Yeppoon Sewerage Treatment Plant powered by the sun
Solar panels and battery storage have been installed at Livingstone Shire Council’s sewage treatment plant (STP) in an effort to reduce running costs and emissions. The Yeppoon STP is one of Council’s major power consuming utilities and through this project will make a power saving of approximately 69%.
The 550kW project will see the plant being powered by solar during the day and surplus energy directed to battery storage for use during the night. The system has been designed to allow expansion in a modular fashion as demand increases.
With a total cost of almost $3 million, the project is jointly funded by the Queensland Government contributing $2.8 million under the Building our Regions program, along with Livingstone Shire Council, contributing $189,000.
We celebrate projects like these that reduce carbon emissions and show Reef Guardian Council’s commitment to taking action to limit the impacts from climate change on the Reef.
Douglas community get snap-happy in the name of science
This citizen science project turns a smartphone into a powerful device to measure how coastlines change over time. CoastSnap relies on repeat photos at the same location and uses a specialised technique known as photogrammetry to help coastal scientists to understand and forecast how coastlines might change in the coming decades.
Douglas Shire Mayor Michael Kerr encouraged everyone to get involved to build a strong database of images.
“The more photos we collect at a particular site, the more reliable our understanding of how that coastline is changing over time.”
“Monitoring these changes is important so that the impacts of coastal hazards can be avoided, mitigated or managed through adaptation planning.”
Mobile phone cradles are now available in the Douglas Shire at Four Mile, Cooya Beach, Newell Beach, Wonga Beach and Cow Bay.
Electric vehicle joins the Gladstone Regional Council fleet
Gladstone Regional Council have added a fully electric vehicle to their fleet which will provide council with valuable data on the capability of electric vehicles to meet Council’s future operational needs.
The 2021 Kia Niro will be based at the Gladstone City library where it will be charged from solar panels located on the library roof making it fueled by 100% renewables. Library staff will use the vehicle to make trips between all six of Council’s libraries.
Transitioning to electric vehicles is supported through Queenland Governments new Zero Emission Vehicle Strategy 2022-2032 which sets the following targets:
- 50% of new passenger vehicle sales to be zero emission by 2030, moving to 100% by 2036
- 100% of eligible Queensland Government fleet passenger vehicles to be zero emission by 2026
A key initiative is public charging infrastructure where options are being explored for locations across Queensland. A $10 million co-fund will support public charging options, in partnership with local government and private industry.
There are many Reef Guardian Councils now with fully electric or hybrid vehicles and we congratulate them on this transition.
New Guidelines for dog off-leash areas help Councils with planning
The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority’s field management partner the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service has recently published new guidelines to assist councils with planning, establishment and management of foreshore dog off-leash areas within and adjacent to state marine parks.
The Local government dog off-leash areas in State Marine Parks document summarises the regulations relevant to dog access and environmental management by the Department Environment and Science through Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service and subsequent key environmental considerations. A convenient checklist is included cataloguing requirements and expectations from the Department Environment and Science.
There is strong evidence about the negative effects of dogs on shorebirds. Striking a balance between recreational demand and protection of wildlife is a significant challenge for conservation managers. Councils are encouraged to use these guidelines from the early planning stages for dog off-leash areas through to the review of their effectiveness.
These guidelines were prepared based on valued input and feedback from a range of internal and external stakeholders. Practical implementation was piloted with the Brisbane City Council in the Moreton Bay Marine Park where relevant First Nations peoples and stakeholders were engaged to discuss site-specific matters.
Organic waste collection helps the Reef
Rockhampton Regional Council and Townsville City Council are trialing kerbside collection of Food Organics, Garden Organics through support from the Queensland Government.
When organic waste is sent to landfill rather than recycled it creates greenhouse emissions. In Australia, around 13 million tonnes of CO2-e (carbon dioxide equivalent) is created as a result of organic waste going to landfill. This equates to approximately 3% of Australia’s total emissions.
The Food Organics, Garden Organics trial diverts organic waste from landfill and turns it into valuable compost and soil conditioner. Rockhampton Regional Council have already collected 64 tonnes of food and garden waste and Townsville City Council have collected 72 tonnes from a combined total of 2250 households.
Benefits for councils and communities include:
- Reduce carbon emissions
- Return valuable organic material to the soil
- Extend the life of landfill facilities
- Mitigate the impact of Queensland Governments waste levy on ratepayers
This trial is another example of the important actions that Reef Guardian Councils are taking to tackle climate change – the greatest threat to the Great Barrier Reef.
Turtles nest here
It’s that special time of the year when turtle hatchlings are emerging from nests. Gladstone Regional Council and Hinchinbrook Shire Council have recently encouraged their coastal communities to do their bit to help protect turtle nests.
Gladstone Regional Council have reminded residents that there are several steps everyone can take to ensure they don’t have an impact on turtles, all while still enjoying the wonder of turtle season. These include:
- observing nesting turtles from a distance
- driving on the hard sand below the high-tide mark to avoid interfering with turtle nests
- remember that some beaches are dog-free zones between November to March
- to report a sick, injured or dead turtle, phone the Queensland Government Wildlife Hotline on 1300 130 272.
Hinchinbrook Shire Council together with community members, recently identified several nesting locations and erected signage and barricading at Forrest Beach and Cassady Beach, to protect these sites from impacts of vehicles and unnecessary disturbances.
They are urging their community to drive responsibly or face a fine of up to $6892.50. Council will be re-assessing the impacts of vehicle access to its beaches as part of a review of its Coastal Management Plans.
All six of the marine turtles found in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area are listed as either endangered or vulnerable. A big shout out to all Reef Guardian Councils for continuing to educate and inform coastal communities about what they can do to reduce pressures on these protected species.