2016 Australian port or terminal of the year


Other Monitoring Programs

Monitoring Seagrass Health in Cleveland Bay

Seagrass communities are a vital element of the Great Barrier Reef and their health is one indicator that reef managers can use to understand the overall health of the marine environment.

Since 2007 the Port of Townsville has commissioned an annual seagrass health survey with monitoring conducted at ten seagrass monitoring meadows in Cleveland Bay, adjacent to the port.  This annual survey is carried out by James Cook University and details seagrass species and density (biomass), and maps areas of the meadows.  Monitoring techniques utilise helicopter aerial surveillance and boat-based free divers.

The 2015 Annual Seagrass Survey results for Townsville showed:

  • Most meadows classed as either very good or good for area and species composition indicators;
  • Dugong feeding trails were observed throughout the area;
  • Overall seagrass condition was classes as satisfactory;
  • Increase in total seagrass meadow area for the fourth consecutive year;
  • Widespread losses of seagrasses occurred along Queensland's east coast between 2009 and 2011 related to climate, cyclones and flooding, but the Townsville seagrasses have been among the quickest to recover with over 4,323 ha of seagrass recovered;
  • Favourable climate conditions in 2015 are likely to have enabled seagrasses to continue to expand in area;
  • Biomass declined from 2104, but remained similar to levels observed in 2012 and 2013 and above lows observed during 2009-2011;
  • Recovery of seagrasses means they were likely to be resilient to short term impacts during 2016.

Download the Fact Sheet here.

Download the full 2015 Seagrass Health Survey here.