Pumicestone Passage catchment

Find out more about the internationally recognised Pumicestone Passage, one of the Coast's special places

Pumicestone Passage catchment

The Pumicestone Passage catchment receives freshwater inflows from a network of streams including Bells, Mellum, Coochin, Coonowrin, Tibrogargan and Elimbah Creeks. These drain eastward from the D'Aguilar Range and the spectacular Glasshouse Mountains.

The passage separates Bribie Island from the mainland. It is a long, tidal waterway influenced by tidal flushing from its northern mouth at Caloundra and its southern mouth at Deception Bay. Approximately 80% of the passage is less than two metres deep.

The Pumicestone Passage has high environmental values, including seagrass meadows, sand islands, intertidal flats and mangroves and iconic and threatened species such as turtles, dugong and migratory shorebirds. It is part of the Ramsar-listed Moreton Bay Marine Park and is also a declared fish habitat area under state legislation.

The passage is also a regional aquatic playground, providing opportunities such as boating, paddling, fishing and swimming, which attract thousands of locals and visitors each year.

Statistics and facts

  • Total catchment area: 785 Km2 (Sunshine Coast and Moreton Bay)
  • Area within Sunshine Coast: 458 Km2 (20% of LGA)
  • Sunshine Coast Council Divisions: most of 1 and 2
  • The catchment area includes Bribie Island and the spectacular Glass House Mountains
  • Drinking water and sewage treatment plants on Bribie Island service the island community.

Catchment management

For nearly a decade, Sunshine Coast Council, Moreton Bay Regional Council and more than 30 stakeholder groups have collaborated to preserve and improve the values of the Pumicestone Passage and its catchment, under the banner of the Pumicestone catchment network.

We developed and implemented an inaugural action plan for the 2013-2016 period, and are nearing completion of the follow-on Pumicestone Passage catchment action plan 2017-2020. It features 32 actions that have been undertaken by a wide range of stakeholders, to:

  • improve water quality
  • enhance habitats and biodiversity
  • increase community benefits and stewardship
  • increase industry benefits and stewardship
  • strengthen our knowledge, planning and advocacy.

In February 2021, a Pumicestone catchment convergence (PDF, 2163KB) was held, to:

  • consolidate what we know about the Pumicestone Passage and its catchment, from traditional, academic, industry and community sources
  • identify knowledge gaps and emerging management priorities
  • promote the values of the passage and catchment.

Outcomes from the convergence informed the development of our next action plan, for the 2021-2024 period. In addition, collaboration between councils and our many partners will continue to be facilitated through bi-annual meetings of the network.