Moreton Bay Shorebirds project

Moreton Bay Shorebirds project

Reducing threats to shorebirds by protecting and restoring shorebird roosting and foraging habitat. 

Moreton bay shorebirdsProtecting and restoring migratory shorebirds' habitat in Moreton Bay.Healthy Land & Water’s Moreton Bay Shorebirds project reduced threats to shorebirds in the Moreton Bay Ramsar Site and adjacent areas by protecting and restoring shorebird roosting and foraging habitat.

This project aimed to increase the health of migratory shorebirds visiting South East Queensland, to give them the best chance of global survival.

Actions are anticipated to benefit seven threatened migratory shorebirds: Far Eastern curlew, Curlew sandpiper, Great knot, Red knot, Greater sand plover, Lesser sand plover, and Bar-tailed godwit.

The project focuses on:

  • Implementing strategies and actions to conserve roosting and feeding sites used by Moreton Bay’s migratory shorebirds.
  • Implementation of priority actions in partnership with site managers to enhance migratory shorebird habitat and reduce immediate and longer-term threats to habitat quality and extent.
  • Reducing disturbance of feeding and resting migratory shorebirds by people visiting and working in and around Moreton Bay is critical and will require behaviour change, educational campaigns, incentives, and/or regulation.

Increasing the health of migratory shorebirds visiting South East Queensland to give them the best chance of global survival. 

What we did

Migratory shorebirds on the beachImplementation of priority actions with site managers to reduce threats.

Healthy Land & Water has assessed migratory shorebird sites across coastal South East Queensland, including the Moreton Bay Ramsar Site, to determine site-specific management actions required.

A University of Queensland research team, led by Professor Richard Fuller, analysed the data collected by the Queensland Wader Study Group and found that threats to migratory shorebirds in Moreton Bay are contributing to their global decline and need to be addressed.

Major threats include human disturbance, coastal development, and climate change.

The process of preserving shorebirds' habitat involves:

  • Working with land and water managers to develop and implement site-based threat mitigation plans at 15 priority roost sites.
  • Threat mitigation activities (i.e., native vegetation/mangrove removal and potential site modification to reduce encroachment, weed control, etc.)
  • Investigating and implementing improved assessment of threats impacting roost sites and priority foraging habitats.
  • Maintaining or enhancing roost sites.
  • Mitigating the disturbance at 20 priority roost sites and foraging habitats by developing behaviour change strategies
    that target specific user groups.

Download a copy of the report

You can download a copy of the Fuller Report HERE

Fuller RA, Clemens RS, Woodworth BK, Moffitt D & Simmons BA (2019) Managing Threats to Migratory Shorebirds in Moreton Bay. A report to Healthy Land and Water. University of Queensland, Brisbane.

Measuring success

As a result of the program, by 2023, there will be the restoration of, and reduction in threats to the ecological character of Ramsar sites, through the implementation of priority actions.

The aim has also been to stabilise and improve the trajectory of species targeted under the Threatened Species Strategy and other EPBC Act priority species. 

Actions to mitigate direct threats have been implemented at 5 sites known to support internationally or nationally important numbers of EPBC Act threatened species as well as actions to mitigate direct threats will be implemented across 20 priority roosting or foraging sites in Moreton Bay. 

Why this project is important

Over 35,000 migratory shorebirds visit Moreton Bay each year and many have travelled tens of thousands of kilometres, some from as far as Siberia and Alaska. The availability of food and rest for migratory shorebirds in Moreton Bay and every stage of their global journey is critical.

Research by the University of Queensland and the Queensland Wader Study Group shows migratory shorebirds and their habitats are unfortunately in decline in Moreton Bay. Migratory shorebirds, like the critically endangered Far Eastern Curlew, have experienced a population decline of more than 80% over the past 30 years.

Habitat loss along the birds’ migration routes, such as in the Yellow Sea, is a major cause of the declines, but recent analyses have confirmed that threats in Moreton Bay play an additional role. Local action to reduce threats is needed in addition to actions overseas. 

 

Project snapshot

Project name:  Moreton Bay Shorebirds Project
Project contact:  Suzi Moore, Healthy Land & Water
Catchment:  South East Queensland
Timing:  April 2020 – June 2023 (Completed)
Budget: $1.2 million
Partnerships: 

This habitat preservation project is funded by the Australian Government’s Environment Restoration Fund. 

Healthy Land & Water has worked closely with Kabi Kabi, BirdLife Australia for floating roost design, QWSG, OzFish, BIEPA, the Queensland Wader Study Group, the University of Queensland, and other researchers.

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What's next

Funding has ended for this project. There is huge potential to build on the successful work undertaken in this project.

Project collaborators

Healthy Land & Water is working closely with the Queensland Wader Study Group, the University of Queensland and other researchers, local and state governments, Traditional Owners, industry, and community organisations to deliver outcomes for Moreton Bay Ramsar Site and its migratory shorebirds. Healthy Land & Water has worked closely with Kabi Kabi, BirdLife Australia for floating roost design, QWSG, OzFish, BIEPA, the Queensland Wader Study Group, the University of Queensland, and other researchers.

This project is supported through funding from the Australian Government’s Environment Restoration Fund. 

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