Program 2 'Natural Resources of the Torres Strait land and sea'
Program 2 will have three projects assessing the condition and trend of Torres Strait assets.
One will provide information on marine turtles and dugongs that complements the study of these species on the GBR, including data on movements and connectivity of populations. Aerial surveys will be conducted to estimate abundance as the importance of healthy stocks to Torres Strait communities cannot be over-estimated.
A second project will make baseline surveys of mangrove communities and freshwater habitats on Torres Strait islands. The former is important in shoreline stabilisation and as a littoral habitat. The latter provide potential stepping stones for invasive freshwater species from Australia’s northern neighbours and represents a long term threat to the freshwater faunas of Cape York and elsewhere in northern Australia.
The third project will design and implement a reef health monitoring program that will be delivered by Indigenous sea rangers and initiate monitoring of sea temperatures through a combination of remote sensing and real-time monitoring. The latter has been requested by the Torres Strait Regional Authority following the first account of widespread coral bleaching in the Torres Strait in 2010.