A CSIRO-led project “Design and implementation of Management Strategy Evaluation for the Great Barrier Reef inshore”, funded as part of the NERP Tropical Ecosystems Hub, has been working closely with a community group in the Mackay region to look at what they value most, and what local solutions can be found to manage the biodiversity in the Mackay coast.

A small sub-committee of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority’s Mackay Local Marine Advisory Committee (LMAC) has met almost every month for the past year to workshop coastal biodiversity management goals, and help develop possible solutions to their perceived issues.

The project, with its partners from the Federal and Queensland State Government, and James Cook University, has undertaken a review of all stated objectives from organisations and NGOs within Mackay. These were then reviewed by the Mackay group and turned into a tree of objectives, with branches ranging from high level aims such as “Protect and restore inshore environmental assets”, Improve governance systems” and Improve regional economic and social well-being” to more localised ones such as “Ensure community equity” and “Minimise conflicts between stakeholders”.

In order to get a broader community view of the importance of these different objectives, Mackay residents have been asked to undertake a survey that closes in November (see

While the survey has been undertaken, the local group has created an issues register and possible solutions. Topics covered so far are seagrass, mangroves and inshore corals. For each topic, a local or outside expert in the field has presented Mackay-specific information such as their biology, where the species occurs and what affects their sustainability. The group then workshops over a Mackay map what they perceive as being issues affecting the species and how best to approach these. They are always asked to think of both standard and non-standard management approaches. Ideas such as education videos on specific topics have been suggested. Given that most of the key management bodies are embedded in the project, thoughts on how to start moving these ideas forward has already begun.

Is it possible for the local community to raise and develop local management ideas for their own coastal space that effects change? This project is trying to help this process.

Dr. Cathy Dichmont, CSIRO

For more information, contact Cathy Dichmont at:


The Conversation

27 August 2013

Polychaete worms can change their metabolic rates to adapt to waters with high levels carbon dioxide.

A study conducted by the University of Plymouth shed light on how certain species may adapt to survive in increasingly acidic waters due to climate change. Read more




National Geographic

25 October 2013

Exploration of a "lost world" on a remote Australian peninsula has yielded the discovery of three new species, including a leaf-tailed gecko with spindly legs and unusually big eyes.

In March, a team of scientists and filmmakers joined the ranks of the few human visitors to the misty rain forest atop the Melville Range, a small mountain range on Cape Melville, part of northeastern Australia's Cape York Peninsula. Read More




The Conversation

15 October 2013

New weed control techniques developed for sugarcane crops in Queensland could reduce herbicide runoffs into the Great Barrier Reef by 90%.

After testing shielded herbicide sprayers and restricting their application to only raised beds of sugarcane plantation, researchers greatly reduced the flow of herbicides into surrounding waterways. Read more




The Cairns Post

07 December 2013

THE battle to eradicate crown of thorn starfish has intensified with an injection of $1.1m in funding to provide another dedicated boat and crew for culling the destructive creature.

The crown-of-thorns starfish (COTS) can destroy coral faster than it can regenerate and is one of the most significant threats to the Great Barrier Reef. Read more




The Brisbane Institute

12 July 2012

How much frog and reptile diversity is out there? How does this diversity form? How do we discover and describe this diversity? How can we conserve Queensland’s diversity?

UQ alumnus, Dr Conrad Hoskin takes you on an adventurous journey to discover and re-discover some of Queensland’s most fascinating frog and reptile species. An ecologist and conservation biologist, Dr Hoskin has discovered spectacular new species, rediscovered a frog species long thought to be extinct, and defined how new species can form. Read more


ABC News

20 September 2013

Queensland researchers say a new study shows present climate change policies could decide the future of the Great Barrier Reef over the next century.

The nine-month University of Queensland study on Heron Island, off Gladstone, compared how four coral reef ecosystems inside plastic tubs were affected by different climate change scenarios. Read more



ABC News

08 May 2014

James Cook University (JCU) says its study on seagrass will help inform a north Queensland port authority before dredging starts at the Abbot Point coal terminal at Bowen.

Researchers have used the conditions caused by Cyclone Ita to test the seagrass' reaction to turbidity and have found it can survive because it produces large numbers of long-lived seeds that lie dormant in the sediment. Read more



The Hon Mark Butler MP

Media Release

17 July 2013

Supporting Indigenous management of Queensland’s sea country

The Rudd Government has committed $930,000 to Indigenous organisations and Traditional Owners across Queensland to manage marine turtles, dugongs and sea-country.

Under this second round of Caring for our Country grants administered in partnership with the Queensland Government, eight projects will be supported to undertake a range of activities including sea country planning, managing threats to species, leadership forums as well as raising sustainability awareness in the community.

Federal Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Water Mark Butler said this round of funding was part of a broader commitment to assist Indigenous groups to sustainably manage sea country.

"Indigenous Rangers across Queensland are doing great work protecting turtles and dugongs from threats such as marine debris and illegal hunting,” Mr Butler said.

“Our continued support for Traditional Owners to manage their sea country is resulting in real environmental improvements and a better understanding of the sustainable use of resources in our Indigenous communities.

“We’ve responded to feedback from Traditional Owners and developed a package that increases community engagement, knowledge sharing and the sustainable participation of Indigenous people in culturally important activities.

Mr Butler said with rising seawater temperatures and an increase in extreme weather events due to climate change, programs to understand and protect Australian sea-country such as this were vital to the long-term future of our natural marine life.

This initiative builds on existing Federal Government investment under the Working on Country Indigenous Ranger and Reef Rescue programs and is undertaken in conjunction with the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority. Organisations to receive funding include:

  • Carpentaria Land Council Aboriginal Corporation
  • Indigenous Sea Country Strategic Policy Group (Girrigun Aboriginal Corporation)
  • Dawul Wuru Indigenous Corporation
  • Juunjuwarra Aboriginal Corporation Land Trust
  • Kapay Kuyan Steering Committee
  • Darumbal Charitable Trust
  • Jabalina Yalanji Aboriginal Corporation RNTBC
  • Port Curtis Coral Coast Traditional Owners

Media contacts:
Tim O’Halloran 0409 059 617

Mareeba Express

17 April 2013

Environmental scientists from James Cook University (JCU) believe they have discovered a new species of native frog on the southern Tableland.

Dr Conrad Hoskin a lecturer at JCU's Townsville campus, along with his team, believe that a population pocket of the Whirring Tree Frog (litoria revelata), pictured right, could be a unique species. Read more