Protecting the Fitzroy River turtle

The Fitzroy Basin Association and Australia Pacific LNG have funded Greening Australia to continue their Fitzroy River Turtle Conservation Program.

This article was orgininally published in the December 2014 edition of Gas Stream, pubished by Australia Pacific LNG and available here.

The Fitzroy River is one of six major river systems that make up the Fitzroy Basin, which covers an area of just over 140,000 square kilometres in central Queensland.

The Fitzroy River turtle is only found in Fitzroy Basin waterways and the conservation program aims to locate nest eggs of this vulnerable species and protect them from predators including rats, foxes and dogs.

Without intervention, predators can destroy 90 to 100 per cent of eggs in a breeding season. Research indicates the Fitzroy River turtle has an aging population with little recruitment of juveniles, making extinction a real possibility for this species.

Paul Humphreys from Greening Australia said the turtle team has been searching river banks for freshly laid nests, collecting data, and installing nest protection.

“Over 30 nests have been already located and protected, each containing 15 to 20 eggs. Some of these have successfully hatched and there are more to come in the next few weeks,” Paul said.

Turtle nest protected Turtle nest protected

The program will continue through the September to December nesting season and includes predator control and weed management to improve habitat conditions.

Origin Senior Environmental Specialist Laura Hahn said the $25,000 funding was provided as part of Australia Pacific LNG’s Offsets Program and Pipeline Threatened Fauna Management Plan.

“We’re very pleased to be supporting this important conservation program again this year,” Laura said. “The Fitzroy River Turtle nest protection project is part of Australia Pacific LNG’s wider offset program which includes protecting and enhancing strategic properties with vegetation and habitat of state and national significance. The program also includes relocation of endangered and vulnerable species into protected areas.”

Fitzroy River Fitzroy River

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