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Shorebirds and Oysters

Updated: Feb 5, 2023

BIEPA is running a project with Ozfish to help restore shellfish reefs in Pumicestone Passage. The team's latest achievement was to deploy dozens of floating bird roosts that also provide a home for oysters. This was done in partnership with Healthy Land & Water as part of their trial of shorebird roosts in Moreton Bay.

Team members holding oyster basket
Joint BIEPA+Ozfish team with Terry Young

The day started at 0830 as planned. Liz Gould from Healthy Land & Water led the day. OzFish stalwarts Robby Porter and Colin Scobie accompanied their (trailered) heavy duty barge which was loaded with the projects equipment. The BIEPA contingent led by Peter Alexander was supported by members Jill Sanders, Doug Parrington, and Rhys Walker, with use of a small tender to assist if required. A total team event of 7 persons.

Our Federal Member of Parliament, Terry Young generously met with us all at the VMR boat ramp with words of encouragement.

The location of the floating bird roosts with oyster baskets is in the Pumicestone Passage between the Kakadu and Torbul shorebird sanctuaries, close by Shag Island. The timing was coordinated with the tide so that the team could work on the exposed sand bank, to manually install six 'screw' anchors and three 25m long heavy plastic lines, to which the 120 floating baskets were attached. Those lines were connected to the anchors by heavy duty poly rope and galvanized steel shackles. Six colored buoys were strategically positioned to warn recreational boaties who may be tempted to venture near the raft of 120 baskets.

Array of floating baskets laid out on the sand
120 floating bird roosts with oyster baskets

On completion we saw that as the tide came in, all baskets floated as expected, moving gently with wind and tide. The final task before the water rose was to position and fix in place, nearby the floating baskets, a 7m tall steel pole . Atop the pole a camera which once turned on was programmed to send to Liz of HLW via electronic signal a photo of the floating raft, initially programmed for once every 30 minutes.

When there was sufficient water to float the barge and small tender, we all returned to the VMR ramp, completed the activity paperwork and said our goodbyes. The event completed as planned and without mishap.

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