The Sunshine Coast Rivers Initiative (SCRI) won the Australian Riverprize in 2011 for their long-term collaborative and strategic approach to community-based natural resource management in the catchments of the Noosa, Maroochy, Mooloolah, Pumicestone, Stanley and Mary Rivers.
Part of the traditional lands of the Darumbal, Fig Tree Creek Catchment lies in the heart of Yeppoon on the Capricorn Coast and flows into Keppel Bay and ultimately to the Southern Great Barrier Reef Lagoon.
The catchment faces multiple environmental pressures arising from increasing urbanisation including poor water quality due to stormwater, weed infestation, significant erosion and lack of community stewardship. Other issues include aging/inadequate infrastructure, historical lack of environmental assessment and lack of strategic management.
The SCRI and Capricornia Catchments/Livingstone Shire Council Sister Catchment project was formulated for the purpose of sharing expertise across aspects of catchment management, with a focus on the relatively small Fig Tree Creek.
The project aimed to embrace the waterway management through collective community planning and action, and has achieved symbiotic benefits for both groups with many useful expertise exchanges, ultimately contributing to better overall management of the Fig Tree Creek catchment.
These included erosion and sediment management, the establishment of a nursery and biocontrol breeding facility for Cats Claw Creeper control following a visit to the Noosa Landcare facility, marine debris clean-up in Keppel Bay which has become an annual event, new technologies being trialled for gross pollutant traps, capacity building with Livingstone Shire Council and Traditional Owner youth leadership exchange.
Although there were several setbacks including a Category 5 cyclone and time constraints, the project has yielded positive results which are on-going. The SCRI and Capricornia Catchments/Livingstone Shire Council continue to maintain their connections from the Twinning Initiative into the future.