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Coral Monitoring in the Great Sandy Strait

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The Butchulla Land and Sea Rangers recently joined the Gidarjil Land and Sea Rangers and the University of the Sunshine Coast out on the water to conduct in-shore coral reef surveys on Butchulla Country.

There is currently a significant knowledge gap about the region’s in-shore coral reefs and limited information available to understand the impact of water quality on Butchulla country.

Supported by the National Geographic’s SEE (Science Exploration Education) initiative, the aim of the 2-year Belbendimin Wulgun Djau (Caring for Sea Country) project is to monitor and build the resilience of the region’s in-shore coral and oyster reefs. 

The Butchulla Land and Sea Rangers join Gidarjil and the University of the Sunshine Coast to monitor corals in Hervey Bay (Photo: BLSR)

These marine ecosystems have a history spanning over 6500 years, the full term of the Holocene. They are unique communities, with diverse coral assemblages and species not seen elsewhere in the Great Barrier Reef or Queensland.

Working with Dr Andrew Olds from the University of the Sunshine Coast, and the Gidarjil Land and Sea Rangers, monitoring was conducted at eight sites.  Six within Port Curtis Coral Coast sea country and two sites (Pialba reef and Point Vernon West) within Butchulla sea country. Pialba reef contained beautiful Turbinaria hard corals, while at Pt Vernon the rangers saw many Goniopora corals. 

With more detailed surveys being recorded annually, to identify reef extent, species and condition, we hope this data will be used to protect and preserve our coral reefs and marine life for the future.

Article contributed by Chantel van Wamelen, Butchulla Land and Sea Rangers 


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