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 dataset that helps us monitor the health of Roebuck Bay.
Next seagrass monitoring events will be held in April 2013:
Saturday 27 meet 0515am @Town Beach car park
Sunday 28 meet 0545am @Demco Beach car park
Monday 29 meet 0615am @Port Slipways follow the signs
No previous experience necessary. Please wear closed shoes (they’ll get muddy!), bring your hat and waterbottle.
Conact Us for more information:
A bit more info about the project:
Since 2007 the Broome Community Seagrass Monitoring Project, run by Environs Kimberley in partnership with Department of Environment & Conservation 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 witnin a small window of time – usually only a couple of hours – when the lowest tides occur at Roebuck Bay.
The Broome Community Seagrass Monitoring Project is co-managed by Environs Kimberely and the Department of Conservation & Environment, is funded by Coastwest with support from the Port of Broome and Seagrass Watch (Queensland).