The Sunshine Coast Rivers Community group has been short listed
as a finalist for one of the World’s most prestigious
environmental awards – the 2011 Australian National Riverprize -
worth $195,000 to the winner.
The group, headed by Sunshine Coast Council, is a formidable regional partnership of more than 30 community groups and organisations, all dedicated to protecting and improving the waterways of our region through the Sunshine Coast Rivers Initiative.
Environment Portfolio Councillor Keryn Jones said that even by itself, the application for the Riverprize award is impressive.
“Just seeing all of the Initiative’s achievements listed on one page demonstrates the devotion and commitment of all group members,” Cr Jones said.
“I’d like to congratulate the Initiative’s many partners for the important work they do.
“Our waterways are our region’s lifeblood and our livelihoods and lifestyles depend up on them so it’s essential we look after them into the future.
“The Initiative unites an impressive collection of achievements involving improvements to creek-side vegetation, in-stream habitat, and land management practices as well as range of waterway health planning and research projects.
“Council’s recently adopted Waterways and Coastal Management Strategy provides a solid foundation for action.
“And with community groups, three levels of government, industry and research organisations all working together – both within and between catchments – we’ve got a real recipe for success.
“The Sunshine Coast Rivers Initiative works collaboratively to improve the health of our precious waterways and being short listed as a finalist shows the group is well on the way to achieving that goal.”
The challenger for the Riverprize is another Queensland-based finalist, Project Catalyst, who are working to improve water quality to help save the Great Barrier Reef.
The Riverprize will be awarded during the 14th International Riversymposium (26-29 September, 2011) in Brisbane at a Gala Dinner on 27 September at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre, South Bank.
Some of the achievements of the Sunshine Coast Rivers Initiative
Coolum Creek Confluence Fish Habitat Project – a badly degraded section of the Maroochy River has been successfully restored and re-established as fish habitat. This was done by introducing large log structures along the 600m stretch, planting hundreds of mangroves and revegetating a 30m buffer on both sides of the river.
Community Waterwatch monitoring – local volunteers monitor water quality, flora and fauna and pests at hundreds of sites across the six catchments. If pollution is detected, they do what’s necessary to manage the situation.
Sunshine Coast Waterways and Coastal Management Strategy 2011-2021 provides a ten year framework and direction for management of the region’s natural waterways, constructed water bodies and coastal foreshores. Council will use the strategy to guide planning and operational activities as well as community initiatives, to ensure that the Sunshine Coast’s waterways and coastal foreshores are ecologically healthy and well managed.
Echidna Creek Riparian Rehabilitation Project was the first rehabilitation project of its kind in South east Queensland. Working with landholders, riparian lands were rehabilitated and monitored to determine how effective the works were in improving waterway health.
Sunshine Coast Litter Collective is a collaborative partnership between 10 local catchment and community groups who aim to make the Sunshine Coast a litter free zone.
Sunshine Coast Erosion and Sediment Control Program focuses on the planning and construction phases of urban development to ensure waterways are protected from the potential impacts of land and infrastructure development.
Ecoflicks is an annual competition and short film festival promoting community environmental stewardship, raising awareness of community participation in natural resource management.
Mary River Tributaries and Rehabilitation Plan was Australia’s first Catchment Rehabilitation Plan. The long-term objective of the plan is to protect waterways of conservation value, while rehabilitating and restoring degraded reaches in a more strategic and cost-effective manner than has occurred in the past.
Floating Land is an ongoing conversation about creativity, the environment and culture. As one of Australia’s leading Green Arts events it engages the community with nature, through the imagination of writers, performance artists, musicians, photographers, academics and scientists.
Large Scale Rehabilitation Project – Upper Paynter and North Maroochy. The largest creek-side rehabilitation projects undertaken in south east Queensland. The project involved the rehabilitation of both stream banks, fencing, tree planting, a three year maintenance period and involved 21 landholders.