Citizen scientists wanted to track local mangrove health


Victoria Stone-Meadows


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A new citizen science project focusing on the health and growth of mangrove systems is launching in Port Douglas tonight.

MangroveWatch Port Douglas will give members of the community a chance to provide vital scientific data to help manage mangrove systems both here and across Australia.

Great Barrier Reef Legacy (GBR Legacy) will be facilitating the project in Port Douglas and all members of the community are encouraged to get involved.

“GBR Legacy is partnering with MangroveWatch and will be doing surveys of Dixons Inlet to monitor the health and growth of mangroves in the local water system,” Dr Dean Miller of GBR Legacy said.

“MangroveWatch is another citizen science project and they will be coming here to provide information and training to the Port Douglas and Mossman communities about the importance of mangroves to water systems and local ecology.” 

Three free events are taking place over today and the weekend to launch the program and get people involved.

Tonight from 6.00pm to 9.00pm will be a Community Fish Habitat Forum at the Port Douglas Community Hall.

The forum will cover the health of local mangroves and give people a chance to share ideas on tidal wetland management.

GBR Legacy will also be providing a Virtual Reality Reef and Rainforest experience for anyone who missed the opportunity to try it out at Carnivale.

On Saturday 13 July from 9:30am to 12:00pm will be survey training on board the Lady Douglas River Cruise.

Those interested in attending this must RSVP via email to mangrovewatchgmailcom.

Later that same day, from 12.30pm to 3.00pm is a Saltmarsh and Rapid Saltmarsh Assessment expedition leaving from the IGA carpark. 

Dr Miller said the MangroveWatch program is an invaluable experience for anyone interested in their local environment.

“Mangroves are critical to a lot of marine life and a lot of other critters we love; they often start life in mangroves,” he said.

“They are important nurseries but are also home to spiders, birds, snakes, and a bunch of other land-based animals.

“They keep our coastlines in tact and are important for a whole range of ecological and social services.

“They are a necessary part of the reef and we are lucky to have a healthy system right here in Port Douglas.”

Dr Miller thanked the crew at the Lady Douglas and Douglas Shire Council for their support with the MangroveWatch program. 

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