Broome environmentalists protecting Roebuck Bay from toxic algae set to represent WA on national stage

An environmental group responsible for protecting Roebuck Bay’s pristine ecosystem including native dugongs from toxic run-off pollution will represent WA after winning the Virgin Coastcare Award at the 2019 Western Australian Landcare Awards.

Establishing the Keep Our Bay Clean campaign in 2005, Roebuck Bay Working Group have significantly reduced the serious threat of surface and groundwater nutrient enriched pollution and Lyngbya majuscula blooms through their tireless efforts.

Blue green Lyngbya majuscula blooms pose a serious threat to the marine environment. Thick anaerobic mats over seagrass threaten threadfin salmon populations while blooms also effect feeding grounds for dugongs and migrating shorebirds. And coming into contact, humans can experience rashes and breathing difficulties.

Linked to runoff and pollutants such as fertiliser, chemicals, animal waste and detergents entering the ecosystem through stormwater drains, the Keep Our Bay Clean campaign encouraged industry and community to manage and dispose of their waste and waste water responsibly with educational programmes, planting of endemic species to catch runoff and lobbying Broome Shire to re-engineer/replant degraded stormwater drains.

RBWG Project Manager Kandy Curran looking at a Lyngbya bloom smothering Roebuck Bay’s seagrass meadows

‘The Keep Our Bay Clean campaign has reduced anthropogenic nutrient sources contributing to Lyngbya blooms, which threaten Roebucks Bay’s biodiversity, indigenous heritage and economic values,’ said project manager Kandy Curran.

‘Partnering with Broome Shire, schools and Yawuru Rangers, RBWG has an unsurpassed community engagement communications strategy which has improved the upper catchment of stormwater drain by planting endemic bushtuckers in the riparian zone, making a film about the plantings days and installing friendly Keep Our Bay Clean signage in the amenity.’

RBWG will go on to represent WA while competing for the Virgin Coast Award at the National Landcare Awards in 2020.

Proud sponsors Virgin Australia commended the group on their outstanding accomplishments.

Virgin Australia General Manager of Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility, Andrew Sellick, commended the corporation on their outstanding accomplishments.

‘Virgin Australia is proud to celebrate the important work of community groups across Australia that protect and preserve our marine environments,’ said Mr Sellick.

‘Roebuck Bay Working Group has significantly contributed to the protection of biodiversity of Roebuck Bay. Through their tireless work, they have helped safeguard a significant marine environment and we’re incredibly proud to help shine a light on their important efforts.’

Virgin Coastcare Award – Kandy Curran from Roebuck Bay Working Group with Ella Gretton from Virgin Australia

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