DRFA funding supports threatened species recovery in flood-affected communities

Progress is underway on 10 projects which support the recovery of threatened species in communities impacted by 2022 flood events.

Severe flooding events that affected south east Queensland communities between January and March 2022 caused significant damage to waterways. These are home to some of the state’s most vulnerable animal species including the lungfish, white-throated snapping turtle, Mary River turtle and the Mary River cod.

The projects are being delivered under the $38.9 million Environmental Recovery Program established under Category D of the Commonwealth-State Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA) focused on the recovery of waterways and biodiversity in communities.

Aboriginal Corporations, local governments, land-care, environmental conservation and catchment care groups received a share of more than $1.6 million to improve resilience and accelerate waterways’ recovery.

This funding will support locally-led projects to study the ongoing impacts of the floods on these species, while carrying out recovery efforts to support Queensland’s unique biodiversity well into the future.

Not only will these projects enhance recovery of natural areas and waterways to support threatened aquatic species, they will help build the resilience of these areas to withstand future natural disasters.

The projects are:

  • Mary River Catchment Coordination Association Inc – assessing impacts and undertaking habitat recovery for endemic and threatened aquatic species like the critically endangered White-throated snapping turtle, the endangered Mary River cod and Mary River turtle, and the vulnerable Queensland lungfish.
  • Noosa & District Landcare Group Inc. – restoring and revegetating of areas which have suffered vegetation damage, including threatened plant species around Six Mile Creek within the Mary River Catchment, and Kin Kin Creek Catchment of the Noosa River.
  • Tiaro & District Landcare Group – measuring mortality rates and health of adult and juvenile endangered Mary River turtles as they navigate the post-flood ravaged riverine environment. The project will collect data on the impact of consecutive high-flow flood events upon freshwater turtles.
  • Noosa Shire Council - revegetating a Council-managed reserve that suffered significant stream bank erosion on Skyring Creek (a tributary of the Mary River) with a mixture of native local riparian tree, shrub and ground cover species to stabilise the eroded bank and make it resilient to future flood events. Improved water quality outcomes will benefit a range of priority aquatic species including Mary River Cod, Lungfish, Mary River Turtle, Giant barred Frog, Cascade Tree frog and Tusked Frog.
  • Sunshine Coast Council - installing riparian fencing and targeted restoration and enhancement of endangered remnant riparian rainforest, including planting and weed control on several sites along the lower Obi Obi Creek to protect significant areas.
  • Ipswich City Council - rehabilitating sections of the Bremer Riverbank to repair significant erosion and riparian zones that were stripped of groundcovers and young establishing trees during flood events. This will aim to improve Lungfish habitat in the Bremer.
  • Burnett Mary Regional Group - improving threatened species management and recovery in the Mary River by surveying areas across the catchment. This will establish a baseline of information from which to guide future investment in species and habitat management.
  • Somerset and Wivenhoe Fish Stocking Association - purchasing and releasing 20,000 Mary River Cod fingerlings across 30 sites across the Greater Brisbane Area - upper and mid-Brisbane, Stanley and Bremer Rivers and Warrill Creek - to replace fish lost during the floods.
  • Somerset and Wivenhoe Fish Stocking Association – a second project is engaging a team of qualified aquatic ecologists to undertake boat-based electrofishing surveys targeting reaches where Mary River Cod recovery work has been delivered, to better understand survivorship, growth rates and small or large scale movements of the fish.
  • Taribelang Aboriginal Corporation - delivering a multi-faceted nest management strategy for the white-throated snapping turtle which is a critically endangered species endemic to the Burnett, Fitzroy and Mary River catchments of Queensland. It has significant ecological and Cultural value (key species for local Taribelang-Bunda people).