JOINT MEDIA RELEASE WITH HON STEVE DICKSON MP, QLD MINISTER FOR NATIONAL PARKS, RECREATION, SPORT & RACING
Turtle populations are set to benefit from predator control programs funded with $1.35 million through the first round of grants under the Nest to Ocean Turtle Protection Program.
The Australian and Queensland Governments are jointly investing up to $7 million to help reduce the threat to turtle nests from feral pigs and other predators to protect Queensland’s iconic turtle populations now and into the future.
Australian Government Environment Minister Greg Hunt congratulated the first seven successful applicants who will be offered grants this week.
“This important work is one of many joint projects that will help protect the unique biodiversity of the Queensland coast – both on the vulnerable west coast of Cape York and on our Great Barrier Reef,” Minister Hunt said.
Queensland National Parks Minister Steve Dickson said his department had received 17 applications for funding in round one, with seven being successful and the department contacting others to encourage and assist them to reapply for the next round.
“Seven offers have been made for projects that will target priority sites on Cape York and elsewhere along our coastline to protect these iconic animals,” Minister Dickson said.
“I was happy to see that most applications incorporated collaboration with Traditional Owners and natural resource management groups, on control activities such as ground and aerial shooting and baiting, trapping, and innovative nest protection devices.
“A condition of the grants is that only 5% of the funding can be used for administration – this is all about getting the money out there for on-the-ground work.
“Nest predation by feral pigs is one of the main threats to turtle populations along the Queensland coast, with 90% of turtle nests being lost to predation in some areas. The types of activities proposed will go a long way to reducing the destruction of turtle nests and newly hatched turtles,” Minister Dickson said.
Minister Hunt said the funding in this round would focus on managing priority turtle rookeries to prepare for critical egg-laying and hatching times.
“We’ll be seeking a second round of applications for projects that use innovative control solutions to build on the activities funded in round one,” Minister Hunt said.
“Applications will open on 28 November and close at the end of January 2015.”
Minister Dickson said the timing would be appropriate, taking into account the Christmas and New Year period.
“We want to assist those who weren’t successful for whatever reason in round one, and attract further applications to continue the imperative to protect our special marine turtles from a range of predators.
“I certainly hope to see a significant reduction in feral pig numbers in the target areas and an increase in turtles surviving to reach the ocean, as a result of this investment by the State and Commonwealth governments,” Minister Dickson said.
Details of the projects will be released when offers have been accepted.