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Kirra Reef Biota Monitoring Program – We’re back!

Serving as yet another example that whilst others might be cheaper, frc environmental delivers what they promise, frc environmental is delighted to again be working with the Tweed River Sand Bypassing Project, monitoring the effects of the sand bypass on Kirra Reef. Originally designed by frc environmental’s Senior Principal ecologist Dr John Thorogood in the 1990’s, the monitoring program has evolved alongside our understanding of the impacts of sand bypassing.  Today, the sand bypass closely mimics the natural northerly migration of sand and operates alongside a healthy and vibrant reefal community. The monitoring program combines the latest in ROV technology, together with an experienced scientific dive team to deliver robust insights that support confident decision making. Watch this space for

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‘Suitably Qualified Persons’ – a perspective for freshwater ecological assessment and compliance auditing

Development approval conditions typically require some form of environmental assessment to demonstrate compliance (e.g. implementation of an environmental monitoring program). Some developments, especially those involving environmentally relevant activities (ERAs), also require compliance auditing. The State requires that a ‘suitably qualified person’ (SQP) does these assessments and audits. When is a ‘Suitably Qualified Person’ Required? In Queensland, the definition of a SQP is a person who has ‘professional qualifications, training, skills or experience relevant to the nominated subject matter and can give authoritative assessment, advice and analysis to performance relative to the subject matter using the relevant protocols, standards, methods or literature’. While the Flora Survey Guidelines for Protected Plants (pursuant to the Nature Conservation Act 1992) provides guidance for self-assessment,

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Acid Sulfate Soils – Nature’s Time-Bomb

Coastal development often throws up the term ‘acid sulfate soils’.  What are acid sulfate soils and why are they associated with environmental damage? Acid sulfate soils (ASS) are typically formed by bacteria interacting with vegetable matter and iron, as sea levels rose along the coast at the end of the last ice age.  In an undisturbed state below the water table, these soils are harmless (and known as potential acid sulfate soils or PASS).  However, when exposed to air, either by excavation or through lowering of the water table, acid sulfate soils release sulfuric acid. Rainfall following dry weather typically triggers the release of sulfuric acid, turning downstream waters acidic and releasing metals like iron and aluminium.  At sufficient concentration,

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Focus on waterways integral to ShapingSEQ promises

The Queensland Department of Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning has recently released the draft ‘South East Queensland Regional Plan’ (ShapingSEQ), which represents a revision of the first statutory plan for SEQ released in 2009. ShapingSEQ provides a framework for managing the region’s growth over the next 25 years, and proposes policy directions and benchmarks for managing growth and protecting and enhancing economic, social, cultural and environmental values of the region. The plan aims to ensure that future generations of Queenslanders can enjoy all the benefits of a great SEQ lifestyle. At the launch of the 2016 Healthy Waterways and Catchments Report Card it was reported that over two thirds of people in the region use waterways for leisure and relaxation,

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The Invasion of Australia’s Aquatic Ecosystems by Tilapia: Consequences of the ‘Free-Ride’

Tilapia were first introduced to Australia in the 1970s for the aquarium industry. Since then they have steadily expanded their range in Queensland and Western Australia, and have recently been reported from the northern rivers of New South Wales. The geographic range of tilapia in Australia has primarily been expanded by recreational fishers. However, biological and behavioural characteristics, including traits such as aggressive behaviour, broad environmental tolerances and high fecundity, have aided the spread and subsequent establishment of new populations. Many highly valuable aquatic ecosystems in Australia are at risk from the invasion and proliferation of tilapia. Consequently, preventing, controlling and mitigating their spread is an important environmental management issue. The Invasion Success of Tilapia: Biological Factors and the ‘Free

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History no guide to shark management

The Queensland Government cites the statistic of only a single fatality at a beach protected under it’s shark management program in the last 54 years, as evidence that meshing and drum-lining are effective in preventing shark attack. But can these shark management methods really be expected to keep our beaches safe? Both meshing and drum lining are essentially indiscriminate and consequently controversial means of ‘culling’ potentially dangerous sharks: the by-catch, often comprising endangered species (turtles, whales, harmless sharks and rays, etc) is commonly significant. Consequently, the use of these methods of shark management demand a sound scientific basis. And whilst the combination of meshing and drum-lines is generally considered to have reduced the incidence of shark attack, the absence of fatalities

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