EYE ON THE REEF MONITORING PROGRAM
The program is a marine and environmental data collecting system. Its initial aim was to encourage the active involvement of community members, commercial tourism operators, guides and visitors in the collection of information at regularly visited sites.
LIPS initiated the monitoring program in cooperation with local Port Douglas marine tour operators. The monitoring program received an overhaul in 1999 by Reefwatch Australia and Robin Aiello with funding from GBRMPA. Robin was nominated as the coordinator of the program, which involved 11 tour operators between Cairns and Port Douglas collecting data from 25 reef locations.
The Low Isles preservation Society (LIPS) is a conservation group dedicated to the protection and preservation of the Low Isles, and the marine, coastal and rainforest environments of far north Queensland.
EXERCISING COAST CARE
Interpretive Trail around Port Douglas
The gentle four kilometre walk around Port Douglas follows 15 interpretive signs which explain the natural, cultural and historical values of Port Douglas and the surrounding area. Walkers are introduced to several ecosystems including beach, mangroves and headland. LIPS received funding and with support from Coastcare, QPWS and Douglas Shire Council, initiated the interpretative trail. LIPS volunteers erected each of the signs and the local marine tour operators have sponsored the production of the brochure that illustrates the walk and received very positive feedback from locals and tourists.
LOW ISLES HERITAGE WALK
The Low Isles Heritage Walk was officially opened on 6th March 2000. It comprises seven interpretive signs that cover a range of topics including zoning information, the plant and wildlife of Low Isles, the history of Low Isles, life on the Lighthouse station, and the 1928 – 1929 expedition.
LIPS committee member Tina Alderson conducted historical research by collecting information from
ex-lighthouse keepers and their families who lived at Low Isles. She recorded their experiences of life at Low Isles and how it had changed over the last century. This compliments more formal records, which are kept in the National Archives in Brisbane.
UK volunteer Hannah Reid conducted a study on the damage of the effects of snorkelers on the reef flat at Low Isles at low tide. The final report suggested ways of alleviating snorkeler damage and forms part of her environmental science degree. The tour operators now implement these practices.
A third year student from James Cook Universiry, Mary Gandini, completed a herbarium for Low Isles with the materials and support from JCU and QPWS.