The Queensland Coastal Conference was held in Airlie Beach this week. Executive Officer of the Partnership Charlie Morgan presented on the benefits of developing a regional report card approach. Many of our Partners also presented to a captive audience, promoting best practice in environmental and coastal management. Attendees also heard from Chair of Tourism Whitsundays and Partnership Management Committee member Allen Grundy, who presented on the Whitsunday tourism picture including the importance of improving our understanding of marine and coastal ecosystem health.
Keynote speaker Fred Gela, Mayor of Torres Strait Island Regional Council, discussed the consequences of sea level rise in his own community and the potential to effect Airlie Beach township and other coastal areas in our region. Reef Catchments staff presented on the Marine Classrooms Program, control of invasive prickly pear along our coastline and Climate Adaption and Mitigation Planning in the Mackay Whitsunday Region. RCL also hosted a tour of Systems Repair works in the O’Connell River basin which showed attendees a number of sites impacted by Tropical Cyclone Debbie (including a few success stories which weathered the cyclone!).
Mackay Recreational Fishers Alliance’s Luke Galea gave a passionate presentation on the success of the Net Free Zone in Mackay.
Whitsunday Regional Council and Mackay Regional Council presented on a number of topics including Urban Coastal foreshore reserve management, voluntary mechanisms for stormwater quality management, reducing feral animal impacts, coastal weather events and their impact and managing sand accumulation in urban coastal water ways and community expectations.
The Queensland Government’s Department of Environment and Heritage Protection also covered a wide range of topics including tools to assist in offset delivery in the coastal environment, stitching together the tidal tapestry; classification, mapping and values assessment of the intertidal and sub-tidal benthic habitats of Central Queensland, an overview of Wave Buoy Measurement in Queensland Past Present and Future, Environmental Approvals for Public Marine Infrastructure and Monitoring wetland condition in the Great Barrier Reef.
The take home messages for Charlie were definitely that more can be achieved collaboratively, more innovative and stable financial mechanisms need to be established to fund further research and projects in our region, and that the Coastal Conference itself is a valuable forum for networking and collaboration. We look forward to attending the next Queensland Coastal Conference!