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Pumicestone Passage under Threat

In a single year the tidal breach at the top of Bribie Island opposite Caloundra, has grown to more than a kilometre wide. The immediate and drastic result of this is utterly changed tidal regimes, dramatic increases in sea level heights, extreme sand migration, plummeting water quality due to stagnation, and more. Tides have changed by as much as a whole hour, and the bar has closed over to the point of unnavigability. This has exteremely serious implications for all natural life in the Passage, shorebirds, fisheries, seagrass, dugong and much more. Pumicestone Catchment Management Group is in a race against time. Urgent funding is being sought to develop a management masterplan to include the entire Passage system. BIEPA is a key partner in this initiative. Even local developers recognise the urgency, as they can no longer promise navigable access to properties. Sunshine Coast Council is showing significant interest in these discussions, but enough is enough. It's time to act. These problems have been predictable for decades, and due to short political cycles and a terribly cluttered accountability structure, the response has been ineffective to date. Essential action is required to ameliorate the huge problems caused by changes in tidal flows. It is imperative we urge government decision-makers to recognise the current and coming significant detrimental impacts of this human-induced crisis. Whatever Mother Nature is serving up in 2023, human impacts date from the installation and subsequent neglect of oysterbeds in around 1890, which should be removed as today they form an impenetrable blockage. During World War II deep channels were dredged in Moreton Bay, which have also undoubtedly created serious changes in the natural order. It is imperative we obtain sand migration studies to understand the patterns throughout Moreton Bay. Perhaps dredging work can help, but currently any dredging requires something in the order of 16 permits. No less than 15 bureaucracies must be engaged with, in the process. As a result, too little is being done. It is also likely that dredging is a band aid, short-term fix. The risk of added new development at Coochin Creek is also of extremely significant concern. BIEPA's community efforts at the southern end of the waterway inform the group, which comprises experts with long historical understanding of the issues which threaten the health of the waterway.

For those members interested to find out more the very good book pictured is available at the Seaside Museum. BIEPA reps are keeping abreast of developments. Watch this space.

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Unknown member
Dec 15, 2023

BIEPA should sue the authorities responsible for building the Tweed River groin, which for decades (prior to the installation of the sand bypass pumps) acted as a sand dam, preventing the northern flow of sand up the Queensland Coast.

The resultant erosion to the north of the Tweed River, is moving in a slow wave of damage to our beaches (including the recent Bribie Island breakthrough).

The undamaged beaches south of the Tweed River groin (in NSW) are magnificent by the way.

Unknown member
Dec 15, 2023
Replying to

A very good point, Geoff.

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