Mary workers helping reef

Mary River Catchment Coordinating Committee's bank stabilisation works at Tiaro. Photo contributed.

A consortium of environment groups is working to improve Mary River runoff quality, in a bid to save notr just the river itself, but the Great Barrier Reef as well.

The Mary River Recovery Consortium says the Mary River at present is “one of the top five contributors of fine sediment into the Great Barrier Reef.”

And 70 per cent of sediment entering the Great Sandy Strait comes from streambank erosion.

The consortium is a partnership involving the Burnett Mary Regional Group, the Gympie-based Mary River Catchment Co-ordinating Committee and the firm, Alluviam Consulting.

The project involves volunteers and staff working to stabilise and revegetate badly eroding sections of the Mary River “by working directly with co-operative landholders over a four-year period.”

Each year, 26,000 tonnes of sediment is estimated to enter the Great Barrier Reef lagoon from just eight Mary River erosion sites.

Other consequences are “streambank retreat and increased amounts of sediment impacting the endangered Mary River cod and white-throated snapping turtle through the loss of nesting and feeding grounds, while the collapse of streambanks block the river systems, preventing fish movement and smothering food sources.”

The group hopes its work “will restabilise banks and slow the flow of water,” while also working on education programs to help “improve land and streambank management practices in the Mary River catchment.”

“Over four years, ending in June, weak points along the Mary River banks will be stabilised. Sites were determined according to cost effectiveness and landholder co-operation, the spokesperson said.