Local mangroves and saltmarshes need our help
Beach lovers and environmentalists are being asked to get involved in Whyalla’s newest volunteer project – helping protect coastal saltmarsh communities, including mangroves.
The Whyalla region has some valuable mangrove and saltmarsh areas and a new group is emerging to help prevent these areas from being damaged, and to educate the community about their importance.
Natural Resources Eyre Peninsula Coast and Marine Officer Kate Brocklehurst said a huge amount of the Spencer Gulf’s coastal area is temperate coastal saltmarsh and is protected under the Federal Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (1999).
“This is in recognition of its value to local fisheries and many marine animals, including migratory birds which travel thousands of kilometres to feed here every year,” Ms Brocklehurst said.
“Under this act it’s the land and the whole plant and animal communities that are protected – the plants, the soil and every organism that may use it – all year round or just seasonally.
“We’re keen to develop a citizen science group that can monitor the health of these sites and identify areas that may need more attention.”
Group leader Sandra Walsh said mangroves play a huge role in providing habitat for 80 percent of seafood species.
“Mangroves also store more carbon then any land dwelling plant - so play a role in reducing global warming,” Ms Walsh said.
“They also provide coastal buffers against storms and king tides and filter dirty water before it enters the sea.
“Human activity such as development, pollution, land clearing and dredging have contributed to a loss of nearly 30 percent of mangroves globally.
“Mangroves can migrate inland so it’s important that land behind the mangroves is protected too, otherwise they die and their benefit is lost forever.”
“We would like to hear from anyone who would like to get involved in undertaking vegetation condition monitoring, water quality testing, educational activities and awareness days.
“Anyone is welcome to join us.”