I was not sure what to expect when I went to an art and information exhibition about Mangroves. It was lovely to see that lots of people are so attached to them that they actually spend time drawing and painting them and part of that attachment is clearly the importance they play for us as stabilisers and refreshers of the areas around the Australian Coastline.I came away with the knowledge that not only are these habitats important for us to look after but that actually it might be possible to volunteer to keep a watch of Mangroves where you are.
Mangroves and coastal vegetation provide protection. One kilometre of mangroves reduces impact by storm surge and tsunamis by 90%. Maintain these habitats as cost alternatives to structural storm defences. Fish love mangroves. 70-90% of the fish, prawns and crabs we catch rely on salt marsh, mangrove and see grass habitats during some stage of their lifecycle. Monitoring mangroves and sea grass is essential for good management.
The site is very comprehensive and you can take a survey so as to inform the experts about the mangroves in your area. You can register your interest or join one of the groups and contact the Mangrove Hub Facilitator. Download the MangroveWatch brochure and contact the River Keepers if you would like to join an existing MangroveWatch program.
But I also became aware that it is not just Mangroves that need watching - a lot more beside, and this was the venue where some of these important organisations were sharing information which we can use, not only to inform ourselves but also to enable us to do a bit of watching.
Sea grass is the main diet of dugongs and green turtles. It is also the habitat for many smaller marine animals, some of which like prawns and fish are commercially important. Sea grass absorb nutrients from coastal run off and stabilise sediment, helping to keep the water clean. Sea grass also traps and stores CO2.
To find out more go to www.seagrasswatch.org Seagrass-Watch is a global scientific, non-destructive, seagrass assessment and monitoring program and it is run by a dedicated team of scientists, technicians and assistants. However they appoint Local coordinators in the various areas and countries in which they operate so if you think that this is the type of volunteering that might appeal to you, check out their web site.
OceansWatch runs expeditions to developing small island nations to assist them with marine and terrestrial ecosystem management, sustainable livelihood projects, environmental education and to build their capacity to handle the changes associated with climate change.
They are looking for marine scientists, zoologists and divers to complement their current crew. This is very hard work!! Only apply if you are 110% committed to conservation and making a difference in the world. please read the Volunteers Page and send your C.V. to email@example.com