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Environmental News

Swimming with Whales

I’m just back from a project in Tonga, studying the whale tourism industry. The thing about ‘swimming with whales’ is you’re not simply swimming in the same ocean as the whales, you’re swimming with the whales. It’s very clearly a two-way interaction. The Tongan government rightly regulates the industry to manage the impact of tourism on the whales (much as Australian governments do): swimmers may not approach within 5m of …Read More

Biologists, Fish and the Possibility of Something Good

The Neptune Islands are famous for their great white sharks that congregate to feed on the pups of New Zealand fur seals, and prior to their local extinction (likely in the mid 1900s), little penguins. But true to nature, the sharks don’t always appear ‘on cue’. After 4 days ‘in the cage’, in water much colder than I’m used to, with no sharks sighted it was time to head back …Read More

More Research Won’t Save The Reef

The Commonwealth’s $444 million grant to the Great Barrier Reef Foundation will ensure ongoing employment for a significant number of scientists (which is no bad thing), but will not save the reef. Many reef scientists are doing an admirable impression of one or more of the 3 wise monkeys, and finding ‘purpose’ in looking for ‘the super-coral’, designing large shade sails or in the belief that endless monitoring of the …Read More

The Environment is for ‘Everyday’

I’m wondering why we need the reminder?  Its trite to say ‘the environment is all around us’, so we must realise the state it’s in.  The reality is that all things are relative and if there’s just a bit more litter today than we noticed last week, we’ll that’s not too bad is it?  It’s human nature, and it’s a characteristic of human nature that allows us to not see …Read More

Native Fish Management Workshop

Last week, frc environmental’s Dr Ben Cook lead a very productive native fish management workshop on behalf of Redland City Council.  Recognising the implications of the recently gazetted Biosecurity Act, Redlands City Council is keen to develop a clear framework that will support its response to its General Biosecurity Obligation, and allow that response to work synergistically with its existing initiatives focused on the sustainable management of wetlands and waterways. With …Read More

Invasive and Noxious Aquatic Species and the Queensland Biosecurity Act 2014 – Has the bar to development been raised again?

Introduction The Biosecurity Act 2014 came into force on 1 July 2016, and is underpinned by the Biosecurity Regulation 2016. While the Act addresses a wide range of activities, this paper focuses on activities relevant to stakeholders involved in the management of aquatic ecosystems such as local government, property developers, infrastructure providers, and the mining and gas industries, and discusses their obligations under the Biosecurity Act.   While our focus is …Read More

Conserving Fish Passage – Managing Waterway Barriers

frc environmental’s specialist and suitably qualified freshwater ecologists provide innovative fish passage solutions for all types of waterway barrier works, ensuring cost-effective, practical solutions that are readily accepted by the regulator. What is a Waterway Barrier and what constitutes ‘Waterway Barrier Works’? A waterway barrier is any form of infrastructure built on a waterway[1] that impedes flow or connectivity. This includes permanent structures (e.g. dams, weirs, culverts and bed-level road …Read More

Aquatic Ecology No Impediment to Quarry Development

Although the recent judgment by the Planning and Environment Court refused Boral’s appeal (and thus its immediate prospects of developing a new quarry on the Gold Coast), Judge Jones made clear that none of the issues relating to aquatic ecology raised by Council’s consultants were impediments to the development of a quarry. Through a combination of review work and fresh field survey, frc environmental’s Dr John Thorogood successfully demonstrated that …Read More

Conserving Critical Environmental Flows – with Dr Ben Cook

Conserving Critical Environmental Flows Flow as the Dominant Influence on River Ecology Water flow has been described as the ‘master variable’ or ‘maestro variable that orchestrates pattern and process’ in stream and river ecology, as it has a dominant role in shaping and sustaining fundamental properties of riverine ecosystems [i].  The structure and complexity of physical habitat in streams (e.g. channel geometry, the arrangement of pool and riffle habitats, types and …Read More

Mistake Mountain Crayfish (Euastacus jagara) and the endangered Fleay’s barred frog (Mixophyes fleayi)

frc environmental assisted in establishing a baseline for the critically endangered Mistake Mountain Crayfish (Euastacus jagara) and the endangered Fleay’s barred frog (Mixophyes fleayi). Under challenging conditions we used a combination of burrow counts, trapping and water quality measurements to gain a better understanding of the abundance and ecology of these rare crayfish. The survey is used to inform management of walking tracks in Main Range National Park and will …Read More