Fitzroy Partnership for River Health News!

August 2017 edition...

2015-16 Waterway Report Card launched

22 June saw the release of the Partnership’s 6th annual report card on river health for the Fitzroy Basin. Featuring results for ecosystem health, agriculture and drinking water suitability, an overall B grade was awarded for the Basin for the third consecutive year. Based on the most comprehensive data available and endorsed by an independent Science Panel, annual report cards provide community and decision makers with information required to better understand long-term trends and emerging patterns across the Fitzroy Basin.

Executive Officer Nathan Johnston was pleased to report that for the first time in six years, no catchments were awarded a poor grade for toxicants. Results of the report card will be publicly presented at Theodore River Festival in September as well as Moranbah and Emerald when the FPRH partners and staff commences a regional tour later this year.

For more details on water indicator and catchment gradings across the Basin download a copy of the 2015-16 report here and read about the Report Card launch here.

Mindi makes 2017 Rockhampton River Festival

It's not often a 1.8m barramundi lands on the banks of the Fitzroy, but FPRH's mascot Mindi recently spent two days engaging with festival goers to spread the word about the work of FPRH.

Drawing smiles, high-fives and even some heartfelt hugs from young and old alike, Mindi and her minders snapped some stellar photos and handed out more than 200 Report Cards over the two day event. Displays and conversations touched on results from the recently released 2015-16 Report Card as well as tilapia, the barrage upgrade and fish hotels.

A giant 3m square snakes and ladders outdoor board game featuring Maisy the Mayfly consistently drew in players. All-in-all a fantastic festival and excellent public engagement opportunity thanks to Rockhampton Regional Council.

Want Mindi to make a splash at your next public event? Contact us to book her now!

FPRH welcomes new web developer

Starting in March, Kash Walker has hit the ground running as a valued member of the FPRH team. Hailing from Dalby originally, and more recently Cairns we are pleased this CQU graduate has settled in Yeppoon and is excited to be assisting with the development of data-driven reporting products and occasionally donning Mindi. Best explained in his own words, below are some insights into Kash and why he decided to join us:

One thing people would not guess? I’m a huge Tesla fan – I like the idea of owning a Tesla S someday.

Why FPRH? They’re ahead of the game… data driven products that use code are the future, not just for scientific reporting but pretty much everything. Automation is the future.

What drives you? I really enjoy trying to think of an amazing idea that improves peoples’ lives in some way … and I love working with video and design.

2017 Care for Creeks Bursary Winners

Rockhampton Grammar School, Rockhampton’s Emmaus College’s Eco Club and wildcard winner Cawarral State School will soon be using their new waterway monitoring kits thanks to the 2017 Care for Creeks Bursary. The Bursary encourages schools and community groups located in the Fitzroy Basin to become involved in monitoring local creeks and waterways by providing the necessary tools and know-how.

As part of the program, each group receives specialized training and is encouraged to enter their waterway monitoring data into the MyWater community portal. The portal allows participants to see first-hand how their monitoring sites compare with others across the Basin. Aimed at encouraging, educating and enabling the next generation of water managers, this FPRH project facilitates practical and meaningful participation in real-life science whilst also contributing to a more complete picture of our waterway health. We look forward to learning what these three schools uncover in their local waterways over the coming year.

Reef Check Australia 'Citizen Science' at Heron Island informs exciting new Pilot Project

In this exciting new Pilot Project, FPRH and Reef Check Australia have partnered to develop a visually appealing and easy to understand web visualization drawing on data collected by volunteers at Heron Island over the last few years.

Assessing and integrating this data as an additional piece of information will help create a more complete picture of Basin health and add value to the community data collected at Heron Island.

Read more about the Pilot Project here and keep an eye on Heron Island’s annual Reef Check Visualisation here.

Connecting community and waterway health

Raising the public profile of FPRH goes hand-in-hand with raising public awareness and interest in waterway health. This is one of the key reasons we value and invest in attendance at public events like the recently held Fitzroy River Water Barrage Open Day in Rockhampton. 

Connecting with community around topics and events that interest them provides us with valuable insights into how we can make science and our annual Report Cards more accessible, relevant and engaging. These insights also provide us with information that will help us better facilitate positive management changes to improve waterway health for all.

Over the coming 3 months, FPRH will be focusing on refining its community and engagement strategy to reach even greater numbers and affect greater change into the future.

Got a suggestion? We'd love to hear your thoughts - please contact us to share them.

Why water quality? Barramundi...

This year's Fitzroy Basin Report Card reveals that barramundi recruitment in the Fitzroy Estuary was disappointingly low*, with timing and extent of summer flooding a likely contributor. Maintaining healthy waterways and estuaries is critical to preserving this species, the recreational fishing industry and associated tourism.

For those who only get up close and personal with barra on a dinner plate, here are some lesser known facts about one of the Fitzroy Basin's most iconic and sought after fish. Barramundi:  
  • require access to salt and fresh water
  • are capable of producing 3-6million eggs per breeding season
  • require salt water for successful fertilisation and survival of egg sand larvae
  • mature at 3-4 years of age as males
  • change sex (males turn into females between 6 and 8 years of age and at about 80cm in length)

To find out more about barramundi in Queensland, take a look at these links on identificationbreeding, fishing rules and regulations and social media.

* Barramundi recruitment is scored using cast net survey data collected by Infofish Australia.

Got a River Rave?  Share it with community!

We welcome news articles from FPRH partners and the Fitzroy community. This newsletter is sent to a database of over 400 and is continually growing.

If you have a good news story, interest piece or lead we would love to hear from you - please contact us by phone or email shown below. 
If you would like more information about joining the partnership please contact:

Nathan Johnston - Executive Officer
P: 07 4999 2821 | M: 0400 221 055 | E:
If you have a more general comment or request, please contact:
Kash Walker - Web Developer
P: 07 4999 2819 | E:

Fitzroy Partnership for River Health
Level 1, 80 East Street
PO Box 139 Rockhampton, QLD 4700
FBA is the current host organisation of the Fitzroy Partnership for River Health.

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