North Coast

Helping to understand our rivers – more important now than ever

Byron-born charity and have partners develop an interactive online map of the Brunswick River – raising awareness to Bring Back the Bruns through community action.

The recent floods have shown in stark relief the influence that local

waterways have on our environment and life in the region. River

Warriors – an environmental campaign run by Byron-born turned

international charity, Positive Change for Marine Life, has launched an innovative, interactive online mapping platform for the Brunswick River.

By highlighting the key factors affecting the health of this local

waterway, the charity has created a platform that empowers community members to better understand – and address these issues.

Rivers and floodplains comprise a dynamic and changing landscape in the Northern Rivers, which represents a challenge and a boon for residents in the region. This has never been clearer than with the recent devastation caused by unprecedented floodwaters.

However, local waterways are also responsible for the rich agriculture and ecological beauty of the region. If we are to live alongside these dynamic, shifting systems, it is vital that we

better understand them and help strengthen their natural resilience. “I’m really excited by our Storymap for the Brunswick River”, said the Northern NSW Wetlands and Coastal Programs Coordinator for PCFML, Dane Marx. “It provides a platform for local community

members to better understand the factors affecting their waterway, and how they can come together to be a part of a healthy future for the Bruns!”, he said.

From stakeholder and partner meetings to on-river sampling and mapping, Positive Change for Marine Life (PCFML) staff, volunteers and key partners have been hard at work on the

Brunswick River and behind the scenes over the past 12 months. 14x kayak-based surveys of the riverbanks were undertaken mapping erosion, access points and native and exotic

vegetation. Water sampling and marine debris hotspots were also included in the mapping.

The Brunswick River Warriors Storymap is the product of this work and provides an interactive online map of the ecological health of the waterway. It highlights the many threats that it currently faces, as well as solutions to some of these pressing challenges. “The

Brunswick River is one of our Shire’s most precious cultural and environmental assets and the River Warriors Storymap is a brilliant new online tool that puts a spotlight on some of the key issues and threats affecting this waterway” Chloe Dowsett said (Coastal and

Biodiversity Coordinator at Byron Shire Council).

Collaboration and data-sharing with a number of project partners including representatives from government, business and recreational users heavily influenced the final mapping platform, including NSW DPI Fisheries, Byron Shire Council and Brunswick Valley Landcare.

“Council is pleased it could provide data and support for this excellent online education tool.” said Orla Seccull (Coastal & Estuary Officer at Byron Shire Council). It supports a wide range of actions to improve the health of the waterway – including an online tool that allows anyone from the community to upload photos and information on issues along the river in real-time, utilising GPS technology.

Positive Change for Marine Life have recently been out on the waterway with Marine Rescue, DPI Fisheries, and the SES to evaluate the impact of the floods and the needs for recovery and stabilisation. “Our 12 months of research has now provided a platform for a new community-based restoration project which we have already secured part-funding for and which will commence in the latter half of 2022”, said Dane. “We are excited to keep the community in the loop and will be launching our results at a public event in the future”, he said. Orla also expressed her excitement regarding the project. “Congratulations to Positive Change for Marine Life and all the partners involved in creating the River Warriors Storymap.

We hope it inspires more people to get involved in protecting the beautiful Brunswick

River”.

 

Visit Positive Change for Marine Life’s website www.pcfml.org.au/bruns-storymap for

more information.

 

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