Set on the Tropic of Capricorn in Central Queensland, the Capricorn Coast is an undiscovered gem. Pristine coastline, stretching 95 kilometres from Stanage Bay to the mouth of the mighty Fitzroy River, is speckled with small townships, beautiful beaches, fantastic fishing and quiet recreational spots. Just 30 minutes by boat from the mainland lie the amazing Keppel Islands and numerous other idyllic islands in the iconic, World Heritage Great Barrier Reef. All this forms a vibrant backdrop to a culturally, geologically and biologically diverse area; one that is home to an array of people who are drawn to the Coast's laid-back and sunny lifestyle.
Coast and beaches
Coastlines are defined as the interface between land and sea. They have a distinct structure, diversity, and flow of energy and include salt marshes, mangroves, wetlands, estuaries, bays, coves, and are home to many kinds of plants and animals.
Fourteen coastal ecosystems are present in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park which adjoins the Capricorn Coast and these connect land to freshwater to the marine environment.
The adjoining marine ecosystem is home to a vast array of species many of which are protected under the national Environment Protection Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act). Many local marine species are under pressure from coastal development, climate change, industry impacts, pollution and declining water quality, and other human-related activities. Of these, most at risk are marine turtles, dugong, whales and dolphins (including the Snubfin Dolphin population in southern Keppel Bay), coral reefs.
Being a coastal Landcare Group, we are primarily concerned about terrestrial ecosystems in urban and semi-rural settings: creeks and estuaries, mangroves, beaches, rocky shores, dunes, freshwater wetlands, coastal heath and shrublands (present on hill slopes and bluffs), and woodlands.
We recognise that land systems need a broader connectivity and that all things exist in an inter-related web. We actively promote healthy catchment connectivity and work with our many partner groups to ensure this occurs along our coast and beaches.
Environmental assets: the resident Fig Tree Creek flying fox colony, turtle nesting beaches; 17km Farnborough Beach, Capricorn Coast National Park (Bluff Point Walking Circuit and Double Head), Causeway Lake, coast beaches, Fig Tree and Ross Creek mangroves, Keppel Bay and islands.
Wetlands are more than just wet land. They are highly productive hotspots and deliver many important ecosystem services. They capture energy and provide food, habitat and refuge for a wide variety of fauna and flora. Wetlands are naturally beautiful places and give people a place to recreate.
The presence of wetlands gives a natural water balance in the landscape. Not only do they offer protection against floods, they filter pollutants such as sediments, nutrients, organic and inorganic matter and bacteria. Wetlands act as breeding grounds for fish, waterbirds and other wildlife. They host migratory water and shorebirds that breed in the northern hemisphere and travel to the southern hemisphere annually.
Aboriginal people have valued wetlands for thousands of years and maintain cultural links to them. They also provide scientific research opportunities and offer educational learning for the community. Landcare works to improve the connectivity and biodiversity of our wetlands.
We are fortunate to have several significant wetlands on the Capricorn Coast.
Environmental assets: Kinka Wetlands, Emu Park Bicentennial Wetlands, Hedlow and Lake Mary Wetlands (East Barmoya/Old Yeppoon Road), Iwasaki Wetlands (currently closed), Woodbury Wetlands, Farnborough Wetlands, RAMSAR Shoalwater and Corio Bay Wetlands.
Healthy waterways are vital to human well being. Not only do people in urban centres like Yeppoon rely on creeks for clean drinking water, recreational pursuits and scenic amenity, but wildlife and their supporting ecosystems also depend on them.
Many waterways form the Capricorn Coastal catchment which adjoins the larger Fitzroy River Basin. These include Ross, Fig Tree, Limestone, Stony, Coorooman, Nankin, and Water Park creeks. This network of waterways lie in close proximity to Keppel Bay and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and lagoon.
The shire has two declared sub-artesian basins: Highlands (near Marlborough) and Farnborough.
Land uses along the coast include beef cattle, forestry, horticulture and fishing. Tourism is also a primary focus, and defence plays a significant economic role in the region with the location of the Shoalwater Bay Training Area north of Yeppoon. Small rural and semi-rural landholders graze cattle and pasture, and horticulturalists grow a wide variety of fruit and vegetables. As with most primary production land uses, water quality and the impact of nutrients, herbicides, and sediment is watched closely.
Yeppoon's drinking water supply comes from Waterpark Creek in the headwaters of Byfield National Park. This area hosts ancient towering rainforest with unique fauna and flora. Landcare works to remove invasive weeds, flood debris and litter, and improve the water quality of our urban waterways and the flows entering the nearby Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.
Environmental assets: Byfield National Park (incl Stony and Waterpark Creeks), Landcare Rehabilitation Site on Fig Tree Creek ('Alby Wooler Reserve' in Park Street, Yeppoon), the Envirotrail and adjacent RailTrail.