Seagrass-Watch is a community-based monitoring program developed by Queensland's Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries (QDPI&F) in conjunction with CRC Reef, Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service and community groups. Seagrass-Watch collects data about the condition and trend of near-shore seagrasses throughout Queensland and provides an early warning of major changes in seagrass abundance, distribution and species composition.
Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries conducted Seagrass Watch Training for North Queensland volunteers at Belgian Gardens State School on 4th June 2005. The training was funded by Envirofund with in-kind support from DPI&F, Townsville City Council and Belgian Gardens State School.
Fifteen people attended the SGW training day, along with two representatives from Seagrass Watch in Cairns, DPI&F, CoastCare and Townsville City Council Representatives. Seagrass Watch volunteers ranged from James Cook University students to primary school teachers and representatives from conservation groups across Queensland.
Len McKenzie, from DPI&F, provided an interesting visual presentation on seagrass beds as ecosystems, and the animals relying on these systems for a life source. Len also discussed the major varieties of seagrass species found in Australia, including the predominant plants around the Townsville region, and some handy tips on how to visually identify each species in the field.
Dr. Jane Mellors, from the DPI&F, discussed the Seagrass Watch areas around Townsville and explained the visual and manual survey techniques used. Jane also gave explanations on how visual aids are used for seagrass coverage estimates, and the importance of gaining such vital information at regular times.
After the presentations and a wonderful lunch volunteers made their way down to the Rowes Bay site, where the survey and monitoring techniques were put to use.
Seagrass Watch at Townsville’s 2005 Ecofiesta
The Seagrass Watch program was well displayed and presented at this years’ Ecofiesta. The Seagrass Watch stand generated a lot of interest from the public, with both school children and adults making inquires into the volunteer organisation. A Seagrass identification activity was provided to create a hands-on experience with the visual concept proving popular amongst the many participants. A colouring-in activity for the younger children provided education about the many sea creatures that inhabit seagrass beds.
Overall the day was great success, with the many activities for all age groups providing an exciting and educational experience for all who attended Ecofiesta.
Seagrass Watch Monitoring and Volunteers Moving to Magnetic Island
Jane Mellors presented to the Local Marine Advisory Committee, teachers
from Magnetic Island Primary and members of Magnetic Island Rotary Club
on the new seagrass monitoring program at Picnic Bay Magnetic Island 23rd
April 05. Activities included seagrass monitoring techniques and seagrass
identification. Magnetic Island Primary and Magnetic Island Rotary Club
have adopted a seagrass monitoring site at Picnic Bay and will be monitoring
every 3 months. Funding from Envirofund Round One 2004-2005 and in-kind
contributions from DPI&F and TCC have provided kits and training for
Rowes Bay Junior Rangers from Belgian Gardens State School recently monitored seagrass opposite the Rowes Bay Caravan Park. With training from DPI&F Jane Mellors, students gained a full appreciation of the values of the intertidal zone. This learning experience provided students with a sense of community involvement, and a rare look into the conservation methods used by environmental managers.
Overall the monitoring within the July 2005 period proved to be very beneficial, with a range of new sites across Townsville creating a rather hectic schedule for volunteers and organisers alike. Although more volunteers would be much appreciated, those keen Seagrass Watchers that made themselves available, collected vital information on the health and composition of seagrass beds during the winter months. The composition of seagrass for the winter period for Townsville areas was generally low, but this was to be expected as seagrass is much more productive in the summer months. DPI&F Fisheries Biologist Dr. Jane Mellors is extremely happy with the results so far this year, as there has been a steady increase of growth and productivity since the decimation of areas in the 2000 Cyclone Tessie. Such an increase in seagrass growth has meant that seasonal variation (summer vs. winter months) is now quite evident.
Sculptures on the Strand
Sculptures of a sea turtle and dugong by Adrian John Davis were erected on the Strand in 2004. The sculptures are made of steel and concrete render.
The sea turtle, was named Ancient Mariner by Townsville’s local Indo-Pacific Sea Turtle Conservation Group (IPSTCG).
The dugong was named Halophila by the local Townsville and Thuringowa Seagrass Watch group. The name Halophila is the genus name of the preferred seagrass that dugongs feed on in Cleveland Bay.
Become a Seagrass Watch Volunteer
If you or your school, business, or organisation is interested in becoming
a Seagrass Watch Voluneer Monitoring Team please contact:
Seagrass Watch Links
If you are interested in joining Seagrass Watch in Townsville, contact Conservation Volunteers Australia (CVA) and find out more from the Council's community waterways educator.
Seagrass Metadata and map