Breaking News! A group of leading experts on the Fitzroy River have launched a Science Statement outlining the exceptional values of the river and calling for a big increase in protection.
The statement was written by nine leading experts on the Fitzroy River, from a diverse range of fields including freshwater ecology, water policy, conservation biology, hydrology and archaeology. Over 90 additional scientists have signed on in support, including the renowned Professor Tim Flannery.
Released in response to concerns about cumulating impacts and increasing pressure for new massive irrigation projects along the Fitzroy River, the authors highlight the importance of the State Government's election commitment to protect the river.
The Statement shows just how important the river is for wildlife, supporting 37 species of fish and more than 67 species of birds, including many thousands of migrating birds.
Experts confirm that the Fitzroy provides critical habitat for the world’s most important remaining population of critically endangered Freshwater Sawfish, and other endangered sharks and rays. The river also supports many species of fish and lizards found nowhere else in the world!
It also shows that some of the oldest Aboriginal archeological sites in Australia are in the Fitzroy Catchment alongside outstanding rock art. It heralds the ongoing cultural connection that Aboriginal people have to the river.
It's not everyday that one hundred scientists rally together to publish a joint statement - this is a momentous step forward in the challenge to secure protection of the river and sustainable development in the catchment.
Solutions the scientists recommend include no dams on the Fitzroy and a buffer zone to exclude irrigation close to the river. This would protect both the aquifers that keep wildlife alive during the dry months, and the floodplains where life explodes in the wet season.