The 2015 Koala Count is an exciting nationwide citizen science survey running from 7-22 November that anyone can join. The aim of the Count is to create a comprehensive picture of koala numbers and locations across the landscape by engaging the community directly in a once-a-year survey. The Count is repeated every year to show trends in koala populations, movement and habitat use over time.
Those who don't have access to a smart phone can submit their sightings directly to the website.
This project is a great opportunity for MINCA members to get involved in citizen science & Koala conservation. Spread the word and join the count (starting this Saturday).
Important notice for all 2013 and 2014 participants:
If you would like to take part in the 2015 survey, you will need to re-register on the new app or website - registration takes just a few minutes. The NatureMapr app replaces BioTag so we suggest you delete the old app off your phone to avoid confusion.
Make a difference to koala conservation - Join the 2014 Koala Count
The Koala Count is an exciting nationwide citizen science survey running from 7-17 November that anyone can join. The aim of the Count is to create a comprehensive picture of koala numbers and locations across the landscape by engaging the community directly in a once-a-year survey. The Count is repeated every year to show trends in koala populations, movement and habitat use over time.
A free, GPS-enabled smartphone app, BioTag, has been developed especially for the Count. The app allows participants to easily record the location of each koala they see, along with the answers to a few short questions on each koala. The survey breaks new ground by allowing anyone to view their own records, as well as the data collected by others.
People who do not own a Smartphone can upload their sightings directly to the Koala Count Data Portal at www.koalacount.org.au.
This project is a great opportunity for MINCA members to get involved in citizen science & Koala conservation.
For more information and to join the count please visit:
Frequently Asked Questions - Click Here
Check out the short video below:
Larger photos and notes below.
Loads of people are discussing the decision to allow the dredging of Abbott Point. Following is Charlie McColl's historical take from a project much closer to home.
LOOKING AT ABBOTT POINT BUT REMEMBERING NELLY BAY
This is what can happen when GBRMPA is so conflicted and constrained by its parliamentary masters that it knowingly and even recklessly approves projects that it cannot possibly police or discipline.
The Federal Environment Minister, Senator "whatever-it-takes" Graham Richardson, personally approved this disaster-not-even-waiting-to-happen after a flying visit to the undisturbed beach and headland in the previous year or so.
He didn't know, or willfully ignored the fact, that Magnetic Island was already World Heritage listed as part of the GBR WH Area and that he and the GBRMPA were ultimately responsible for the care and ahemmm, "preservation", of its outstanding universal values.
So confident or blind was the GBRMPA that it didn't bother to secure from the developer the legally mandatory indemnity insurance (mandatory but didn't do it!), to the value of $20 million, necessary should the project and its backers fail - so they had to sort of deny that they ever needed it. The minister had no idea and soon he was gone - to Channel Nine or whatever.
The 1992 Whitehouse 'Review' of the project and the "procedures followed by GBRMPA in arriving at the decision to issue permit G88/462..." and also " . . to investigate specific criticism and allegations made by "Island Voice" and by Democrat Leader Senator John Coulter against the Authority and its Chairman, Mr Graeme Kelleher over management of the project" - came to nought, as could only be expected. Why would government want to make any other finding? Government cannot find itself at fault.
It wasn't always so. At a joint press release by the Prime Minister, Malcolm Fraser, and the Premier of Queensland, Joh Bjelke-Petersen, in June 1979, the two leaders confirmed that it was the policies of their respective governments to prohibit any drilling on the reef or any drilling or mining which could damage the Reef - "Reef" meaning everything contained within the geographical boundaries of the GBRWHA - things like the form and structure of the individual reefs, the continental shelf, the cays and continental islands, the hydrology, the corals and other invertebrates, the vertebrates, the algae, sea grasses and mangroves and the beaches that form the coastal boundary.
"Both the Premier and the Prime Minister affirmed that the basic policy intention of both governments was to ensure that the Great Barrier Reef AREA be recognised and PRESERVED as an important feature of Queensland's and Australia's heritage." (my emphasis)
Oh how the mighty have lowered the bar.
You will notice that the quarry on Bright Point is completely open to the elements and only a few hay bales "filter" the runoff. Other photos show the plume of brown water carried in the current of the incoming tide straight around Hawkings Point to Picnic Bay - demonstrating the hydrodynamics there.
In the 24 years since, every bit of sludge and sediment and fertilizer and septic runoff from the catchment of Gustav Creek and the occupied marina (no 'liveaboards allowed unless they are living there!), has passed through the harbour, picked up some of the pump-out sediment in the excavated channel outside the harbour (from 1999-2001, see 2nd pic) and drifted it off across the Nelly Bay fringing reef towards Picnic Bay.
The changed hydrodynamics of the shallow reef flat are now causing continuous beach erosion immediately outside the enclosed space. GBRMPA totally denies such effects to this day. They don't want to know and will not accept that ongoing management and policing are still their responsibility.
In Nelly Bay, whatever in your wildest dreams could go wrong, did go wrong and are still going wrong. In my opinion, this is how Abbott Point will end up.
(Note for 2nd photo) By 27 November 2000, with plenty of Queensland Government money now behind it, earthworks were seriously underway. The central section of this excavation (behind the tall crane in the foreground) remains part of the GBR Marine Park, yes true, marine park - the whole, including the Island behind, is World Heritage listed. This was a beach and reef flat with intact Aboriginal material culture in a scatter through the middle of it.
A major debate/discussion about this vitally important matter affecting the reef can be seen here:
The story of Acland's fight against Stage 3 of New Hope Coal's Acland mine has all the makings of a blockbuster movie: a beautiful setting on the fertile blacksoil Darling Downs, a historic town, an unlikely hero in Glen Beutel who refused to sell out to the coal mine when they bought up the entire town and surrounding small farms.
In 2012, it looked to have a Hollywood ending as well, as the Newman government went to the state election with a promise not to allow the mine to expand.
That, however, was just a small twist in the saga. Minor changes to the mined area mean that the Newman government is now considering approving Stage 3. Now is the time to remind the government. The reasons against the mine expansion are compelling, and the public is still firmly opposed to it.
Please put in a submission to the Coordinator-General on the Environmental Impact Statement - it will only take a minute.
They plan to double the amount of coal that is mined on some of our best farmland and shipped out through the suburbs of Toowoomba, Ipswich and Brisbane. It will lead to 27 more, uncovered trains each week. It will destroy koala habitat and endangered grasslands. It will take precious water out of aquifers and away from surrounding farmers every day. The coal will be shipped overseas and burnt, leading to 1.99 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions. It will surround the township of Acland.
We have until the 3rd of March to remind the Queensland Government that this project is bad for us all. Put in a submission here and ask your friends to do the same.
We hope you will stand with us alongside the Oakey Coal Action Alliance and the remaining residents of Acland, asking for a future for Acland that doesn't involve coal.
the six degrees crew
As you may already be painfully aware, yesterday the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA), the agency with, to quote their website, ‘the fundamental obligation’ of protecting the GBR Marine Park, announced its decision to grant North Queensland Bulk Ports a permit to dump 3 million cubic metres (5-6 million tonnes) of dredge spoil in the Marine Park (and World Heritage Area). The granting followed Federal Minister for the Environment Greg Hunt’s approval of the development application in early December. The permit, under the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Act 1975 and the EPBC (Sea Dumping) Act 1981, was the final bureaucratic step for the proposal.
The dumping would be part of the dredging project approved by the Minister, dredging that would be necessary to enable the creation of the world’s largest coal export port at Abbot Point, slap bang in the GBR World Heritage Area and within coo-ee of the Whitsundays.
Coal is, of course, one of the greatest contributors to climate change – and it is that, climate change, which is, as GBRMPA acknowledges, the greatest threat to the Reef…
But we are even further into cloud cuckoo land than that demonstrates.
Yesterday, the same day that the permit was granted, was the final day for public comment on the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area Strategic Assessment, completed after months of work by GBRMPA and work by the Queensland government. The draft reports released acknowledged that the condition of the Reef south of Cooktown (ie. where the people are) as well as biodiversity throughout the Area, is ‘poor and declining’.
And it doesn’t even stop there. In an even more ironic twist, today (1 February) is the deadline for the Australian and Queensland governments to provide their latest report to the World Heritage Committee (the body with the power to remove ‘world heritage’ status) on what they are doing to improve protection of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area!
Outrage at what is perceived as, at least, a dereliction of duty by the Federal government and GBRMPA, has been expressed around the world.
NQCC shares this outrage – and, after careful consideration by the Management Committee over the weeks leading up to the decision, has now committed to taking legal action against the granting of the GBRMPA permit.
We will be represented by the Environmental Defenders Office and, much to our delight, GetUp and Fight for the Reef have both kicked off online fund-raising campaigns in support.
NQCC was very closely involved in and instigated much action in the process of public consultation, including participation in GBRMPA-led workshops and surveys, lengthy and detailed submission, social media posts, media interviews, market stalls and rallies. Unfortunately, this, as well as the enormous work of many other conservation organisations and individuals, and the outpouring of concern from hundreds of scientists and the community, made no difference. In the circumstances we felt left with no choice but to take legal action.
To the extent possible, we will keep members informed of the process we are undertaking and, in the meantime, encourage you to help the fighting fund along with a generous donation. (See links above)
You (and everyone you know) is invited to 'Rising to the Challenge: Townsville's Day of Climate Action'.
Join the uprising & don't forget to RSVP below!
Burke Street headland, The Strand
This Sunday, 17 November, at 4 pm
The last month was the hottest on record.
The last 12 months were the hottest on record.
The last summer was the hottest on record, breaking 120 records.
And what is our government doing about it? Tony Abbott and our new Government are already going backwards on climate change. Just this week they slashed jobs at the CSIRO and decided they wouldn't be sending a senior minister to the climate negotiations in Poland. They've already cut the climate department, abolished the Climate Commission, and are getting ready to try repeal a price on pollution and renewable energy funding.
Right now, it is more important than ever before that we make it clear that the majority of Australians want climate action. Join tens of thousands of Australians gathering in regional and capital cities nationwide to turn up the heat on climate action.
RSVP here to join us this Sunday 17th at Burke St headland, The Strand at 4pm to demand real action on climate change!
Wear 'hot colours' - orange and red - to show that it is getting way too hot!
Bring placards and banners demanding climate action now!
Invite your friends and family to come along with you on the day! Forward this email to anyone who you think might be interested in joining you and ask them to RSVP using the link above.
We look forward to seeing you there!!!
The environment of Queensland forms the foundation for its "four pillar" economy - particularly for tourism. The protected areas are the "jewel in the crown" of the environment and already contribute greatly to our economy. Their survival depends on a consistent and sustained approach to the management and protection of their natural values.
MINCA's submission to the Health and Community Services Committee Inquiry into the Nature Conservation and Other Legislation Amendment Bill raises concerns that many of the proposed amendments weaken existing protection and management of these vital areas.
Click here to view MINCA's submission.
The Queensland Government is currently promoting 'co-existence' between the mining and agriculture sectors. A Queensland farmer has recently described the relationship as something similar to that between a lion and a zebra.
As part of this push, the Qld Government is currently conducting a review of the Strategic Cropping Land Act and developing Regional Plans for both Central Queensland and the Darling Downs.
We've made it easy for you to have your say on these processes today. Take a minute to make a submission.
These new plans and papers are designed to severely weaken measures that are already in place and to provide enough loopholes and exemptions to ensure that the mining industry get their game, every time.
The reality is that even the finest farmland will be opened up for coal and gas mining under this system, along with regional towns that will be at risk of even greater encroachment from these damaging industries. Our food production, health and water resources are all at risk.
Submissions are due on the Discussion Paper on the Strategic Cropping Land review by the 9th September and on the two Regional Plans by 20th September. For more information click here.
Act on this today - and do your bit to rein in the predator that is threatening the future of our country.
Thanks for taking a stand.
Lock the Gate Alliance
As early as this coming Tuesday, 9 July, new Minister for the Environment Mark Butler may be announcing his decision on whether or not to approve the proposed dredging at Abbot Point, about 30 km north of Bowen. The dredging is proposed as part of plans to make Abbot Point the biggest coal port in the world.
The proponents of the development, North Queensland Bulk Ports, propose dredging three million cubic metres of seabed and dumping it into the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. Although they are now claiming that this is environmentally the best option for spoil disposal, their Pubic Environment Report makes it clear that sea-dumping was chosen because it is cheap and easy.
One of the most effective ways of getting a message through to parliamentarians is to give them a call - so will you please do this? The contact phone number for Minister Butler is 02 62777920. It is unlikely that you will actually get to speak with him, but please leave a message with his office.
Reasons against sea-dumping include damage to the GBRWHA and the reef; damage to seagrass meadows and the megafauna depending on them; damage to fishing and tourism industries and recreational fishing; and the likelihood that it would increase the concern of UNESCO - which is threatening to put the GBRWHA on the World Heritage in Danger list because of the extent of coastal development, especially that associated with ports. Given that the Federal government is using hundreds of millions of our taxes to limit sediment runoff into the reef lagoon, it makes no sense to permit dumping of massive quantities of sediment by developers.
Bear in mind that approval of this sea-dumping at Abbot Point would be likely to create an argument for the dumping of 5.6 million cubic metres of dredge spoil into the GBRWHA midway between Cape Cleveland and Magnetic Island - proposed by the Port of Townsville if its expansion goes ahead.
June Norman (2nd from right) with supporters, including 86 year-old Margaret Thorsbourne AO, who walked over 5 km with June.
By now, you may have heard or read about June Norman, the 72 year-old great-grandmother who is walking the 1200 km from Cairns to Gladstone in order to draw attention to the need to take better care of the Great Barrier Reef.
June will be arriving in Townsville on Monday 24 June - and, if you are in town, you are invited to walk the last few kilometres with June from the North Queensland Conservation Council office (at 114 Boundary Street, Railway Estate) to the welcome party at the Gregory Street headland on The Strand. Walkers will be leaving NQCC at 4pm to arrive at The Strand at 5pm.
But if you can't get to town on Monday, there is a great chance to meet up with June courtesy of MINCA member Marie de Monchaux, who is hosting June and fellow walkers at her place in Arcadia during a one-day rest stop.
Marie is inviting MINCA members to come and meet and chat with June over a 'bring you own' vegetarian supper at her place, 46 Armand Way, between 6.30 and 8.30pm on Wednesday 26 June.
Marie says that parking at her place is virtually non-existent so 'park your car at Alma Bay and walk up' - it's no more than 200m. Feel free to bring people who you think may be interested - but please bring something to share in the way of food and drink.