Burnett Mary Regional Nodes
Including Bundaberg, Burrum River System, Tin Can Bay and Hervey Bay
The Burnett Mary region (BMR) extends from Bustard head to Tin Can Bay on the southern tropical Queensland coast. Within the BMR there is an estimated 239km2 of tidal wetlands within 5 major catchments with relatively equal ratios of mangrove and saltmarsh area (Prange and Duke 2004) indicating a similar climate and rainfall patterns (Fosberg, 1961). These catchments comprise the southern-most catchments that influence water quality within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and flow directly into the Great Sandy Strait Marine Park. Agricultural and industrial land use in the region varies between catchments, with some catchments having high levels of disturbance and others remaining less disturbed. This provides a unique environmental setting with both highly disturbed catchments and pristine catchments situated within the same climatic region enabling a direct intra-estuary comparison of tidal wetlands. The region has also been the focus of a recent trial of a State of the Estuaries reporting system. The framework worked and produced logical results and good scientifically based report cards. It further identified key issues within the region and potential management action to improve estuarine health. The estuarine framework trialled in the Burnett Mary region has now been modified for use on lacustrine and palustrine systems. Recent trials have recently been completed in 3 catchments across the state, and there are plans for a state-wide assessment. The Queensland SoE team plans to incorporate this estuarine framework logic into all its sections for future SoE reports. Such measures are needed urgently. As one of the fastest growing regions in the country, the Burnett Mary region is at risk of serious environmental degradation.
The Burnett Mary Region with the four regional nodes of MangroveWatch BMR highlighted; Bundaberg node; Burrum node; Hervey Bay node and Tin Can Bay node.
The Burnett Mary Region provides a unique setting in which to develop a community tidal wetland monitoring program. Within the region are a number of active conservation organizations that are concerned about increasing environmental degradation and the potential threat of future sea-level rise on their coastal environments.
The inshore and nearshore coastal waters of the Burnett Mary Region provide habitat to a high number of Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC) listed species and approximately 37% of Australia’s coastal fish and crustacean species (Kirkwood & Hooper 2004). These waters are highly productive and support economically valuable commercial and recreational fisheries, marine aquaculture, and tourism. It has been estimated that the commercial and recreational inshore fin fishery in the region is worth $52 Million per annum (Kirkwood & Hooper 2004). The high fisheries productivity of these waters is largely supported by the presence of large areas of seagrass beds, that also provide habitat to species of high conservation value such as dugong, and extensive areas of tidal wetlands that provide important fish habitat. The region supports areas of international significance with over 1000km2 included in listed RAMSAR wetland sites. The estuaries of the Burnett Mary region influence the southern Great Barrier Reef (GBR) and are therefore included as part of the GBR catchments. The conservation and economic value of the waters has recently been recognized with the establishment of the Great Sandy Strait Marine Park in 2006. These features highlight the importance of ongoing monitoring of coastal environments and more specifically tidal wetlands, to ensure the economic, social and environmental values are maintained into the future.
Target Estuaries and Shorelines
- Burnett River
- Elliottt River
- Coonarr Creek
- Burrum River System including Cherwell, Gregory and Isis Rivers
- Eli Creek
- South-Western Fraser Island Coast
- Kauri Creek
- Snapper Creek
- Tee-Bar Creek
- Carlo Creek
- Carland Creek
- Norman Point