water by agriculture and mining.
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Healthy Rivers to Reef Info Session

Healthy_Rivers_to_Reef_Partnership_Logo.pngThe 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.

5489466-3x2-940x627.jpgThe 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

RSVP at mackayconservationgroup.org.au/healthy_rivers

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