What is MangroveWatch BMR?
MangroveWatch BMR is a community supported initiative helping environmental enthusiasts to monitor the health of estuarine mangroves and salt marshes of tidal wetlands in the Burnett Mary Natural Resource Management region of SE Queensland. This program was made possible by a Community Coastcare grant from the Australian Government to The University of Queensland. The one-year program is a pilot from which we have established effective strategies and methods, as well as, gauged the strong support and enthusiasm amongst community volunteers.
Map of Burnett Mary region in SE Queensland
Mangrove Watch Riverkeeper meeting in Burnett Mary region.
With the ready guidance of science specialists at the hub, volunteers from across the region have eagerly taken up the ambitious task of monitoring the health and condition of mangroves in their patch. Most were already aware of how mangroves are the friend of fishers, providing habitat and food for valuable stocks of fish, shellfish and crustaceans in estuaries and along the coast. A smaller number were aware also of mangroves as coastal kidneys, where the habitat buffers and absorbs excess coastal sediments, nutrients and pesticides from turbulent runoff and storms – further allowing seagrass and coral reefs to survive and flourish close to our coast. But, few had heard about mangroves acting as coastal canaries, where their condition provides end of catchment indicators of land use change and other impacts upstream. In this way, the condition of local mangroves and tidal wetlands, in the role of keystone habitat, shows us the likely status of both upland (upstream) and offshore (downstream) coastal ecosystems.
Our MangroveWatch program has set about achieving a number of specific objectives which include: increasing awareness and knowledge amongst community members of mangrove and salt marsh tidal wetlands helping raise local knowledge of the many benefits of mangroves; providing correct information; to dispel misunderstandings about mangroves and tidal wetlands; guiding/training participants on how to monitor change in mangroves and river health; encouraging enthusiasts to participate in field assessments of estuarine/coastal condition by joining, or starting, a river keeper team; fostering direct communication between community enthusiasts and science experts; and, with training from these specialists, showing how community members can contribute to a much wider assessment of tidal wetland health.