Broome Community Seagrass Monitoring

Four times a year community volunteers gather on the shores of Roebuck Bay to enjoy fresh muffins and coffee before heading out onto the mudflats to monitor the health of Broome’s seagrass meadows- one of our bay’s most fundamental yet fragile ecosystems.

Its fun! Come down and march out onto the mudflats with us, find dugong feeding trails and fascinating sea creatures whilst contributing to an important data set that helps us monitor the health of Roebuck Bay. Everyone is welcome!

Our next seagrass monitoring dates are: BSCMP_logo_SML

September 2017

Friday 22nd Sept, 5.30am at Town Beach car park

Saturday 23rd Sept, 5.30am at Demco car park

Sunday 24th Sept, 5.45am at Port slipway.

 

No previous experience necessary. Please wear closed shoes (they’ll get muddy!), bring your hat and water bottle and an adult if you’re under 18 years of age. Contact us for more information on 9192 1922, email us at seagrass@environskimberley.org.au or become a Broome Seagrass Facebook friend.

A bit more info about the project:

Since 2006 the Broome Community Seagrass Monitoring Project, run by Environs Kimberley in partnership with Department of Parks and Wildlife  and Nyamba Buru Yawuru, have been keeping a close eye on Roebuck Bays seagrass meadows collecting regular data at three vulnerable sites.  Monitoring includes recording sediment type, seagrass coverage, description of features such as macro fauna, species composition and canopy height just to name a few.

Seagrass meadows are one of the world’s most important resources. Few people realise what an important ecosystem seagrass is, being vital for dugongs and turtles as a key food source. It helps to keep water clean by acting as a filter for toxic material by absorbing nutrients from coastal run-off and stabilizes sediment, as well as being an extremely efficient ‘blue carbon sink’.

Seagrass is being lost globally at the rate of one football field per half hour due to human impacts such as pollution and run-off, boating, dredging and coastal development. The rate of loss is accelerating – we lost 1% per year before 1940, to 7% per year since 1990. We have lost 29% of seagrass since 1980. The rate of seagrass loss is comparable to the loss of tropical rain forests.

Seagrass is an “indicator species” with its health state indicative of the health of the broader coastal area which is why it is important to conduct regular scientific monitoring of seagrass. The data collected is analysed by Seagrass Watch and the ongoing monitoring enables the Broome community to measure any impacts that might be occurring in Roebuck Bay.

Community volunteers are vital to the success of monitoring efforts, which must be completed within a small window of time – usually only a couple of hours – when the lowest tides occur at Roebuck Bay.

The Broome Community Seagrass Monitoring Program is funded by Coastwest, the Kimberley Ports Authority, Norman Wettenhall Foundation, the Shire of Broome and the Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal, co-managed by Environs Kimberley and the Department of Parks and Wildlife and supported by Seagrass Watch.

Broome community seagrass monitoring project info sheet

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