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Protecting Pancake Creek

Coral reef and seagrass beds now have a line of defence against boat anchors with funding from Gladstone Ports Corporation (GPC), who have teamed up with Queensland ​Parks and Wildlife

Service (QPWS) to install $113,500 worth of reef protection infrastructure south of Gladstone. 

QPWS rangers who have been working with Gidarjil Land and Sea Country Rangers as well as local contractors, installed six of the environmentally friendly vessel moorings (EFMs) and six reef protection markers at Pancake Creek, located approximately 20 kilometres north of the Town of 1770.

The project is all part of GPC’s Biodiversity Offset Strategy partnering with QPWS Reef Protection Program which aims to reduce the impacts of anchor damage on sensitive coral reef and seagrass communities.

It also aims to raise awareness about the impact from anchor damage and demonstrates how responsible operations of vessels can improve the resilience of reef and seagrass ecosystems.

QPWS Southern Great Barrier Reef Principal Ranger Dave Orgill said the new moorings provide important protection for the delicate ecosystem around Pancake Creek.

“The environmentally friendly moorings work in conjunction with the markers that signal no-anchor areas to protect seabed floor habitats,” Mr Orgill said.

QPWS has been monitoring the habitat conditions at two of the mooring sites before and during the installation process using a method called Reef Health Impact Survey.

Acting CEO Craig Walker said the funding and research was part of GPC’s mission to responsibly manage, develop and facilitate the prosperity of the region.

“The latest monitoring results showed there was an increase in coral cover which is fantastic news and a great reminder of why we fund these projects,” Mr Walker.

“As Australia’s premier multi-commodity Port, it’s important we operate out Port facilities and services in an economically and environmentally sustainable manner,” he said.

Managing director Dr Kerry Blackman said Gidarjil Land and Sea Country Rangers worked alongside QPWS to install the environmentally friendly vessel moorings.

“It’s important we have First Nations people with a hands on role in the management of and care of First Nation Country and Sea,” Dr Blackman said.

“Our objective is to undertake environmental work on country that meets aspirations for keeping country healthy and for protecting heritage,” he said.

“In recent times we have expanded our program in order to undertake both land and marine management activities throughout the region that covers the traditional lands and traditional sea country of the Gooreng Gooreng, Gurang, Taribelang Bunda and Bailia peoples.”