By Naomi Edwards – contact firstname.lastname@example.org, 07 555 28823
Catch up on Gold Coast’s catchment news
Our first thought is that we can’t believe it is already March! Where has the first quarter of 2013 gone?January saw us bracing for the impacts from ex Tropical Cyclone Oswald, which left our beaches heavily eroded and catchments flooded. In February, many member groups got back into community planting events and also helped with field assessments to assess the impacts from the recent wild weather. As we are now in March, between Clean Up Australia Day, submitting grants and keeping up with general business, we better get on with the news…
This issue is no different. As always, it’s full of catchment-community action, ideas and notices. You’ll probably spot a few new names to the network, member groups and grant success. A happy interview with Mark Tierney will excite you about the transforming community-hub at Country Paradise Parklands – what a project!
Just one more slice of inspiration is Landcare’s L.I.F.E. campaign. As Landcare Is For Everyone, so too is the Gold Coast Catchment Association. If you have something to share, need support or would like to know how together we can make a real difference on regional scale please get in contact with us. Because together we can restore our catchments to places of beauty, clean water and native habitat that will support our communities and our wildlife for the centuries to come.
From the Gold Coast Catchment Association committee
Enjoy Gold Coast’s only community catchment news!
From the Gold Coast Catchment Association
In this newsletter:
- Gold Coast Catchment Association 2013 committee
- State support with successful grants
- On location who’s who in the zoo with Mark Tierney
- Who is who in GCCC? Spotlight on NAMU
- The south east corner
- Flooding and erosion impacts
- SEQ Catchments Landcare Tool Box
- The scars are evident: our beaches need more sand
- Landcare’s L.I.F.E. campaign
- Yeskandoo… to a life less plastic
Enjoy Gold Coast’s only community catchment news!
From the Gold Coast Catchment Association
In November last year we held our AGM at Country Paradise Parklands (our new home), which was attended by members from the hinterland to the coastal regions. It wasn’t hard to fill the committee positions – so, congratulations to our 2013 committee.
- President and Treasurer – Bardhold Blecken
- Vice-President – Mark Teirney
- Secretary and communications – Naomi Edwards
- Committee members – Wal Mayr, Bruce Whittington and Kris Boody
- Advisors – Janine Sigley, Linda Durham and Peter Davidson
Our next committee meeting is on Tuesday 14th May at 5.30pm Country Paradise Parklands, Nerang. All members are welcome and if you are lucky there is usually cake on offer!
In 2012, the Newman Government launched a new grant scheme for natural resource management organisations called Everybody’s Environment Grant. Eligible projects needed to include either community and school gardens, protect wildlife habitat for threatened, protected and iconic species, clean-up creeks, waterways and other local areas, control pests and weeds, and/or restore degraded landscapes. The Gold Coast region was awarded two successful projects through the Gold Coast Catchment Association. Congratulations to:
- Austinville Landcare
- Currumbin Eco-village
Both member groups will be able to support their on-going restoration plans at Austinville and Currumbin, respectively.
To get to know who’s who in the zoo of Gold Coast catchments we intend to shine the spotlight on our volunteers and member group. This time round, Mark Tierney sheds some light on why volunteering is so important to the community and environment.
Naomi: What is the best thing about volunteering?
Mark: The people! The sense of doing something good that extends to improve the community and environment, forming friendships, meeting new people and learning new skills – and of course the serious amount of pay you get doing it.
Naomi: What is best thing about volunteering at Country Paradise Parklands?
Mark: It’s become a continuation of ‘doing it’ and that is creating a home of the many community groups, which is a dream of mine.
Naomi: What is the best achievement at Country Paradise Parklands so far?
Mark: Finishing the community nursery, creating space for tools and planning for the future of the site.
Naomi: What is important to maintain energy?
Mark: It is definitely having the right people around you, though I’m only a bus driver and it’s the passengers on board that create the change. As well as support from key partners and dedicated GCCC officers and SEQ Catchments.
Naomi: Where do you get your energy?
Mark: I don’t really know, though it’s probably from the support to help me follow through the ideas to create change, and those who just want to have a crack at this and that.
Naomi: If you found a genie in a bottle what three wishes you would ask?
Mark: 1) Money, money, money 2) enable other community groups to start to use the space 3) to be able to finish was set out to achieve in 10 years time.
The freestyle question: What do you hate?
Mark: I hate being called a greenie/ tree hugger – it’s about being realistic and giving back.
The Natural Areas Management Unit (NAMU) is part of the Gold Coast City Council’s Parks and Recreational Services Branch that sits within the Community Services directorate. NAMU is one of many Council sections aimed at protecting the natural values of the Gold Coast. NAMU’s chief role is increase the liveability of the Gold Coast through the active management of the 13,000 hectare natural areas estate, which is spread over 780 separate reserves throughout the City of the Gold Coast, one of the most biodiverse and rapidly expanding regions in Australia!
NAMU is divided into 3 separate sections (Operations and Assets, Fire & Biodiversity Conservation and Restorations) and the range of tasks undertaken are indicative of the complexity and diversity of the natural area estate. The unit is involved in the preparation of management plans to direct future uses and protect natural systems, to manage for fire and reduce risks to adjoining properties, and to plan active on-ground restoration works. Implementation of these plans is a huge task, and one that is undertaken by NAMU’s Rangers, Bush Regenerators and Project Officers, with a view to ensuring that the community receives the best conservation outcomes and value for money!
NAMU engages with the wider community in many of its activities, and provides the opportunity to be involved in ecological restoration through the Beaches to Bushland Volunteer Restoration program. Some activities include identifying and controlling environmental weeds, identifying and encouraging native species, maintaining the site and planting where required. NAMU provides a plan that guides the on ground works, and are responsible for organising all aspects of the group days, including the preparation and maintenance of the site, supplying plants, mulch, tools, materials, technical advice, attending group days and up-skilling volunteers.
For those on the ground, Saraya Robinson is the friendly-face of NAMU who is the go-to person and woman in command for the Beaches to Bushland program. She is passionate about the community and environment and when she is not on the ground at a Beaches to Bushland activity she is being a mum to Kai of 18 months.
NAMU has forged some long-lasting and strong partnerships with the community and this can be attributed to their enthusiasm and willingness to assist the community to take an active role in the environmental health of their City. As the City of Gold Coast grows, these special places that we hold in stewardship for the community will become even more precious. Creating and maintaining strong partnerships with the community is the way forward, and NAMU, as an important arm of Council is well placed to meet those challenges.
Wondering how you can be involved? Join a Bushcare or Landcare group or attend one of our free NaturallyGC workshops. If you have any enquiries about NAMU or want to get involved in their programs, please call Saraya on 55811537 or alternatively email her at email@example.com or click here
Once again, congratulations to SEQ Catchments for their strategic and coordinated approach to assess the impacts left from January’s storms. They were out and about as soon as the hazardous conditions had died down, assessing flood-affected areas across southeast Queensland. These include eroded areas across urban waterways, coastal sites and rural landscapes, as well as debris build up.
Compared to the rest of the region, the Gold Coast did OK. From the hinterland to the coast, areas where community partnerships have been focusing on ecological restoration were impacted to some extent. Local reports from BeachCare estimated losing an average of 1.5m for their ocean foreshore dune care sites, and up to 1m along some of the lower energy foreshores. Austinville Landcare reported that their works had held up, besides losing a few new plantings and the same goes for the Nerang River Keepers. Times like this remind us that catchment management is extremely important and strategic investments will certainly help build a more resilient landscape for next time!
For more information about the impacts across SEQ Catchments region, please click here.
Straight from the words of SEQ Catchments, we are “blessed with a large number of community based groups that focus on managing, protecting and restoring various aspects of South East Queensland’s natural resources”. One avenue that has seen community shape the course of natural resources management has been the Landcare movement – “a grass roots movement that harnesses individuals and groups under the ethic of caring for the land.”
In response to the 2012 regional community feedback sessions held across the region, it was identified that a more coordinated approach was needed to support future and existing groups to access information from a centralised location.
Yes, centralised and only one click away! SEQ Catchments have recently launched the COMMUNITY TOOLKIT on their website. There are nine cornerstone tabs, which include everything from governance, insurance, marketing, funding, health and safety… The Gold Coast Catchment Association was involved in the steering committee. Big congratulations to Christy Samorowski, Simon Brown and Sibel Korhaliller from SEQ Catchments for making it happen.
The resource kit was funded by SEQ Catchments Ltd, and the SEQ Regional Landcare Facilitator, through funding from the Australian Government’s Caring for our Country
Clean Up Australian Day
A few dark clouds and windy pockets across the Gold Coast didn’t seem to keep away those with the passion for keeping our catchments clean for Clean Up Australia Day. Yes, the first Sunday of March has come and gone, which over 30 sites were registered across the Gold Coast, with many new and returning participants helping out.
Although the results are still being counted, the weight of rubbish collected is expected to be higher than recent years. This is due to the continual wet weather and soggy catchments as there has been an increase in surface water flowing over the land and with that allowing all sorts of rubbish and debris to enter our catchments.
If you didn’t register or participate this year, Clean Up Australia Day will be back next year! Though, in the meantime remember cleaning up Australia is everyday!
Living along an active and dynamic sandy coast there will always be a level of vulnerability to coastal erosion. Simply as wind, waves, tides and current shape our coast and build beaches, so two can these four-awesome-forces deflect sand away from the coastline. After a series of recent strong swells, our beaches have been left with scars of erosion and little walkable beach. The significance of the erosion has additionally heightened as we enter our next busy period along the coast with Easter fast approaching and more storms heading our way. What is in GCCC plan to help mitigate the issue?
Unfortunately, Gold Coast City Council’s $22,000 a day budget doesn’t cover what needs to be done. That being, extensive beach nourishment works and follow-up maintenance along the city’s seawall. It has been estimated $13million will be needed to kick-start the works, which is why liaison with State Government has been initiated to support protection works – for the coast and local economy. While this is an on-going issue between our decision-makers, it is best to be patient, access the beach via safe beach-access points and keep off the dunes – and no sand boarding!
Please note: during the editing of the newsletter we have formally submitted our position on the recent sand extractions from the dunes along Surfers Paradise beach. Please contact us if you’d like to be updated.
Just when you think together we are making progress to the health of our coastal corridor – our dunes – storm surge run-up strips much of the hard work and community input in a matter of a couple of days of strong swells. Though, this is the nature of dune management and fortunately through ongoing support from Gold Coast City Council, Griffith Centre for Coastal Management’s BeachCare program has been able to foster a more educated community network about the management of Gold Coast’s dunes and beaches.
Incredible progress has been made in key erosion hotspots, as well as vandalism-prone areas. BeachCare now manages 13 sites from Paradise Point to Rainbow Bay and engages with many groups, such as Griffith University’s Student Linx program to increase youth involvement. Additional funding from Landcare has supported a new partnership site at Tugun with the 65 ½ Boardriders Club – which is very exciting – especially with a new fresh face coordinating BeachCare.
Joel Hayes is the new BeachCare Coordinator, taking the reigns from Naomi Edwards, who was at the BeachCare helm for four years. The success of the program is attributed from the foundation work from each coordinator, so it is only expected to see BeachCare continue to thrive.
You can contact Joel Hayes on 5552 8829, 0414 764 374 or via email firstname.lastname@example.org. Naomi Edwards is still involved at Griffith Centre for Coastal Management, however, for community, catchment related activities she can be contacted via the Gold Coast Catchment Association email: email@example.com.
If there is one thing we know what community-based catchment management breathes, it is new life into our environment and community. Landcare has incorporated such an ethos to promote the cause that land care is for everyone with the new catchy campaign – Landcare Is For Everyone – L.I.F.E.
If you haven’t seen the Southern Cross supported advertisements for the campaign take a few minutes to watch the ad on YouTube. The fun, creative approach strategically promotes how all activities that promote sustainable land management practices is ‘Landcare’. From citizen science, community plantings, sustainable agriculture to innovative land management practices, the time has for everyone to help maintain the balance of life by becoming involved and thinking about their actions every day and what impact they have.
The new website is easy to navigate and you can upload your own events, share stories and contribute to discussion. Visit landcarelife.com and check out the downloadable resources to snazz-up your ‘Landcare’ material – click here!
A special thanks to Nicolas Yanez from Griffith University for his passionate involvement over the summer to support us to drive the Landcare LIFE campaign!
If you feel that your life is a little too plastic sometimes, well take the time to look into what Yeskandoo… to a life less plastic is doing. Inspired by the documentary, ‘Bag It’, they realised there was something to do! That something was to start a campaign to raise awareness of plastic pollution, help educate and effect change in our community. In less than a year they have achieved incredible success and engagement across schools, universities and businesses. So, here is a quick run on recent events:
Since December, Yeskandoo has had a market stall with support from the Gold Coast Catchment Association and Gold Coast City Council. The aim of having a market presence is to highlight the effects of plastics in our waterways-oceans and to talk to the public about transitioning to a life less plastic. They have met many people and through these interactions started to understand what people are doing, where there are problems and how they might be able to help to reduce the use of plastics. Additionally, they have been screening ‘Bag It’ at various schools from the Gold Coast to the Sunshine Coast as a result from meeting people at the roaming markets. Plus, by providing simple alternatives to everyday products (e.g. 100% plastic-free water bottles, bamboo toothbrushes and hairbrushes), they have raised awareness about simple solutions to transition to a life less plastic. NOW: after a few humble months at LOHAS, Yeskandoo is spreading their wings and rotating around marketing across southeast Queensland.
Griffith University community student internship: Skye Miller
OK, one of the first things Skye Miller did when offered a 50-hour community internship with Yeskandoo was to watch ‘Bag It’. She was so horrified by the pervasiveness of plastic in our lives; she committed to live a week without plastic and extremely enthusiastic to help Yeskandoo on their mission. Yeskandoo found the best way to provide an opportunity for Skye would be to connect with her peers and run a Facebook competition. She is currently organising ‘Bag It’ screenings and market stalls at Griffith University and researching interests for ‘Bag It’ screenings at Gold Coast schools. She is passionate and will be a wonderful addition to the supermum team of Yeskandoo!
Yeskandoo asks one simple question, ‘ Can you dramatically reduce your use of single use plastics?’ To follow Yeskandoo… to a life less plastic, please visit their website.
Due to the elevated creek levels, increase creek flows and likelihood that the Platypus have moved to more sheltered grounds for a while, PlatypusWatch will commence surveys in May.
- Currumbin 4 May
- Coomera 5 May
- Tallebudgera 18 May
- Mudgeeraba 19 May
These will be afternoon surveys commencing at around 4pm. Contact Natalie Hoskins for more information via email – firstname.lastname@example.org. Happy watching Platypus!
“Communities caring for catchments” is the catch cry of Gold Coast Waterwatch and their mission is to engage as many people as possible across a broad spectrum of the community to become aware of water quality issues, catchment health and everybody’s contribution to the health of waterways.
Students find out about the health of Gold Coast waterways by looking at the water bugs, the physical and chemical parameters like pH, turbidity and phosphates as well as creek side vegetation.
Last year nearly 5000 students from 36 Gold Coast schools and 9 community groups participated in 100 water quality monitoring testing days conducted at 33 local waterways across each local catchment.