The Batavia Coast Maritime Institute (BCMI), Northern Agricultural Catchments Council (NACC) and Mid West environmental organisations band together to protect one of Australia’s most important seabird breeding sites.
The Abrolhos islands – a chain of 122 islands that lie approximately 70 km off the coast of Geraldton – are home to millions of birds including the largest colonies of Wedge-tailed Shearwater birds in the eastern Indian Ocean and several rare bird species that exclusively nest on only a few of the islands.
Australian Sea Lion CALM Team at the Abrolhos Islands
Over the decades, invasive weeds and loss of habitat have placed immense pressure on the bird species, as well as many other priority species including the Australian Sea Lion, Abrolhos Painted Button Quail, Brush Bronzewing, Abrolhos Spiny-tailed Skink, Abrolhos Dwarf Bearded Dragon and Carpet Python.
BCMI in partnership with NACC are working together to restore native plant biodiversity at key sites on the islands, through strategic restoration activities including local provenance native plant species and threat abatement measures.
“Protecting habitat is vital for these species to survive and thrive, and student involvement has been integral to the success of the project,” said BCMI Biodiversity Conservation Projects Manager Maryke Gray.
Another key activity undertaken by the project team is controlling Weeds of National Significance (WoNS) and other key weeds of State significance on the islands.
Australian Native Mammals Students Engaged With Agencies
Since the beginning of the project, priority weeds have been mapped on 18 different islands/islets and more than 480 hectares have been cleared via mechanical and chemical control, including community participation.
BCMI students have already planted 3,268 seedlings to date, with another 7,500 to be planted later in 2015. All of the plants are local provenance, with seed and plant propagation material collected from the islands before being propagated at the BCMI and then taken back to the islands for restoration activities.
BCMI and NACC have supported a number of project scholarships which are awarded to students enrolling in Conservation and Land Management courses at BCMI to work on the project and to provide opportunity to develop practical skills and knowledge of conservation and land management activities.
Durack offers accommodation for scholarship recipients who need to relocate to Geraldton. Durack manages the Pepperell Student Village on its main campus, walking distance to classrooms, training workshops, downtown shopping and only metres from a spectacular beach.
Self-contained units with set reasonable fees and no hidden costs make the opportunity to apply for a NACC Scholarship in Conservation and Land Management too good to miss. And wouldn’t this look good on your resume?
Applications close 10 July 2015 and courses begin early August 2015.
“One of many highlights while studying Conservation and Land Management at BCMI has been visiting the Abrolhos islands to carry out vegetation surveys and undertake weed control”. -Jarna Kendle, 2015 Semester One Scholarship Recipient.
This project is supported by BCMI, NACC, WA Department of Fisheries, WA Department of Parks and Wildlife, Employment Plus, Geraldton Senior College and the WA Museum with funding from the Australian Government.
More information is available from [email protected] or phone (08) 9956 2892.