New group to give community greater say on river issues

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Council will establish a Stakeholder Reference Group made up of representatives of key Noosa River user groups and organisations.

The reference group will help guide Council’s Oyster Ecosystem Restoration Project and give the community greater input into river management initiatives.

The reference group is included in the Project Plan for the three-year oyster initiative, which Council endorsed at last night’s Ordinary Meeting.

Council supported a call by Mayor Clare Stewart to have an independent scientist, enlisted by Council, to peer-review the monitoring and evaluation plan for the oyster restoration project, the methods used, and the data to be collected.

Deputy Mayor Frank Wilkie said the recommendations from the expert peer review will be built into the plan.

“This review process will add further expertise and rigour to the project,” Cr Wilkie said.

“There is nothing to be lost and everything to be gained from adding a few extra checks and balances to what promises to be an extremely worthy environmental project.”

Cr Wilkie said the new Stakeholder Reference Group would be established in the coming months to provide input into this project and others that tackle a broad range of river management issues.

Council partnered with The Nature Conservancy in July last year in what is to be a three-year project, to restore oyster reefs in sections of the river.

Philanthropic organisation The Thomas Foundation has provided $1.2 million to the project, to match Council’s $1.2 million commitment.

The Nature Conservancy has run environmental projects in more than 70 countries, has more than 400 scientists on staff, and is one of the world’s most successful practical conservation organisations.

“It’s important to note that this project is just one initiative to enhance our river system. We know that oysters play an important role in filtering nutrients from the water, and healthy oyster reefs help to generate strong fish stocks. These are both important ingredients in a healthy waterway,” Cr Wilke said.

“We’re fortunate to have received significant funding from The Thomas Foundation toward the project. These tweaks we’ve made to the management plan will help ensure we get best bang-for-buck for our ratepayers.”

 
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