Cooloola Cove Community Wetland and Waterways Rehabilitation Project

funded by Caring for Our Country

Community Action Grant

Community Information Day, 18th May 2012

by Pam Graham, president, Cooloola Cove Res & Friends.

The event started with a welcome from the Traditional Owners of Butchella Country. Butchella Elder, Luke Barrowcliffe, informed us of the boundaries of Butchella Country and that Cooloola Cove is a very significant site for his people, and that they wish to continue any partnership that looks after country.

Cr Mark McDonald thanked Luke for the welcome and showed great interest in the lineup of speakers.

Next was Cooloola Coastcare Projects Coordinator, Maree Prior, who showed us visually through available maps, the layers of governance over the area, from internationally recognised Ramsar wetlands and the Cooloola Sandmass, to our very own unique and isolated coastal catchment area within the Burnett-Mary Region. Coincidently, this aligns with the southern area of Butchella land.

We had two speakers, Dr Ken Bubb, a well known Hydrologist who works with Forestry and speaks enthusiastically about his work and made a great impression on all who were present as he warmed to his subject.

We learned so much about the soils in our area and how deep-rooted trees such as melaleucas and eucalypts that are adapted to this area behave, acting as pumps for the groundwater. He showed us through his studies that more water can be removed through evapo-transpiration than by attempting to channel drain low, flat lying land. He said that having cleared so many trees in our area and replacing them with houses, we now collect so much more water from their rooftops and other hard surfaces such as roads and driveways, that dealing with stormwater runoff is not always as straightforward as simply digging a channel, especially if we wish to maintain water quality. He spoke of buffers and certainly gave us a lot of food for thought.

Phil Moran is president of the Mary River Catchment Coordinating Committee (MRCCC) and General Manager of Noosa District Landcare Group (NDLG). He spoke after a short break for tea and coffee and showed clearly the work that has been done on the Sunshine Coast. He showed photos of a building (Cooroy Library) with a grass roof and stones being used to filter water and slow the rate of flow.

Phil has already met with our Gympie Regional Council officers to show how some park stormwater and natural creek areas have been improved for water clarity, efficiency of flow, fire hazard reduction whilst still exhibiting a very pleasant element of design, which all goes to make the area an enjoyable place to walk and use for healthy recreational pursuits.

This is called Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD). Parks have been made more accessible, more attractive for residents and tourist use, which, if our council adopts the ideas, will greatly improve our well-being.

The group took a walk in Billabong Park to identify water and riparian (creek bank) weeds and native plants and were joined by Lindsay Cuneen of the Burnett Mary Regional Group (BMRG); followed by a tasty lunch, with plenty to eat back at the hall.

After lunch a small group made their way to Mullins Creek to identify work done previously by Coastcare and show where working bees will be held every Monday in June. Maree, Mary and Norma then demonstrated some ‘citizen science’ where Coastcare has been monitoring the saltmarsh since 2008, about a 15-20 minute walk from the car park.

Hydrologist- Dr Ken Bubb

Phil Moran & Luke Barrowcliffe

Phil explains about weeds in our area

Volunteers monitor the saltmarsh

Tin Can Bay Inlet