Category Archives: Environment

Island residents support e-waste clean-up


Redland City Council has thanked its island residents for their support of an electronic waste drive which collected almost two tonnes of items over 16 days.

The Council initiative allowed residents to drop outdated technology waste into special bins at island-based Recycling and Waste Centres.

Mayor Karen Williams said it was not surprising that roughly half the e-waste was collected on North Stradbroke Island (Minjerribah), our largest island community.

“Russell, Macleay and Coochiemudlo islands folk also put in a great effort, filling nearly five containers across the three islands.

“Residents were also able to collect a free tree when they dropped off an item for collection on 13 and 14 February,” Cr Williams said.

“During the ‘trees for e-waste’ weekend, Council gave away more than 60 free trees, which is an outstanding effort and good news for our island environments.”

Coochiemudlo Recycling and Waste Centre gatehouse operator John Mahony with some of the native plants for which residents swapped their e-waste.

Cr Williams said Australians generated about 73kg of e-waste per household each year with estimations that about 80% of that ended up in landfill.

“E-waste contains glass, copper, plastics and precious metals, which are able to be processed and eventually used in the manufacture of new products,” Cr Williams said.

“Stopping this waste from going into landfill supports Council’s commitment to a circular economy and the State Government’s goal of a zero-waste-to-landfill future.”

Cr Williams said this was Council’s second annual e-waste collection for our island residents.

“While this latest collection has now finished, Council encourages all island residents to hold onto their e-waste until the next local drive, or to take it to one of the mainland Recycling and Waste Centres wherever possible,” Cr Williams said.

“Mainland recycling and waste centres offer a full-time e-collection service where e-waste is recycled.”

In the 2019/2020 financial year, Council recycled 257 tonnes of e-waste.

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Mosquito barrier treatment study to begin on Russell Island


Redland City Council is set to partner with the Mosquito Arbovirus Research Committee (MARC) and QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute to trial mosquito barrier treatment on Russell Island this month.

Mayor Karen Williams said the joint research project would assess the effectiveness of barrier treatments in managing mosquitoes and other biting insects.

“We know our island residents can have a tough time with mosquitoes so Russell Island is the ideal location to test the efficacy of barrier treatments in a bid to reduce any health and nuisance impacts,” Cr Williams said.

“Redland Coast has unique coastal and freshwater environments that provide ideal breeding conditions for mosquitoes.

“The barrier treatment trial will run for about three months and target Aedes vigilax, the Saltmarsh Mosquito, which is a major carrier of Ross River virus and a significant pest species.

“It’s a great collaboration to ensure we are implementing best practice for mosquito management.”

Mosquitoes will die if they happen to land on any treated vegetation or surfaces.

Division 5 Councillor Mark Edwards said about a dozen Russell Island residents had volunteered to participate in the study, which would see vegetation in and around their properties sprayed with long-lasting insecticides.

“These private properties will be monitored over the duration of the project to determine the effectiveness of the barrier treatments,” Cr Edwards said.

“Other mosquito species will also be studied, including Culex annulirostris, another important carrier of Ross River virus. The project might also collect data looking at the efficacy of barrier treatments against biting midges.”

Regional Mosquito Management Group chairman Cr Paul Golle said trials such as this showed the value of regional aberration.

“Mosquitoes are not unique to the Redlands, they are an issue for communities throughout the state who will no doubt be watching this trial with interest,” Cr Golle said.

Pest management team Russell Manby and Trevor Sorohan with QIMRB entomologist Brian Johnson.

QIMR Berghofer entomologist Dr Brian Johnson said the active ingredients in the products being used were found in many of the common household bug sprays and would not harm the plants or surfaces treated.

“Mosquitoes rest in vegetation and other sheltered places to avoid the sun and will die if they happen to land on any treated vegetation or surfaces,” Dr Johnson said.

“Treatment will exclude flowering plants to ensure native pollinators, such as bees, are protected,” he stressed.

“We will also be deploying innovative technology that allows us to monitor the abundance of mosquitoes and biting midges on each property remotely and in almost real-time.

“A number of the selected properties will not receive any insecticide treatments so that they can serve as experimental controls.

“We’re ultimately hoping the project will run over a number of years and that we can test a number of different barrier insecticides to find which ones work best.”

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Council trials ‘floating wetland’ to treat water in Wellington Point lake


Redland City Council is trialling a new water treatment system, known as a ‘floating wetland’, at Sovereign Waters Lake in Wellington Point.

Mayor Karen Williams said, if the trial was successful, the floating wetland concept could be used to help improve and protect aquatic environments across Redlands Coast.

“Floating wetlands are small artificial platforms that incorporate wetland plants on a suspended matrix that floats on the surface of the water,” she said.

“In December 2020, two floating wetland islands were installed at the southern end of Sovereign Waters Lake to reduce turbidity levels, absorb excess nutrients and settle sediment particles.

Mayor Karen Williams and Cr Wendy Boglary view one of the ‘floating wetlands’ at Sovereign Waters Lake.

“Over the next 10 months Council will monitor water quality levels, the growth rate of the wetland plants, plant root density, and the floating wetland’s ability to cope with changing water levels.

“At the end of the year officers will review the effectiveness of the trial and decide whether to permanently install floating wetlands at the lake and possibly other waterways across the city.”

Cr Williams said floating wetlands were not only visually appealing, but research showed benefits for the environment and wildlife.

“As the plants’ roots grow through the platform and down into the water, thick root columns absorb nutrients and other contaminants to help maintain high water quality.

“The floating islands also provide habitat and a food source for aquatic species and water birds.”

Division 1 Councillor Wendy Boglary said she hoped the trial would be successful in improving the lake’s water quality.

“As well as being a complex ecosystem of aquatic plants, animals and micro-organisms, Sovereign Waters Lake is a tranquil open space for the community,” Cr Boglary said.

“Success with this floating wetland trial could pave the way for more of these water treatment systems in other well-loved areas across Redlands Coast.”

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Council completes final phase of Coastal Hazard Adaptation Strategy


Redland City Council has completed the last phase of its Coastal Hazard Adaptation Strategy (CHAS), bringing it one step closer to finalising the comprehensive long-term climate management plan.

The CHAS is a city-wide strategy for the protection of the city’s coastline and islands and includes recommended actions to help Council and property owners adapt to coastal hazards up to the year 2100.

Mayor Karen Williams, who chairs the project’s steering committee, said completion of the strategy’s final phase (phase eight) was a great accomplishment.

“There are still a couple of milestones to be achieved before the project is finalised,” she said.

“Endorsement will be sought from the Local Government Association of Queensland, followed by Council’s review prior to adoption, expected to take place in the next few months.

“Once adopted by Council, the final CHAS will be available on Council’s website.”

The strategy assesses the vulnerability of infrastructure, assets and property to coastal hazards such as coastal erosion, storm tide inundation and sea level rises, identifies a range of adaptation actions and determines costs, priorities and timeframes for their implementation.

The final report brings together an analysis of last year’s community feedback on the draft CHAS, findings from earlier phases, and a summary of the strategy’s implementation plan.

Cr Williams thanked the Redlands Coast community for providing input into the draft strategy, which helped finalise phase eight of the project.

“Consultation throughout the development of the draft CHAS attracted more than 7900 visits to the project’s Your Say web page and 419 people who were actively engaged,” she said.

“Community consultation showed the majority of respondents felt comfortable with the proposed strategy and gave the community the opportunity to present some further ideas for Council’s consideration.”

Community consultation on the draft CHAS occurred in November 2020 and the final report was endorsed by the CHAS steering committee and technical working group in mid-February 2021.

For more information on the CHAS and to download a copy of the draft strategy, visit Council’s Your Say page.

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Join the events to Clean Up Australia Day on Redlands Coast


Redland City Council is encouraging the community to become involved in this year’s Clean Up Australia Day.

Mayor Karen Williams said local residents could join an existing Clean Up group or create their own, with registrations for the March 7 event now open.

Businesses, community groups, schools and individuals can all take part.

“Getting involved will benefit the Redlands Coast community by creating a cleaner environment and protecting our waterways for everyone to enjoy,” Cr Williams said.

“Clean Up Australia Day is as much about preventing rubbish from entering the environment as it is about cleaning it up.”

Council will supply bins to event organisers, if requested by Friday 26 February, for waste and recyclable materials collected on the day.

Clean Up Australia chairman Pip Kiernan said now was the time for all Australians to step up and help.

“Last year saw disruption to our lives, not least of all to our local environments which have been impacted by increased uptake of single-use, disposable items,” Ms Kiernan said.

“COVID-19 has significantly impacted local environments with a surge in single-use disposable items such as takeaway coffee cups, food packaging, masks and sanitised wipes – all of which have polluted parks, bushland, streets, waterways and beaches.”

According to The Pact Group Community Attitudes to Waste and Recycling Report (July 2020), more than a third (34%) of Australian households reported producing more packaging waste during lockdown periods compared to previous years. More than half (55%) of those surveyed said they were now more concerned about product packaging waste than they were in 2019.

“By planning ahead and signing up to a Clean Up event, you are making a pledge to help conserve the environment for the long-term future, and taking an important action by stepping up for your community,” Ms Kiernan said.

Cr Williams said that in response to COVID-19, additional conditions would be put in place to ensure the health and safety of Clean Up volunteers. There will be limits to volunteer numbers at each event and Clean Up kits will include hand sanitiser and QR codes for registration.

Redlands Coast Clean Up events have already been registered at the following locations:

  • goochie mudlo (Coochiemudlo Island)
  • Victoria Point foreshore
  • Cascade Gardens and Ern Dowling Parklands, Victoria Point
  • South Street Conservation Area, Cleveland
  • Point Lookout, Minjerribah (North Stradbroke Island)
  • Peel Street, Redland Bay
  • Merrill and Rob Ovendon Park Creek Catchment, Birkdale
  • Wynnum Redlands Canoe Club, Thorneside.

The Clean Up Australia Day campaign also includes a Business Clean Up Day on March 2 and School Clean Up Day on March 5. To sign up to an event, register your own or make a donation, visit cleanup.org.au.

 

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Habitat protection top-of-mind for Council and community


Redland City Councillors have asked officers to investigate options to purchase land in Ormiston in an attempt to bring it into public ownership.

Mayor Karen Williams said a report would be presented at a future Council meeting to consider the cost and logistics of purchasing the land and detail proposed funding sources.

“The Ormiston land was subdivided more than 100 years ago so Council’s hands were tied when the owners recently started clearing it,” Cr Williams said.

“No Council approval was required and we had no ability to prevent the clearing.

“Nor did State Government koala mapping, which was introduced over the land last year with an exemption for vegetation clearing of less than 500m2 per lot.”

Cr Williams said this week’s decision followed a Notice of Motion from local Councillor Wendy Boglary.

“Cr Boglary has been working with officers to look at a number of options regarding this land. This includes asking Council to previously consider purchasing the entire site with its Environmental Levy.

“Ultimately this did not proceed as it would have cost residents many millions of dollars and the habitat on the land was fragmented,” Cr Williams said.

“Following this week’s decision, we will now look at buying this land if it provides value for money for our ratepayers.”

Cr Boglary thanked the community for their advocacy and passion.

“As our first Koala Safe Neighbourhood, Ormiston is passionate about koalas and I appreciate the emails and calls I have received from the community about this property.”

Cr Williams said following this week’s General Meeting, Councillors would also be consulted on options to protect wildlife and habitat corridors in the City’s Urban Footprint.

“In February 2018 we adopted the Wildlife Connection Plan 2018-2028 which identifies key wildlife corridors across the city that provide habitat and connections for local wildlife across the City,” Cr Williams said.

“Since 2018 we have been working hard to strengthen these corridors through partnerships with private landowners and ongoing plantings, including our one million native trees and plants program, which has so far seen 413,819 plants planted across the city.

“As part of this week’s decision, Councillors will now be briefed on options to further protect these corridors in the urban footprint, with a report to come back to Councillors by May this year.”

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Council adopts erosion management plan for Coochiemudlo Island


Redland City Council has adopted the Coochiemudlo Island Shoreline Erosion Management Plan (SEMP), which outlines its strategy to manage current and future erosion risks.

Mayor Karen Williams said the development of the SEMP allowed Council to obtain a detailed technical understanding of the island’s coastal processes and opened an avenue for community engagement.

“Importantly, the SEMP recommends a number of management options for Council to protect the sub-tropical island from coastal erosion,” Cr Williams said.

“The principal recommendation is for post-storm beach nourishment across the island to help accelerate the natural recovery process and provide a buffer against future coastal hazards.

“Other recommendations include implementing an ongoing beach monitoring program, vegetation and stormwater management, formalising beach access, and sustainably relocating dredged sand.”

Cr Williams said the formal adoption of the plan followed significant research and consultation with key stakeholders.

“The Coochiemudlo Island SEMP includes input from coastal engineering consultants, a community reference group and State Government departments.

“It highlights the underlying causes of shoreline erosion through an assessment of the coastal processes occurring on the foreshore and a consideration of the island’s environmental, cultural and economic values.

“Home to hundreds of residents and an abundance of native wildlife, Coochiemudlo Island is a special part of Redlands Coast and is surrounded by an Emerald Fringe, a natural green belt containing within it woodlands, caves, beaches and wetlands.

“Like all islands it is subject to shoreline erosion which studies have shown is primarily linked to storm events.”

Division 4 Councillor Lance Hewlett said Council would continue to update the community on the progress of implementing the SEMP’s recommended actions, which remained subject to Council’s annual budget development and budget prioritisation process.

“The adoption of the Coochiemudlo SEMP is a significant milestone,” Cr Hewlett said.

“It will be critical in enabling Council to continue to protect the beauty that is Coochiemudlo Island from coastal hazards.

“The island is the hidden gem of Redlands Coast. The Emerald Fringe is on Council’s schedule of local heritage places, and Norfolk Beach was where Captain Matthew Flinders landed on the island on 19 July 1799 – the first European to do so.

“I would like to thank members of the community reference group, drawn from a cross-section of the island community and representatives from Quandamooka Yoolooburrabee Aboriginal Corporation, for their time and effort throughout the SEMP project.

“Coochiemudlo Island residents have had a fantastic win today, knowing their perspectives have been considered through the representation on this group.”

For more information and to read the Coochiemudlo Island SEMP, visit Council’s Your Say page.

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Council installs new nesting platform for ospreys


Redland City Council is installing a new pole and osprey nest platform at Sam Sciacca Sportsfield, Capalaba.

Mayor Karen Williams said the works would include the relocation of an existing osprey nest from a sporting field light pole to the new platform.

“The birds have been trying unsuccessfully for about two years to build a nest on top of the light pole near Coolnwynpin Creek,” she said.

“The nest is on a dubious platform on the lights and sticks fall down in an area where children and families gather, so it’s important Council moves the nesting birds to a more appropriate location.

“The move is also for the safety of the birds as there are electrical components on the lights, and there’s heat even though they are LED lights.

“There is a lot of community interest in the ospreys, and it was a concerned community member who advised us about the nest on the light pole.”

Ospreys on the nest platform at Wellington Point.

Cr Williams said this would be the second pole and osprey nest platform Council had installed.

“The first was at Wellington Point in 2015 and the ospreys have been successfully breeding at that site every year since then.”

Division 8 Councillor Tracey Huges said the new pole would be located about 100 metres from the existing light pole, and away from the sporting fields.

“It will be in an area where people will be able to appreciate it, near both the footpath and the creek,” Cr Huges said.

“We’ll attract the birds to the new pole by making it taller than the light pole and by moving the existing nest sticks to the platform.”

Cr Huges said there was a real sense of community connection to the ospreys.

“We have a Citizen Science Coastal Raptor Monitoring Program, which is overseen by Council, where community volunteers monitor the raptor nests.

“Ospreys feed exclusively on fish and are not too deterred by people.

“They are a big bird and if you regularly walk along areas where they nest you can see their whole lifecycle happen.”

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Blue-green algae found at Victoria Point


Redland City Council has installed signs at Orana Esplanade and Wilson Street in Victoria Point to advise residents and visitors of the presence of Lyngbya, a naturally occurring blue-green algae.

Lyngbya (Lyngbya majuscule) can cause skin, eye and respiratory irritations if people come into contact with it, and swimming and wading are not recommended where it is present.

The presence of Lyngbya is not uncommon for the waters of Moreton Bay between October and March, and often appears as mats floating on the surface of the water or as washed-up clumps on the beach.

The council signs are precautionary only to inform people of the presence of the algae, and all Redlands coast beaches and waterways remain open for recreational use.

Council urges residents to be mindful that Lyngbya could be present at any beach, and will continue to monitor all Redlands Coast beaches and erect signs if Lyngbya is found elsewhere.

More information is available from the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection.

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Council closes walking tracks during aerial spraying for mozzies


In response to heavy rain earlier in the week, Redland City Council will close some of its walking tracks at Victoria Point and Wellington Point on Friday morning, 22 January 2021, to conduct an aerial treatment of mosquito breeding sites.

Mayor Karen Williams said the larger additional treatment will target both freshwater and saltwater areas.

“A number of freshwater mosquito breeding sites have been inundated, particularly around Wellington Point, Victoria Point and Mount Cotton, causing mosquito larvae to breed in these areas,” she said.

“Council’s Pest Management Team decided to conduct the aerial treatment to target the mosquito larvae in these areas ahead of the Australia Day weekend.

“This is the first time Council has closed walking tracks to undertake mosquito spraying, but it was considered advisable due to the extent of the treatment.

“There is no danger to people, animals or the environment because of the treatment.

“It will be conducted with methoprene, which is a mosquito target-specific product that only kills mosquito larvae.”

The aerial spraying will encompass more than 100 hectares of additional freshwater breeding sites and is expected to occur between 8am and 12pm on Friday 22 January, weather permitting.

Walking tracks to close during this time are at:

  • Geoff Skinner Wetlands Reserve, Blight Street, Wellington Point
  • Point Halloran Conservation Reserve, boardwalk entry at School Road and Orana Street Victoria Point.

Signs have been placed in these areas, and the tracks will reopen as soon as the aerial treatment has been completed.

Regional Mosquito Management Group chairman Cr Paul Golle said while Council would continue to conduct ground and aerial treatments to manage mosquito numbers, it was also important for residents to take a proactive approach and check their backyards for possible breeding sites.

“Mosquitoes can be found breeding even in small amounts of water so residents are encouraged to empty pooling water from items around the yard such as pot plant bases, blocked roof gutters, bird baths, sagging tarps or covers and old tyres,” Cr Golle said.

“People can protect themselves by using insect repellents, maintaining fly screens on windows and doors, and using mosquito coils or plug-in insecticide burners.”

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