Broome Seagrass Project – thanks volunteers and partners for their critical contribution
The Broome Seagrass Monitoring Project was established in 2006 in a collaborative partnership between the managing organisation, Environs Kimberley, and project partners Seagrass-Watch (technical support), WA Department of Parks and Wildlife (coastal manager), Nyamba buru Yawuru (traditional owners) and the wider Broome community (volunteer force).
The Kimberley region is one of the world’s largest wilderness areas and the Broome Seagrass Project is one of the longest and most successful community science projects in Western Australia and engages a large number of volunteers, as well as Indigenous Rangers to monitor seagrass meadows within Roebuck Bay, Broome.
To celebrate the current philanthropic and in-kind relationships, Environs Kimberley received a grant ($6170 (+GST)) to host a celebratory event as part of the Community & Philanthropic Partnerships Week in December 2015 along with the development of a 10-year report card, summarising the project’s history as well as containing data and trends on the health of the seagrass.
Thank you event was a great success!
The Seagrass Project Partners Celebration was a great success with 27 people attending, including volunteers, project partners and community members. The feedback on the project presentation was very positive – with three new community members signing up to join the volunteer force, and an existing partner – the Kimberley Ports Authority – agreed to continue funding in 2016.
The 10-year report card is currently in development and due to be finalised towards the end of this year. The project team explain that it will benefit project stakeholders, government departments and the local Broome Community.
Saving the seagrass medow is vital
Seagrass meadows are one of the world’s most important resources – the seagrass ecosystem seagrass is vital for dugongs and turtles as a key food source and it helps to keep water clean by acting as a filter for toxic material by absorbing nutrients from coastal run-off and stabilizes sediment.
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. Community volunteers are vital to the success of monitoring efforts, which must be completed within a small window of time – usually only a couple of hours – when the lowest tides occur at Roebuck Bay. Monitoring includes recording sediment type, seagrass coverage, description of features such as macro fauna, species composition and canopy height just to name a few.