Washed Up This Week
The below is a callout to be involved in the Penguin census via Kristy Manning, Seascape Liaison Officer, Natural Resources Adelaide and Mt Lofty Ranges… The last date to be involved is the 20th October. Read below for more information.
This is your chance to be involved in the 2014 Granite Island Penguin Census
The annual penguin census is nearly underway and volunteers are needed to count Little Penguins and their burrows on Granite Island.
Date: Monday 13 and 20 October 2014
Time: 10.00am – 2.00pm
Location: To be advised on registration
What to bring with you: torch (not halogen) with new batteries, snacks, water, appropriate clothing for weather conditions, covered shoes, hat
Information gained from the census will aid the ongoing monitoring of the colony and this work is funded by the Adelaide & Mt Lofty Ranges Natural Resources Management Board.
Participants will need to be able to climb, stretch and bend to locate penguin burrows which are scattered over the entire island. More information is contained in the attached flyer.
To register your interest, please contact the census coordinator Dr Diane Colombelli-Négrel on:
Phone: 8201 7649
Exact meeting location will be provided when you register
In Sept 2014, FoGSV sent a letter to 16 South Australian Ministers regarding the future protection of Pt Stanvac jetty.
We have since received acknowledgement from various Ministers of receipt, as well as positive feedback from Greens Minister, Mark Parnell (see his email directly below):
Dear Rob and colleagues,
Thank you for your letter Opportunity not to be missed – survey of Pt Stanvac Jetty dated 8th September 2014.
I completely agree with you on this issue. Your letter was timely as we are still waiting for a response from the Government to the public consultation phase.
Last Wednesday, I took your points as inspiration for a speech to the Legislative Council, where I suggested that a full scientific survey be carried out before any decisions are made as to the future of the jetty as a piece of public infrastructure.
You can view my speech on YouTube at this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vhUKUFxeQG4
And the full text of the speech is available on my website here: http://www.markparnell.org.au/speech.php?speech=1330
Please feel free to share with your networks and on your website.
For your interest I have also attached the public submission by the Conservation Council SA and seven other groups, in case you haven’t seen it already.
Mark Parnell MLC
Original letter sent below:
Opportunity not to be missed – survey of Pt Stanvac jetty
The Metropolitan Coast of Adelaide, as we know, has been significantly affected by human activity since European settlement.
Impacts have included:
• Clearing of forests on the Adelaide Plains soon after settlement
• Draining and removing wetlands to the east of the original coastal dune system
• Building extensively upon the dune system and too close to the high tide line
• Disposal of industrial wastes to waterways that drain to the Gulf
• Discharging of insufficiently treated human sewage into the Gulf
• Construction of ports, marinas, boat ramps, breakwaters and groynes that require regular dredging
It has taken decades to come to the point where South Australian researchers have been able to connect the dots and link many of these activities with – most significantly – seagrass loss (5,000 hectares) and the consequent changes to the coastline.
The Friends of Gulf St Vincent, along with many other groups concerned with continuing challenges to the health of the Gulf, are doing our best as a volunteer organisation to support responsible use of the Gulf. Enclosed is a booklet that outlines, in more detail, our concerns about the future of the Gulf.
We are contacting all South Australian politicians with any interest in, and responsibility for, our marine waters to alert you to a unique opportunity before it is lost.
The Port Stanvac jetty has been a restricted area since the 1960s, which means there has been minimal disturbance to the marine zone adjacent to the jetty structure. In effect, it has been a de facto marine reserve for 50+ years. The only other locality similar to this – the Port Noarlunga Reef – is open to recreational fishing, and surveys have shown that the heavy use and proximity of Noarlunga reef to terrestrial runoff has resulted in parts of the reef being in “poor” or “at caution” condition status (Collings reef health 4).
Port Stanvac is a local hotspot for biodiversity (Benkendorff), and recent surveys have found EPBC listed marine species living around the wharf structure (leafy seadragons).
The removal of the wharf structure will result in the death of all the sessile and site attached species. It is likely that the ecological condition of the area will deteriorate to match that of the remainder of the metropolitan coast.
The FoGSV have previously written to the State Government urging that its protection from exploitation be continued.
Most imperative is the need to conduct a thorough survey of the site, which represents a long-term refuge on this side of the gulf. A baseline study should be undertaken before any decision about future use or access is made.
We are seeking bipartisan support for a comprehensive study as soon as possible – it would be inexcusable to miss this opportunity to define:
- ecological values, including distribution and abundance of threatened species
- current (baseline) ecological health
- habitat types and distribution
- species distributions and abundances
- community composition and quantitative biodiversity
- presence and population characteristics of introduced species
- physico-chemical conditions and environmental health
and to establish:
- visual disturbance indicators
- performance indicators and environmental trigger values
In 2013 the FoGSV heard a presentation by the EPA on the Nearshore Marine Aquatic Ecosystem Condition Reporting Program for Gulf St Vincent and Spencer Gulf, and we look forward to following the progress of this monitoring. The inclusion of the Port Stanvac Jetty as a monitoring site makes good sense. We note that the jetty has been a significant long-term weather, tide and sea condition monitoring site for the Bureau of Meteorology, and this role could continue if the offshore jetty structures were retained until they degrade naturally over time.
With respect to a baseline study of the jetty, the well-regarded Reef Life Survey (RLS) method (developed at University of Tasmania) should be used, as that method is to be used for marine parks monitoring in SA, and it is now a standard technique across southern Australia (and in various other parts of the world) for survey of natural and artificial reefs, and ongoing “reef health” monitoring.
South Australia has a marine research and citizen science community that is skilled in RLS methods, and has expertise in determining the suite of rarely recorded / limited range, threatened and endemic species at jetty sites. The commitment of our marine science community is evidenced by two comprehensive books on South Australia’s major gulfs – The Natural History of Spencer Gulf and The Natural History of St Vincent. The Friends of Gulf St Vincent will join with other environmental groups to provide whatever support we can if permission is granted to carry out a survey.
Below are reasons given previously for protection of the jetty biota, and continuation of restricted access.
- Presence of species protected under South Australian and Federal Legislation: both Leafy Seadragon Phycodurus eques and Weedy Seadragon Phyllopteryx taeniolatus occur in the vicinity of the jetty.
- Presence of Species of Conservation Concern: Blue Devilfish Paraplesiops meleagris and Long-snouted Boarfish Pentaceropsis recurvirostris, and other site-associated reef species of conservation concern occur in the vicinity of the jetty.
- Important Refuge for Fishes i.e. not fished since the 1960s, hence functions as a significant de facto marine reserve, and there are very few other examples of areas in South Australia which have been unfished for so long.
- Ecological Significance: due to its length and depth, and shading provided by the jetty, it functions as a significant artificial reef habitat, including habitat for deeper water species.
- Proximity to Desalination Plant Outlet: and hence useful as an environmental monitoring site.
- Important Habitat for Reef Invertebrates (assemblages of reef invertebrates living on the pile structures, in an area largely devoid of reef).
- Likely Habitat for rarely recorded species (given the length and depth the jetty, the lack of previous access, and the reduced light penetration due to the structures overlying the jetty piles).
- Research Value, for Monitoring Climate Change: The end of the jetty has been a significant long-term weather, tide and sea condition monitoring site for the Bureau of Meteorology, and this role could continue if the offshore jetty structures were retained until they degrade naturally over time.
- Value as a Long Term Marine Environmental Monitoring Site e.g. very useful as a marine environmental monitoring site using Reef Life Survey methods, because it is unfished, and also is suitable for transect-based monitoring over a gradation of depths (monitoring of fishes and invertebrates at this site would also relate to climate change monitoring, and effects of desalination plant).
- Value as site for Monitoring Presence of Introduced Marine Species: Given the history of this jetty as a shipping terminal, and the fact that a number of southern Australia’s most invasive marine pest species were introduced by shipping, it is important that any baseline survey of the biota include description and quantification of introduced marine species. This will support current government and community research and eradication programs for marine pests in Gulf St Vincent.
Suggestions/Options for the long term use of the wharf structure:
- Maintain the full structure – large cost due to cathodic protection required and safety risk
- Removal of the top structure but leave the pylons (potentially 2m below the surface). This would retain the vast majority of the biodiversity and value, without the large cost of maintenance and risk – installing navigational markers around the structure would be no different to what is located around the Port Noarlunga reef or even natural reefs that are not marked (Horseshoe reef). The structures will degrade over time due to corrosion but this is unlikely to significant affect biodiversity
- This could then be used as a dive trail with information markers underwater (similar to Pt Noarlunga) with some of the history of the site (eg: biological as well as industrial) linking the wharf, the dolphins and the pipeline
- The Government should request that Mobil offset the cost of not removing the pylons as a part of their required demolition of the site, to pay for the establishment of navigational marking/lighting and dive trail signage
Potential strategies for maintaining ecological protection:
- Add The Pt Stanvac site to the marine park network
- Make it a PIRSA Aquatic reserve due to its role in fish habitat
- Maintain the DPTI exclusion zone due to navigational hazard
We reiterate that Port Stanvac jetty is a special case, and that its status for the past 60-odd years makes it one of the very few significant marine jetty refuges on this side of the gulf.
We hope that all South Australian elected representatives can appreciate the significance of this opportunity.
President, Friends of Gulf St Vincent
Every Spring the Tennyson Dunes Group hosts the annual Tennyson Dunes Open Day. It’s a great way to learn about your local dunes. Come on an expert guided tour with the volunteers, Neville Bonney and Karl Telfer. Watch our famous Painted Dragons frolic in the sun and check out the wildflowers. Don’t forget to have lunch with the Kiwanis.
* Text courtesy Tennyson Dune Group
Come and visit us at facebook.com/friendsofgulfstvincent
Walkers along the Torrens banks between May Tce and Henley Beach Road in the past few days may have seen a number of dead or dying fish, particularly carp and possibly catfish. This is the EPA’s prompt response to our enquiry today:
We had a look at this and it appears that the recent rains have added a large organic load to the lowland Torrens River which, along with an obvious algal bloom, have resulted in the water holding minimal dissolved oxygen to sustain the many large carp and catfish you probably saw on your walk. While the current warm, sunny weather continues it is likely that more fish will continue to die. I would however expect the smaller fish to persist because they can usually get enough oxygen from gasping in the shallows, compared to larger fish that are more susceptible to these sorts of events. Council will be putting up signs and removing as many of the accessible fish as possible. Finally, these sorts of events happen occasionally in many lowland streams during the year, so it is not that unexpected for the bottom of the Torrens – and has occurred in the past through the same section of river.
To explain this further here is a paragraph from a 1988 EPA report: Dissolved oxygen (DO) is important for most aquatic organisms and varies with temperature, salinity, rainfall and runoff containing oxygen demanding organic material. Concentrations in unpolluted waters are generally between 7 and 10 mg/L. DO concentrations vary seasonally or even daily in response to temperature and biological activity. DO is used to indicate the degree of pollution caused by organic matter. DO concentrations below 5 mg/L are stressful to most aquatic animals.
Ambient Water Quality Monitoring of South Australia’s Rivers and Streams (Chemical and Physical Quality) EPA Water Quality Monitoring Report No 1, 1998
And another explanation of the impact of low dissolved oxygen, from a US website: Natural conditions such as high temperatures, large amounts of leaves and woody debris that fall into the river from streamside forests and an absence of waterfalls or riffles to aerate the water can lower DO concentrations. Nitrogen and phosphorus (N & P) added to rivers from point sources such as waste water treatment facilities or nonpoint sources such as runoff from agricultural or urban areas may enhance the growth of algae in streams and rivers. As algae complete their life cycle and die, they become a food source for bacteria which consume oxygen as they decompose the algae. Large populations of bacteria feeding on algae are able to consume all the oxygen available in water – thus leading to the death of other aquatic organisms, including fish, which depend on the DO. This is often described as a fish kill in the popular media. http://www.nespal.org/dissolved%20oxygen.html
posted by Angela Gackle on 17/5/2014
Members are invited to attend our Incorporation Meeting.
Members of FoGSV may be wondering why we are having a meeting to become incorporated – many of you probably thought that we were already incorporated.
Up until a couple of years ago we were affiliated with the Friends of Parks, which IS an incorporated body, and hence we were covered through our affiliation with them.
Due to changes within Friends of Parks, which altered the criteria for eligibility, we were informed that we no longer met this new criteria – because we did not carry out hands-on volunteer works within the State’s Protected Area System under the direct approval and supervision of DEWNR Park Rangers. So we were asked in writing not to renew our membership in 2012.
This did not at first raise alarm bells, as the consequences were not immediately realised. They became apparent earlier this year when we were changing signatures at the Bendigo Bank to enable the new office bearers to carry out their functions. The Bendigo Bank informed us that they could find no trace of us being a legal entity and under the law they were not able to deal with us unless we were.
Due to our loss of affiliation with the Friends of Parks we were no longer covered by their Incorporation or name.
We have since applied for, and received from the Commissioner of Corporate Affairs, a temporary name which runs out on 26th June if not confirmed by us by Incorporation.
I hope that this clears up any confusion and that we will see a good number of you at the Incorporation meeting for which we also hope to have a speaker and provide nibbles.
We urge as many members as possible to attend. It will be a good opportunity to touch base with some of the committee and also meet other members.
We now have a speaker confirmed – Janine baker, Marine Ecologist & Educator. Read below to find out more about her talk.
“What’s in the Gulf?
The Weird and Wonderful Marine
Animals of Gulf St Vincent”
Janine Baker, marine ecologist and educator from citizen science group South Australian Conservation Research Divers (SACReD), will present a slideshow about some of the less commonly seen, unusual and endemic species found in GSV waters. Some of the content is based upon the exploratory surveys undertaken around gulf waters during the past decade, by SACReD members and associates.
When: Sunday 15th June
Time: 4pm – 6pm
Venue: Henley Sailing Club – 1 Seaview Rd / Esplanade, West Beach
Light refreshments will be provided.
Please RSVP to email@example.com if you wish to attend.
The organisers of Pt Noarlunga Open Water Swim have generously donated the proceeds from an auction held on the swim day to the Friends of Gulf St Vincent. Thank you so much, we will endeavour to invest this in our Gulf wisely.
Interesting article on the PLOS One site:
Anthropogenic litter is present in all marine habitats, from beaches to the most remote points in the oceans. On the seafloor, marine litter, particularly plastic, can accumulate in high densities with deleterious consequences for its inhabitants. Yet, because of the high cost involved with sampling the seafloor, no large-scale assessment of distribution patterns was available to date. Here, we present data on litter distribution and density collected during 588 video and trawl surveys across 32 sites in European waters.
We found litter to be present in the deepest areas and at locations as remote from land as the Charlie-Gibbs Fracture Zone across the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. The highest litter density occurs in submarine canyons, whilst the lowest density can be found on continental shelves and on ocean ridges. Plastic was the most prevalent litter item found on the seafloor. Litter from fishing activities (derelict fishing lines and nets) was particularly common on seamounts, banks, mounds and ocean ridges. Our results highlight the extent of the problem and the need for action to prevent increasing accumulation of litter in marine environments.
We thought this article was very interesting.
It was written by Jason Tetro – Microbiology, Health & Hygiene Expert, on the Huffington Post website. This kind of issue affects every beach. This was written in the US, as they head into Summer (lucky!)
A starter snippet below…
At this time of year, almost everyone is awaiting the inevitable end to winter and the beginning of the warmer weather of spring. But many of us cannot wait for Mother Nature and instead journey to one of a plethora of pleasant places famous for their warmth, both climactic and interpersonal. Amongst the most popular destinations, including Florida, California and the Caribbean, exist some of the most desirable beaches where millions congregate to take in the joys of sun, sea, sand, and unfortunately germs.
This gallery contains 14 photos.
Dolphin Day this year was a well attended event on March 16th, 2014. See pics below…