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Wetlands not Wastelands

Wetlands not Wastelands

“Wetlands not Wastelands in the Gulf of Carpentaria” is a multi-partner project that received Coca-Cola Australia Foundation’s inaugural Environmental Flagship Partner Grant in 2019.  

We work directly with the Carpentaria Land Council Aboriginal Corporation and Plastic Collective, and are developing a marine pollution management plan and a report card for future action to conserve this region’s precious habitat. 

Pollution is a key threat to the vast wetland system of the Lower Gulf of Carpentaria, which has little to no recycling infrastructure and has been a hotspot for seasonal tourism.  

The innovative three-year pilot project aims to:

  • Develop a marine pollution and tidal wetlands management plan across the SE Gulf of Carpentaria and establish community-based plastic recycling stations in Burketown and Normanton to recover and recycle plastic waste.  
  • Reduce marine pollution by identifying existing and potential pollution threats and initiate systematic waste plastics recovery and recycling in the SE Gulf of Carpentaria.  

Year 1

The Normanton and Gangalidda-Garawa Ranger teams undertook online training for the project through Earthwatch in June 2020 and successfully completed two rounds of surveys independently in all three tidal estuaries and 23 saltmarsh sites in June and November 2020. 

Year 2

The Gangalidda and Garawa and Normanton Rangers received on-ground in person training for the project through Earthwatch and Plastic Collective in 2021. Our wetlands scientist, Jock Mackenzie, provided in-field training to 21 Rangers, in Shoreline Video Assessment Method (SVAM), rapid saltmarsh value and threat assessment, saltmarsh and mangrove identification and pollution monitoring. 
At the heart of this program lie the principles of collaboration, empowerment and local efforts to global problems.