Flowing discussion and strait talk at River and Bay Forum
The upcoming "The River, the Bay and the Strait" forum aims to put some facts on the table and get the discussion flowing about the impacts that the proposed Traveston Crossing dam would have on the Great Sandy Strait and the downstream section of the Mary River.
Speakers will cover a range of topics, including the environmental flows, salinity and nutrient levels as well as economic concerns regarding local commercial and recreational fishing.
One of the presenters, Steve Burgess, will focus on impacts during dry times. Steve is worried that recent statements from the State Government completely miss the point when it comes to what the proposed dam would mean for the river downstream.
"The concern isn't about the average annual flows in the river at all - it's all about how much more pressure will be put on the river in dry times and what will effect be on the river's ability to recover from those dry times", says Steve, who will be speaking about the latest work available from the Mary River Catchment Coordinating Committee.
"Statements that there will be negligible impacts on flows at the lower end of the river because 78% of the Mary Catchment land area is downstream of the dam show a deep misunderstanding of how the river functions in dry times" says Mr Burgess.
"In dry times, most of the land area downstream of the dam site actually takes more water from the river than what it contributes, making the water coming down from the wet South East corner of the catchment even more important.
"We should learn from the experience of the Murray River. The disastrous consequences of past poor water infrastructure decisions right throughout the Murray catchment have shown themselves at the mouth of the Murray in the current dry time, rather than in so called 'average' conditions.
"We don't want this to happen to the Mary."
Other speakers include Max Winders, an imminent environmental engineer from MWA Environmental in Brisbane, Associate Professor Joachim Ribbe from the University of Southern Queensland, Roger Currie from the Wide Bay Burnett Conservation Council, a representative of recreational fishers, Ray Ozich and Great Sandy Strait commercial fisherman, Joe McLeod.
The forum will culminate in the creation of a Statement to Peter Garrett who, if has the ultimate say on the proposal if the Queensland Government approve it.
The full day forum, titled "The River, the Bay and the Strait" will be held at the Hervey Boat Club, Bucaneer Drive, The Boat Habour, Urangan on the 5 October, starting at 9 am. Cost is $10 per person or $5 concession. Morning and afternoon tea and a light lunch provided. For further information and to RSVP for catering purposes contact Carol on 41295979 or Tanzi on 0405848375.
Detailed program attached below.
The River, the Bay and the Strait:
A public forum on the downstream impact of the proposed Traveston Crossing dam
9am to 5pm, 5 October 2008
Hervey Boat Club, The Boat Habour, Urangan
Cost $10/$5 concession
9:30am-9:45am Welcome to Country by traditional land custodian, Jan Williams
Welcome to Forum by FCRC Mayor Mick Kruger
9:45am-10:10am Introduction and setting the scene, Tanzi Smith
10:10-10:40am Impacts of the Traveston Crossing Dam on Estuarine Water Quality in the Great Sandy Region
Max Winders, Principal, MWA Environmental
Modelling conducted by Max has shown that the proposed dam will further reduce nutrient concentrations in the estuarine areas and increase salinities. Of particular interest is the extent to which a significant strategy for the release of environmental flows into the estuary will be required to offset these effects and, in particular, restore the relatively frequent river freshes essential to the health of the waterways and wetlands. If a responsible strategy is recognised by QWI, the sustainable yield of the dam will be reduced and make other, more eco-friendly options of satisfying the SEQ Water Strategy more attractive to the decision makers in our community.
10:40-10:55am What the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) should address with respect to climate change
Ashton Berry, University of the Sunshine Coast
Ashton is part way through his post graduate studies in climate change adaptation and is soon to undertake a Masters degree focusing on climate change impact and coastal geomorphology. Ashton will be explaining why it is so important that the EIS for the proposed dam includes an analysis that considers all the impacts of climate change on the Mary River's flow rates and dam viability.
10:55am-11:10am Phosphorus in the Mary and vulnerability of storages to algal blooms
Graeme Esslemont, BMRG
Graeme will report on the results of recent sampling of sediment-bound phosphorus in the Mary River, and explain what this means for future management and water storages on the river. The significance of phosphorus in the catchment will be a particular focus.
11:10 - 11:45 Morning tea followed by music and poetry by Kitch in Sync from Tuan
11:45am-12:15pm Increasing salinity in Hervey Bay and the role of the rainfall, evaporation and the Mary River in controlling salinity
Associate Professor Joachim Ribbe, University of Southern Queensland
Dr Ribbe has recently completed a two year study of hypersalinity (high salinity) and temperature in Hervey Bay. The study considered the impact the rainfall, evaporation and river flow have in determining salinity of Hervey Bay. Salinity is an important influence on the marine ecosystem. Dr Ribbe will discuss the findings of this research and explain the role of river flows in determining salinity levels in Hervey Bay. (www.bmrg.org.au/information.php/2/55/237)
12:15- 12:40pm Why the Mary is at risk from low flows
Steve Burgess, Mary River Catchment Coordinating Committee
Steve has conducted an extensive review of the measured streamflow data in the Mary River and the catchment modeling conducted for the Mary Basin Water Resource Plan and the proposed Traveston Crossing dam. He is not worried about the average flows in the river, he is concerned about proposals that would make the problems that already occur in the dry times any worse than what they currently are.
12:40-1:25pm A light lunch will be served
1:25-1:35pm Wader Birds of the Great Sandy Strait
Tim Thornton, President Wide Bay Burnett Conservation Council
The Great Sandy Strait supports large numbers of migratory birds from the Northern Hemisphere. Tim will describe some of the species, their journey and the importance of the Great Sandy Strait to their survival.
1:40-2:00pm Traveston Dam: The Ramsar Ramifications
Roger Currie, Water Policy Officer, Wide Bay Burnett Conservation Council
The Ramsar Convention is an international agreement aimed at protecting internationally significant wetlands. The listing of the Great Sandy Strait as a Ramsar wetland is one of the reasons why Peter Garrett has the final say on the proposed dam. Roger will explain the ramifications of the Ramsar listing for the assessment processes of the proposed dam.
2:00pm- 2:15pm Looking out for seagrass and dugongs
Gordon Cottle, Project Coordinator for the Great Sandy Strait Seagrass Watch
Seagrass in the Great Sandy Strait is an important food source for green turtles and dugong. For many years a dedicated band of volunteers have monitored seagrass in the Great Sandy Strait. Gordon will explain this program and what they have found.
2:15-2:30pm What part of environmental flow don't you understand?
Joe McLeod, Independent Trawlers Association, Tin Can Bay
That is the question Joe McLeod has been asking the Queensland Government for years. In his presentation Joe will explain why commercial fishers care about environmental flows and flood plumes and ask why the government appears to disregard the precautionary principle when it comes to dams and tidal barriers.
2:30-2:45pm Recreational fishing counts too!
Ray Ozich, President Sunfish
Recreational fishing is an important part of Hervey Bay, contributing about $150 million to the economy each year. Ray will explain the concerns that recreational fishers have about impacts of the proposed dam.
2:45-3:15pm Afternoon tea followed by entertainment by Kitch in Sync
3:15-4:30pm Panel of all speakers and open discussion
4:30-5:00pm Wrapping up and Statement of Concern to Peter Garrett
Hervey Boat Club, Not Assigned
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