Here on the Sunshine Coast we are lucky enough to have a diverse range of aquatic habitats. Some examples include our sand flats, mangrove forests, seagrass meadows, beaches and rocky reefs.
All of these different habitats are linked and provide food and shelter for the aquatic and terrestrial animals which either visit, or call these environments home.
Water quality within our catchments directly effects the health of all of these habitats and the animals that depend upon them. Some examples of these linkages include:
- sand and mud flats offer shelter for burrowing crustaceans and fish, they are also important feeding grounds for many species. To remain healthy, these ecosystems require litter free water with specific pH and dissolved oxygen levels
- mangrove forests are the base of the food chain and provide important nurseries for many aquatic animals. They require a stable river state, with little bank erosion and low sediment flows
- seagrass meadows require clear water (low turbidity), so that sunlight can reach the plants, allowing for photosynthesis and growth to occur
- rocky reefs are common within our local river mouths and along our beaches. They require low nutrient waters to prevent algae growth from smothering corals.
You can help our aquatic habitats flourish by:
- placing your litter into bins so that it cannot reach our waterways through stormwater drains
- using your green waste bin, rather than illegally dumping garden waste. This will help reduce the spread of weed species to our river banks
- reducing your boat wash, which in turn will decrease bank erosion
- limiting fertiliser, soap and detergent use close to stormwater drains and waterways. One simple method is to wash your car on the grass, to prevent soaps flowing directly into stormwater drains.
So the next time you are around our waterways, have a go at identifying some different aquatic environments.
Then take a moment to consider…. is there a way that I could help protect the animals within our rivers, creeks, beaches and oceans?