Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Moreton Bay: Flood Causes Environmental Crisis


Although Southern Moreton Bay may have experienced less impact from the flood plume there is still a big question mark over the health of the marine life. There is a blanket ban on fishing in Moreton Bay and oysters are not being harvested. This is obviously affecting livelihoods on North Stradbroke Island.

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CSIRO ocean engineers, Rob Gregor (left) and Lindsay MacDonald, with the glider in Hobart before shipment to Brisbane. (Craig Macaulay, CSIRO)

CSIRO researcher’s robotic glider (the yellow submarine) has been deployed to work in conjunction with satellite imaging to view turbidity caused by flood run off in the bay. The glider’s sensors will help to obtain a view within the mud and debris. The three dimensional maps developed will help understanding of the dynamics of the flood plume and its likely effects on sea grass, fish, dugong, turtles, coral and other sea life. The researchers hope to assess the bay’s resiliance after this extreme event.

We just have to keep our fingers crossed that health returns to this unique marine ecosystem.  But there will be lessons to be learnt in managing run off in the future.