After successfully delivering environmental projects over the last year, Burnett Mary Regional Group (BMRG) is set to double its outputs to bolster ecosystem resilience.
At the natural resource management agency's annual meeting at Bargara it was announced that BMRG would lead the national roll-out of a world-first environmental accounting system.
Environmental accounting measures natural capital such as flora and fauna, soils and waterways, and values them as assets.
The meeting heard the breakthrough innovative system was poised to unlock millions of dollars in investment.
Board chair Tony Ricciardi hailed a “new horizon” and said BMRG was “on the verge of something big”.
“This is the way of the future for NRM groups,” Mr Ricciardi said.
“There will be a snowball effect.
“It's a big feather in BMRG's hat to be the first NRM group in Australia to do this.”
Chief executive Sheila Charlesworth added the new system would make funding models more sustainable.
Ms Charlesworth said governments and the private sector were coming together to recognise that environmental assets needed to be recorded and valued.
“I'm very proud that BMRG will be leading this across Australia,” she said.
“I've had calls from more than 20 countries who are interested in what we're doing.
“It's going to help us make a difference in this world and a huge difference in our beautiful region.”
Gayle Minniecon and Jason Ogden were newly elected to the BMRG board and Jeanette Harold was returned, joining Mr Ricciardi and Brent McLellan.
Project highlights from 2021-22 were presented at the meeting. Examples included:
- Ongoing feral pig monitoring and control
- 10ha of habitat improved with restorative plantings along the Mary River
- Baseline post-fire surveys at sites across K'gari for flora, fauna, water quality, weeds, pest plants and animals
- Ongoing efforts to reduce sediment flowing to the Great Barrier Reef, including 24 land management action plans to help improve land condition
- More than 7000 tonnes of sediment was stopped from entering the Reef through stabilisation works on the Kolan River and Rodds Harbour
- Large scale erosion control works at five riparian sites near the headwaters of the Burnett River
- Almost 1500kg of marine debris was collected in 28 days of coordinated works throughout Gympie, Rainbow Beach, Kangdanga, Bundaberg, Moore Park Beach,
- Burnett River, Burnett Heads, Burrum and K'gari
- Turtle protection was enhanced through 30 days of fox control works throughout the Burnett River, Moore Park Beach and Deepwater National Park areas.
Projects in the current year include:
- Roadshows and training to deliver environmental accounting across Australia
- Restorative plantings in the Mary River catchment to improve habitat and prevent erosion
- Install shorebird roosting habitat on Barubbra Island as a low cost, low impact, semi-permanent alternative to previous shorebird habitat enhancement methods
- Expand the removal of marine debris to 48 days at Gympie, Rainbow Beach, Tin Can Bay, Mary River, Susan River, Burnett River, Bundaberg, Norval Park, Rules
- Beach, Deepwater National Park and on K'gari
- Continued involvement and training of Traditional Owner rangers in pest management and monitoring
- 5km of cattle exclusion fencing to protect endangered coastal saltmarsh
- Continue to support long-term volunteer turtle monitoring groups to improve hatchling success rates
- Environmental audit certification for the freshwater account covering 5.3 million hectares
- Pig and fox control in Eurimbula National Park in the lead-up to the turtle nesting season
- Continued weed control by Gidarjil Rangers at Rodds Harbour and the Kolan River
- Revegetation to further stabilise riverbanks on the Mary River.
The Burnett Mary region covers approximately 56,000sq km of land and 11,000sq km of sea that's internationally renowned for its ecological diversity, extensive primary production and rich cultural heritage.
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