Guest post written by Gail Hamilton. Views expressed are the author’s and not the official opinion of NQCC.
This is the first part in a four-part series that discusses issues about water security in our region. Part two explores dam infrastructure options, and part three is a summary report of information shared by Townsville Enterprise Ltd. about the Hell’s Gate Dam feasibility study at our AGM and forum. Part four asks how climate change will affect our region’s water security.
Townsville has an excellent water supply system, with highly treated and very safe water sourced from the Ross, Paluma and Burdekin dams.
While the Ross is our main supply dam, it is highly variable, with a limited catchment and low rainfall. The Paluma Dam is situated in the wet tropics and is much more reliable, but can only supply 30 ML per day. The Burdekin Dam is a huge system, with over 1 000 000 ML per year of water allocations, some of which is not committed. Townsville has 120 000 ML of allocation from the Burdekin.
In 2014, the Department of Energy and Water Supply undertook an assessment of Townsville’s water security.Read more
Guest post by Tiffany Kosch, Postdoctoral Research Fellow at James Cook University
Southern corroboree frogs (Pseudophryne corroboree) are considered Australia’s most iconic amphibian due to their bright black and yellow coloration. What most people may not realize is that this frog is nearly extinct in the wild. Surveys conducted this year at Kosciuszko National Park found less than 50 frogs remaining. This beautiful frog is susceptible to the amphibian chytrid fungus (Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis). The chytrid fungus was introduced into the corroboree frog habitat in the 1980’s causing this species to decline steadily until the present day where it would be extinct if not for human intervention. Luckily for corroboree frogs, their declines were noticed right away by scientists, and a captive breeding and reintroduction program was initiated by the Amphibian Research Centre, Taronga Zoo, and Zoos Victoria. Earlier this year, the corroboree frog captive breeding program released over 2000 eggs into the wild.
Southern corroboree frog. Photo: Corey Doughty
New laws are being introduced by the Queensland Government to change the way mining companies obtain water licences. This was originally written in the Townsville Bulletin as a “roadblock” for the project, without even naming what the proposed legislation is or about.
NQCC responded with this letter to the editor, but under a different headline (the title of this post) than what was published . Despite gaining the necessary environmental approvals at the State and Federal levels, it is not our position that the project “has the environmental green light”. This is highlighted by our support of continued legal challenges of the environmental approvals not taking into consideration the impact that emissions from burning coal will have on the Reef. We wholly support the Australian Conservation Foundation and Environmental Defenders Office appealing the recent decision of the Federal Court on this matter.Read more
Paperbark is a monthly e-update of NQCC activities, campaigns, news and events.
Welcome to this month’s issue of Paperbark. We’d like to welcome a new staffer to the NQCC community – Jacob Miller. In the role of community campaigner, Jacob will be organising some big events coming up this year, producing media and written content on our site and improving NQCC’s community outreach. Welcome Jacob!
In this issue: Proposed funding cuts to ARENA – ACF loses court case to Adani – Queenslands climate change action policy – Toxic lead dust from Townsville port – Burdekin Dry Tropics Regional NRM published – Interactive sea level rise modelling launched – Upcoming events – General notices.Read more
The Burdekin Dry Tropics Natural Resource Management (NRM) Plan was officially launched on 26th August. It is the only one of its kind in the region and forms the blueprint for how the community can work together to protect and sustainably manage our natural resources for the next 10 years. Read the Burdekin Dry Tropics NRM Plan here.
Guest post by Charlie McColl, NQCC’s representative on the Port Stakeholders Working Group.
New data coming from updated monitoring equipment at the Townsville waterfront appears to confirm long-held community concern about heavy metal pollution being carried in dust emanating from the state-owned Port of Townsville. As long ago as 2010 a Queensland Government report concluded that:
While compliance with EPP (Air) objectives was maintained at all times, the monitoring program identified that dust emissions from Townsville Port activities did contribute to ambient levels of Total Suspended Particles [TSP], lead, copper, zinc, arsenic and cadmium, and to lead deposition, at the closest monitoring site, Coast Guard. Measurable contributions of these pollutants from Townsville Port activities at monitoring sites located further from the Port were only observed for lead.
Queensland Health has concluded that the total exposure to lead from inhalation and ingestion of dust in the residential community areas near the Townsville Port is highly unlikely to be associated with any known adverse health effects.
One of the first actions of the new Australian Parliament last week was the introduction of the Omnibus Bill; a suite of policy measures aiming to save $6 billion. One of the savings measures is to strip the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) of $1.3 billion of its funding. NQCC doesn’t think that this is a good idea. Let us explain why…
What is ARENA and why is it important?
ARENA was established in 2012 and is an independent, commercially oriented Commonwealth agency. It’s two objectives are to improve the competitiveness of renewable energy technologies and increase the supply of renewable energy in Australia. Along with the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, it is a key institution implementing our movement away from fossil fuels and towards the renewable future.Read more
Here is a directory of different groups providing volunteer opportunities with on-ground conservation or environmental projects in the local region:
Conservation Volunteers Australia projects in Townsville region – check this website to confirm correct dates, meeting location and contact details. Projects include Creekwatch (water quality testing and surveys), Friends of Cape Pallarenda Quarantine Station and native revegetation nursey.Read more
The Queensland Government has written a discussion paper on advancing climate change action and transitioning to a low carbon future. Submissions on that paper close this Friday 2nd September.
NQCC is writing a submission, because we know how important climate change is to our future and that it is the biggest challenge facing our global, national and local communities.Read more
Last night, the Queensland government failed to pass vital land-clearing reform legislation.
This is a disaster of Queensland’s making. It’s a huge win for big agriculture and a terrible blow for our Reef, climate change and hundreds of Queensland’s vulnerable or endangered species.
The health of our Reef is directly linked to increased erosion that comes from the tree clearing. Queensland has now passed up the chance to take real steps to protect our Reef for Australians and visitors around the world who support a major tourism industry.