Seagrass meadows form one of the most important marine habitats globally and occur in shallow coastal waters across the world, including in parts of Queensland, both in the beautiful Moreton Bay and the Great Barrier Reef. The Environmentally Friendly Moorings (EFM) Program is an initiative of Healthy Land and Water, designed to protect seagrass meadows and associated marine habitats by replacing existing block and tackle moorings with an environmentally friendly alternative.
Environmentally friendly moorings ensure mooring chains are kept off the sea floor, protecting seagrass and preventing damage. Healthy Land and Water has been involved in replacing traditional block and tackle moorings with environmentally friendly moorings in Queensland for the past ten years.
How environmentally friendly moorings work
Healthy Land and Water coordinates the recovery of seagrass in identified priority areas by working with mooring owners to replace existing block and tackle moorings with environmentally friendly moorings. Healthy Land and Water works in close consultation with State Agencies, Traditional Owners, community groups, and the boating community.
There are currently two EFM designs available, the Seagrass Friendly Mooring design and the Enviro Mooring design. Both designs use a shock absorber apparatus that ensures watercraft are safely secured to the seabed and prevents chains from dragging on the sea floor.
History of the EFM initiative
For many years block and tackle moorings were the most popular way to secure a boat or watercraft, however, these moorings – which often consist of makeshift anchors like concrete blocks or train wheels attached to a chain – are highly damaging to seagrass meadows and the associated and surrounding marine habitats. The mooring chain drags on the sea floor, ripping up seagrass and creating crop circles, which are dead zones with very little habitat value or sea life. These crop circles can be seen very clearly in aerial imagery.
Marine Park Seagrass meadows provide essential habitat for many marine species and are a key food source for dugongs and green turtles and are also home to juvenile fish and crustaceans which are highly sought-after by commercial and recreational fishers.
Since 2009, Healthy Land and Water has been involved in several successful trials to assess the effectiveness of environmentally friendly moorings designs in locations throughout Moreton Bay. Starting in 2012, Healthy Land and Water collaborated with State and Federal governments to design and roll out a mooring replacement program in priority seagrass beds to greatly reduce their impact on the marine environment.
So far, more than 230 traditional block and tackle moorings have been replaced with environmentally friendly moorings within Moreton Bay, and more are scheduled to be replaced in the near future.
The EFM initiative has been recognised by several awards including the Australian Business Award for Environmental Sustainability.
Jacobs Well and Cabbage Tree
Healthy Land and Water is working with the Gold Coast Waterways Authority (GCWA) to replace existing block and tackle moorings located within the Gold Coast section of Moreton Bay Marine Park.22 Environmentally Friendly Moorings have recently been installed in Jacobs Well and Steiglitz (Cabbage Tree Point). Several healthy samples of seagrass have been collected directly next to the existing dead zones in Jacobs Well and Steiglitz. This is a positive sign for future seagrass recovery within these dead zones.
Read more about the Gold Coast Water Authority mooring management strategy here.
Read more about the installation of EFMs at Jacobs Well and Cabbage Tree here.
Moreton Bay Marine Park EFM replacement 2020-2024
Healthy Land and Water is working with the Department of Environment and Science (DES) to replace 116 old block and tackle moorings in priority mooring locations identified within the Moreton Bay Marine Park.
As part of this project Healthy Land and Water will provide funding for the supply and installation of up to 116 environmentally friendly moorings. Together with a stellar team of seagrass scientists Healthy Land and Water undertakes rigorous in-field monitoring to understand the recovery of marine habitats through the program and communicates this across the community.
Read more about the EFM program here.
Keen for more info?
Are you an interested mooring owner?
If you would like more information or would like to be involved in the EFM initiative, contact Healthy Land and Water Team Leader Rachael Nasplezes on 0459 213 477 or firstname.lastname@example.org.