Turtles on the move
WHILE North Queensland is bracing for the possibility of the first cyclone of the year, king tides tomorrow combined with strong swells for the Wide Bay coastal regions will see rangers and volunteers continue to take precautions to protect vulnerable turtle eggs at Mon Repos.
Queensland's loggerhead turtle research program head Dr Col Limpus said while loggerheads remained an endangered species his team would continue to relocate eggs at risk from the elements to increase their chance of survival.
"In the past 24 hours we've relocated two clutches eroded out," he said. "It's part of our normal management program and each year a proportion have to be relocated. So far this year hatchling success rates have been good."
But while relocating the eggs above the erosion bank protects them from being washed away, moving them to higher ground can pose other issues.
Ranger and volunteers patrol Mon Repos each afternoon, checking hatched clutches and freeing any turtles which may have become trapped in the roots of vegetation.
The wild and windy conditions on the beaches have also prompted surf life savers to keep the majority of the region's beaches closed.
Surf Life Saving Queensland Wide Bay Capricorn regional manager Craig Holden said tomorrow's king tides, and high tides over the weekend, causing tricky swimming conditions, were likely to mean the beaches would remain closed.
"Looking at the forecast it appears as though the conditions will worsen over the next one or two days," he said.
"We'll just have to wait to see how much surf and wind erosion of the beaches we get.
"We'll continue to monitor the beaches on an hourly and daily basis."
The coastal regions of the Wide Bay will experience the highest tides of the year to date tomorrow, combined with swells of 3m, but the conditions are not due to the monsoonal low over the Coral Sea, which has the potential to form into a tropical cyclone.
With the Bureau of Meteorology issuing a cyclone warning for coastal and island communities from Cairns to Mackay, and a cyclone watch for the coastal and island communities from Mackay to St Lawrence, meteorologist Livio Regano said the Wide Bay was unlikely to see any effects, including a lack of any much-needed rain.
"There's unlikely to be much forthcoming south of Rockhampton," he said.
Bundaberg Mayor Mal Forman said the Bundaberg Local Disaster Management Group (LDMG) would continue to monitor the situation closely, and it was still a timely reminder to be prepared for possible weather events.
"I don't want the community to be alarmed, but in situations like this we need to be alert and ensure we're ready for whatever may be on the horizon," he said.