Joint media release: $2M to restore Queensland's Bowling Green Bay Ramsar wetland

11 September 2020

The Hon. Sussan Ley MP, Minister for the Environment
George Christensen MP, Member for Dawson

The Morrison Government will invest $2 million to protect internationally significant wetlands, the breeding ground to hundreds of migratory bird species in the Lower Burdekin region.

The Ramsar-listed wetland, part of the Bowling Green Bay National Park—a popular tourist destination known for camping, hiking, fishing and bird watching— also provides an important contribution to the local economy.

Minister for the Environment Sussan Ley said the internationally important wetland is home to a rich and diverse array of bird life. It is a breeding ground for more than half of the 300 bird species found within it and an important habitat area for several migratory bird species listed in international conservation agreements. 

“The Bowling Green Bay wetlands are one of the jewels in the crown of Queensland’s lower Burdekin region,” Minster Ley said. 

“We’re making this significant investment to help ensure that this natural treasure, and the wildlife it supports, remains protected for future generations.

“The project activities include managing marine debris, revegetating habitat and carrying out fauna surveys, and will be delivered by NQ Dry Tropics in partnership with Bindal Traditional Owners and Gudjuda Rangers based in Home-Hill.”

Member for Dawson George Christensen said that under the Environment Restoration Program, the Morrison Government is supporting projects that deliver benefits, not only to the environment, but also to local communities and their economies.

“I’m pleased to say that NQ Dry Tropics, will be spearheading the joint local effort to protect these wetlands,” Mr Christensen said.

“NQ Dry Tropics will mobilise a range of lower Burdekin stakeholders, including landholders, community groups, Traditional Owners, science bodies and local businesses to deliver on-ground actions to remove and manage threats to the wetland.

“They will work closely with these groups to raise awareness of this important wetland and set up a robust program to monitor the wetland’s health.

“The Gudjuda Reference Group has a fantastic Land and Sea Rangers program and they will be an incredible asset to the project.”

NQ Dry Tropics CEO, Dr Scott Crawford, said the Morrison Government’s initiative would improve the ecological health of the wetlands and adjoining creek catchments by reducing threats such as invasive weed chokes and pollutants – but would also focus on championing the important role wetlands play in the everyday lives of local communities.

“Project activities will support better connectivity for native fish species and help improve the quality of water flowing to the Great Barrier Reef lagoon,” Dr Crawford said.

“The project will also build on nearly two decades of work to improve the health of coastal ecosystems in the region.

“We want to raise awareness of how wetland ecosystems benefit the landscape, and support activities such as fishing and bird watching. 

“We will also be promoting the concept that environmental and agricultural outcomes can be achieved side by side.”.

Gudjuda Ranger Eddie Smallwood said the group was looking forward to sharing its extensive knowledge of the area as well as building valuable new skills.

“We are looking forward to partnering with the Bindal Traditional Owners and NQ Dry Tropics throughout this project to provide local knowledge, education and cultural heritage advice as well as strengthening the skills within our team of Land and Sea Rangers,” Mr Smallwood said.

Bowling Green Bay is one of only five wetland sites in Queensland listed under the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance.