Members newsletter July–August 2023

Members newsletter July–August 2023

In this edition

President’s report – Queensland population explosion


Members’ forum and Christmas party – save the date


Project updates

Sediment accumulation project

Community engagement

Friday Environment Forum

Environment Centre

Noosa National Park Info Hut


Activity group updates

Bird Observers’ Group

Botany Group

Queensland population explosion – President’s report

In the previous edition of our newsletter I wrote of the continued threat to the lifestyle we all enjoy and the danger of it being further eroded.


Well, danger with a capital D is now upon us. This past week we were confronted with the state government’s expectation and promotion of a population explosion in South East Queensland – an increase of 2.2 million residents!

A review of the SEQ Regional Plan is underway and, as this plan overrides any local planning instrument (such as the Noosa Plan), the state government can produce a new regional plan and demand that all SEQ councils abide by their projected increase in population growth.

For decades, Noosa has held the line successfully in ensuring that it’s planning scheme—the Noosa Plan—has retained an idealised carrying capacity (aka the ‘population cap’) based on good town planning. This has paid off in terms of a strong tourism economy and desirable lifestyle.

All of that is now at risk with Deputy Premier the Hon Dr Steven Miles MP, Minister for State Development, Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning and Minister Assisting the Premier on Olympic and Paralympic Games Infrastructure, clearly confirming a growth-for-growth’s-sake mentality.

To add insult to injury, the regional inter-urban break that separates the Sunshine Coast region from the Greater Brisbane area is also at risk. There is now pressure from developer interests to allow further development that intrudes into this important and irreplaceable green space.

I often hear people comparing the Sunshine and Gold coasts. Well, without this green break, there will be development from the state border to Noosa—no comparison needed!

Noosa has never been afraid of a fight when it comes to protecting our lifestyle—think high rise and de-amalgamation to name a couple.


Noosa Parks Association has played, and continues to play, an integral role in the success of Noosa’s green corridors. But what is playing out in shires around us also has a detrimental effect on the lifestyle that we continue to enjoy.

With council elections next year, and news out this week that our mayor is taking on our independent MP for the state seat of Noosa, there is added discord in relationships between our government representatives.

Noosa is full of residents who moved here to enjoy what was on offer, but there comes a point when we must draw a line in the sand—continued growth defeats the very reason and the point of difference of why we continue to call this our home.

I urge you to go to Noosa Matters for some essential reading on these issues.

Noosa community consultation – let’s turn up in droves

The state government has scheduled community consultations for all SEQ council areas.


The session for Noosa is set for Tuesday 29 August, 4–6pm.


Noosa needs to turn up in droves. We can’t be complacent about this, so please register now to attend.


Darlene Gower
President, Noosa Parks Association

Members’ forum and Christmas party – save the date

When: Saturday 18 November
Where: The Environment Centre

More information to follow in our next newsletter.

Sediment accumulation project 

While the sediment collection units are still in place, the project’s lead scientist, Dr Simon Walker from Ecological Service Professionals, has taken the initiative of attaching high-tech devices to several of the units.

Battery-operated flow loggers, invented at James Cook University, are now collecting flow data that can be readily downloaded.

Temperature and light loggers have also been attached.

These devices are all contributing valuable data that is helping us to better understand the river and lakes system.


Bryan Walsh
Project Officer, Noosa River & Lakes program

close-up of a water flow meter in a person's hand

A Mariotte flow meter

The sediment units readily become covered with shellfish and aquatic life. The closer they are to the saline mouth of the Noosa River, the more barnacles we see attached to the units. Our volunteers need to wear gloves and be wary when handling the units.

Friday Environment Forum 

We are grateful to the team of volunteers who help make Friday Environment Forum happen each fortnight. Without their support we could not continue to present the seamlessly operating forums that give information and inspiration to so many on a regular basis.

Since the last newsletter we have learnt about:

  • life in the Amazon, presented by Andrew Thelander—an amazing story
  • galls, burls and other strange plant growths that often mimic the form of plant parts, including flowers – thanks to the Botany Group’s Joan Heavey
  • saving Point Cartwright – Quentin Brown explained the struggle to save the area and its unique flora, fauna and indigenous heritage from the pressures of increasing population and development
  • deforestation in Queensland – Natalie Frost shared astonishing statistics revealing that much land clearing is done with no environmental assessment or regard for wildlife, leading to devastating local population declines. With 1048 threatened species calling Queensland home, the situation is dire.

Natalie Frost, Queensland Conservation Council

Credit: Nicky Moffat

Our thanks to NPA Management Committee member John Chester-Freeman who recently refurbished the outdoor table at the Environment Centre, removing graffiti and resealing the timber. All who regularly enjoy a cuppa there on Fridays will notice the difference.

And when you are next walking the pathways at Noosa Spit, you will notice that John has also replaced deteriorating NPA signage there.

Upcoming Friday forums

  • 11 Aug: A conservation success story – Alan Franks
  • 25 Aug: Restoring critically endangered lowland subtropical rainforest after 2019 bushfires – Paul Donatiu, Healthy Land and Water
  • 8 Sep: Noosa Show Holiday – NO FORUM
  • 15 Sep: Building bushfire resilience – Dr Carina Anderson, University of Southern Queensland
  • 29 Sep: Custodians of place: it’s up to all of us – Dalia Mikhail, Noosa Environmental Education Hub (this is a parent-and-child sessionoccurring during school holidays).

For forum details, visit the Friday Environment Forum or check out the FEF Newsletter issued on the Tuesday before each forum.


To join the mailing list, visit the Friday Environment Forum and look for the SUBSCRIBE button.


Liz Diggles
Friday Environment Forum 

Morning tea at the refurbished NPA outdoor table

Credit: Liz Diggles

Environment Centre

Our birding and botany groups continue to use the Environment Centre regularly.


And we are open every 2nd and 4th Wednesday for anyone to pop in, between 9.30am and 12 midday, and every 2nd and 4th Friday for the Friday Environment Forum.


In November this year, we are planning to open the centre for 3–4 days to offer new memberships and education for the public on the work that NPA does. We are looking at 15–17 November, and possibly 18 November if there is enough interest. We will be updating some of the displays between now and then.


During October, we plan to have a working bee to give the centre a bit of a clean and spruce it up.


We will also need help in November with staffing the centre during opening hours. If you are interested and would like to help, please let me know via email.


If you are interested in helping update the displays, coming along to the working bee, or you have ideas or want to contribute in some other way, please also let me know.


As we get closer to the date, more information will be available.


Dave Vickery

NPA Environment Centre

Noosa National Park Info Hut

Thanks again to all our great volunteers who contribute to staffing the info hut daily, which helps us raise funds to buy more land for national parks.


We are seeing and helping more local and overseas visitors in recent months, and this is reflected in our gross profit being up 15% for the first 6 months of trade this year.


If you are interested at all in volunteering up at the hut, we have various options for shifts throughout the week. It’s usually just 4 hours per shift, and there’s a great coffee cart right next door! It’s a fun, friendly group, and we would love to see more helpers on board. Simply email your interest to


Another way you can help us raise more funds is through our Containers for Change scheme. Simply use the code C10434240 when you drop off your cans and bottles, and the funds go direct to our account.


Dave Vickery

on behalf of the NPA Noosa National Park Project Management Team

Bird Observers’ Group

The July outing was a change from our original program. The change, to private property, is always an enjoyable experience for observers. The group of 24 observers recorded 46 bird species, including winter-visiting scarlet and yellow-faced honeyeaters. The property owner was very pleased to receive our list of sightings, which included several species not previously recorded.


In June, at Friday Forum, Andrew Thelander showed photos of amazing birds he saw during his adventure to the Amazon regions of Peru, Colombia and Brazil. He also showed us a darker side of the Amazon—poverty, disease, plastic pollution, and wildlife trafficking are just part of life there and people catch baby howler monkeys to sell at the markets. Andrew travelled the flooded forest in local style, in a primitive canoe. It was an eye-opening presentation for us, and an amazing adventure for Andrew!


Alan Franks is our next speaker on 11 August. His presentation will include stories and illustrations from years of working with birds and animals that depend on hollow-log homes.


The 17 September outing will not change from the planned program. We will revisit a private property at Eumundi.

Threatened Species

Entering the Tewantin postcode into a threatened species website took me to a vulnerable species of skink—the yakka skink (Egernia rugosa). The species is more likely to be found in the Brigalow Belt, but the website says recent surveys have detected populations along the Queensland – New South Wales border.


The yakka skink is a robust lizard, measuring 40 cm on average from head to tail tip—about the same size as a blue-tongue lizard. The major skink and the land mullet belong to the same Egernia family.


The yakka skink is threatened by the removal of its microhabitat, which includes partly buried rocks, fallen logs and leaf litter. You may not find them in Tewantin, but the Myall Park Botanic Garden is a safe haven for them.


Valda McLean

Convenor, Noosa Parks Association Bird Observers’ Group

Botany Group

Many people have difficulty in telling the difference between grasses, sedges and other look-alike plants. I have done some research on the subject and was the speaker at the June botany meeting. With the help of some fresh sedge specimens I had collected that morning, and a written handout, I think that we are now more able to put each ‘grassy look-alike’ specimen into its correct family.


The walk in June to the summit of Mt Ninderry took place in beautiful sunny weather with fantastic views to the coast and the mountains. The mountain is 304 metres high and was formed through volcanic activity 212 million years ago. The 1.4-kilometre walking track from the car park to the summit is long, wide and well maintained, but steep, with lots of steps. The vegetation along the track was interesting; we noticed an abundance of basket ferns (Drynaria rigidula), which often formed huge clumps on rocky outcrops.


Patrick Leonard’s talks on fungi are always ones we look forward to, and in July he spoke about edible fungi in Australia. I was surprised at how many there are. We were warned not to identify edible fungi from photos if you want to taste them—it is much safer to buy them from the supermarket! About one quarter of the fungi photos Patrick showed us are featured in the book Australian subtropical fungi which he co-authored.


Mid-winter is the best time to visit Maroochy Wetland as it is too cold for mosquitoes. Our botany walk took place there at the end of July. There was a large turnout and we appreciated the wide, kilometre-long boardwalk that took us down to the Maroochy River.


The area is a palustrine wetland, which is a vegetated, non-tidal wetland with ocean-derived salinity of less than 0.5%. The vegetation was very interesting with many woody mangrove trees and associated plants. Owing to the long dry period we are experiencing, hardly any plants were in flower, though we did find some interesting flowering mistletoes growing on milky mangroves (Excoecaria agallocha).


Sonia MacDonald

Botany Group

Botany Group members at Maroochy Wetlands

Credit: Robert Price

Immature mistletoe flowers on milky mangrove, Maroochy Wetlands

Credit: Joan Heavey