Seagrass seed recovery in harbour
SCIENTISTS monitoring the health of seagrass meadows in Gladstone Harbour have discovered seed banks at several sites.
Queensland Fisheries Minister Craig Wallace described the discovery as good news.
"This discovery shows seagrasses in the area have the capacity to recover following flooding in the past year," Mr Wallace said.
"If climate conditions in the second half of this year continue to be favourable for seagrass growth, we can expect to see some recovery of these meadows."
The study, commissioned by Gladstone Ports Corporation, is part of a wider seagrass monitoring program designed to ensure environmental standards for the Western Basin Dredging Project.
Queensland Fisheries principal scientist Michael Rasheed said discovery of seed banks was a shot in the arm for seagrass levels in the harbour.
"We have found seagrass seeds in places where the majority of the above-ground seagrass had been lost," Dr Rasheed said.
"The presence of seagrass seeds in the sediments provides a potential source of recovery for seagrass meadows that have declined following recent weather events."
Capricorn Conservation Council's Ian Herbert responded to the news by saying his organisation was still worried about the effect dredging would have on seagrass pastures in the harbour.
The conservation council is calling for more data on seagrass levels.
A GPC representative told The Observer a new batch of statistical data on seagrass levels in the harbour was due to be released in July or August.
The most recent data, from a February survey, is available on the GPC website, under Western Basin Dredging Project.
June 29, 2011