I’ve got Coochieist. Yep, I caught the Coochie island vibe yesterday while visiting the community of Coochiemudlo Island within the Redland Shire in southeast Queensland, just off Victoria Point. I am pretty sure the island is one of Moreton Bay’s hidden island jewels as the Island’s ‘emerald fringe’ buffers the island and almost the community from mainland’s mayhem. I must admit and please forgive me Coochie, I wasn’t even slightly aware that the island existed until I received a phone call from Coochiemudlo Island Coastcare earlier in the year. Though unfortunately, not to hear about the picturesque beaches, mangrove swamps, RAMSAR listed wetland or the bountiful coastal culture, however, distressed concerns about the coastal erosion from ex TC Oswald.
Yep, ex TC Oswald makes another appearance in my world of Coastal Tangents. Oswald’s scars have heightened coastal issues and conversations – which is what we almost need to ensure coastal management receives investment to protect and conserve our coastal environment and lifestyles.
Anyway, without too much further tangenting I thought by simply posting the photos below they will provide you will a brief insight into what engaged coastal communities are dealing with – outside their nine-to-five lives. Here, an empowered island community has united to protect their ‘emerald fringe’. It appears the island has been experiencing shoreline recession for sometime now (the graveyard of trees), which Oswald’s storm tide inundation exacerbated the coastal erosion issues. In response to the coastal hazards exposed from the coastal erosion, the community outreached to several partners to start to understand what happened, why and how to possibly fix the issue.
As a result from their positive and inclusive approach, the Coastcare group is now facilitating a collaborative shoreline recovery project with SEQ Catchments and Redlands City Council. The works have so far included placing a series of geotextile sandbags at the back of the beach to soften the beach profile and strategic sand extractions from the active system to recreate the dunes. Re-vegetation works of over 4000 dune plants have seeded a sense of hope for the community and has also provided them with action to do in the project (which is one of the many benefits of Coastcare… this deserves another tangent). Griffith Centre for Coastal Management has been involved in an ad-hoc way, as I’ve been able to provide them with community engagement advice and secure Professor Rodger Tomlinson’s (my boss) support by providing a presentation on what he thinks maybe happening and what might be next to tackle – a Shoreline Erosion Management Plan [which the local council has supported the go ahead for 2013-14].
Above all, what we can learn from Coochie is how the role of coastal management is more about the partnerships involved and attention to community engagement to secure investment.
Thank you Coohiemudlo Island Coastcare for calling me earlier in the year. I feel extremely privileged to be called upon and involved the Coochie coastal tour yesterday. I’m sure I’ll be back to spread a little more of my coastal sparkle. It’s now the end of another weekend and stoked to say, “another beach has been saved” – for the time being.