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EMS Foreshore Clean-up Program - Brisbane Waters NSW

The task in place was to monitor, remove and report issues relating to unwanted litter from the western foreshore, of Rileys Island, within the Brisbane Waters area in NSW on January 12th, 2012. With the help of the Kincumber Youth Centre and in threatening weather conditions the groups landed on the northern tip of Rileys Island, and immediately began filling bags of litter, mostly plastic from the immediate foreshore.

A small team ventured into the flat saltmarsh area behind the foreshore, also retrieving large amounts of small item litter. As the groups moved south, under the mangroves, on the foreshore, vast amounts of disused oyster products were prominent. The young people involved tediously removed the waste, from the foreshore into the IRB's, transferring into Simon's barge.

The work in the saltmarsh was cancelled as the volume of oyster products increased, with plenty of motivation needed to keep the young people involve. The weather then turned into torrential rain, much to the delight of all the young people. Load after load was dragged into the barge, with only two hundred metres, completed in an hour and a half. As the barge filled, and the weather became worse, a halts to the clean-up was called.

Andy Myers, from Oceanwatch, inspected the next 100 metres of foreshore, which revealed even more rubbish and oyster products. This will be cleaned at later date, and with notice to the stakeholder for assistance. The saltmarsh flats, behind the mangroves will also be cleaned more thoroughly. A further 200metres of the western foreshore is still to be completed, to link up with the work compled on the 12th January. The north and northwest foreshores are yet to be completed.

This area (Rileys Island), has revealed the largest amount of litter, and deposited rubbish, that the foreshore program has uncovered, with visible damage, to the native mangroves, saltmarsh, plant and animal life that inhabit this reserve. Those involved, were amazed at the vast extent of litter that has accumulated in the region.

A total of 620kg, plus twelve car and truck tyres, was removed, by the young people and coordinators. All rubbish was transported, in Simons barge, to the Woy Woy boat ramp, then loaded into a Parks and Wildlife tip truck, for depositing at Woy Woy tip.

Recommendation

  • The foreshores in Brisbane Waters, be monitored, more closely, for illegal depositing of litter, particularly oyster products, which are present in this area.
  • That prior planning, include continued involvement from Parks and Wildlife staff, and assistance from Gosford Council and Catchment Management.
  • That continued support be received, from the Brisbane Waters oyster growers, to assist local volunteer organisations, associated with the foreshore program.
  • All stakeholder recognize the need to maintain this, and other mangrove sites, in a reasonable state, and understand the damage that bulk plastic can cause to the environment, native wildlife and marine life.
  • That Council place more bins adjacent to boat ramps, with stickers, promoting the policy of clean litter free waterways.
  • That additional funding option be sought to address the volume of foreshore litter that the Brisbane Waters region has revealed
  • That the foreshore program seek additional schools and youth organisations to work on the Brisbane Waters region.

Area: Brisbane Waters (Rileys Island, south west bank)
Date: 12th January 2012
Time: 12.30m to 3.30pm

Coordinator: Graham Johnston; Macmasters Beach Surf Club
Assisting Adults : Peter & Sam (Youth Workers Kincumber & Kariong Youth Centre's)
Kincumber Youth Centre Participants; Seven young people
Kariong Youth Centre: Eight young people
Macmasters Beach Surf Club Participants: Nathan and Mathew Grennan
Oceanwatch: Andy Myers
Brisbane Waters Oyster Growers: Simon
Brisbane Waters National Parks; Vicki Elliott plus five staff.

Mode of Travel
2 x IRB (inflatable rescue boat), oyster barge (simons) Nat Parks tip truck