Forget hyped up US television shows! Because our very own turtle man, Dr Darren Fielder and the Redleaf Environmental team of specialists recently undertook aquatic clearances for a Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR) bridge construction project on the Mary River at Conondale in South East Queensland. The RoadTek crew was very impressed with our ability to capture freshwater turtles as part of necessary environmental clearances prior to placing large rock platforms in the Mary River.
We were particularly targeting the Endangered Mary River Turtle (Elusor macrurus) and the White-Throated Snapping Turtle (Elseya albagula) which are threatened species in the Mary River. We also undertook platypus clearances using a flexible cable camera looking for burrows in the river bank. The project is part of the repairs to flood-damaged road infrastructure across Queensland and was a requirement of the Redleaf Environmental (2013) Species Management Program for Grigor Bridge crossing on the Mary River at Conondale.
While snorkelling for turtles, we saw two majestic Endangered Mary River Cod as they hung about large snags in the river. There are not many of these guys left and the locals are proud protectors of these fish ensuring everyone knows to throw them back in the river if you happen to land one on your line. We caught 12 species of fish during the clearance works which indicates that the Mary River is in good ecological condition at Conondale.
At Redleaf, we love being in the field and we are excited to get back out to the river to help TMR with the rest of the bridge construction and demolition of the old bridge at Conondale over the coming months. It is great to see that TMR was able to demonstrate its duty of care and protect these amazing aquatic animals.
For more information on the Mary River Turtle and Mary River Cod, check out:
The Grigor Bridge project is being delivered under Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements, a joint federal and state initiative.