How it all began...
Our River Warriors initiative came into being in northern NSW during Plastic Free July 2017. Our good friends at the Byron Cookie Shack had noticed how much rubbish was accumulating across the Brunswick River, especially after storm and flood events.
Teaming up with the Byron Cookie Shack, as well as Go Sea Kayaks, Byron Bay Eco Cruises and Kayaks and Mullum Cares we ran a 12km clean of the river as part of our Plastic Free July initiatives in the Byron Shire. With 36 incredible volunteers, we collected over 1 tonne of trash!
This prompted us to take this one-off event further and, after putting together a survey model, we decided to look into ongoing marine debris and water quality monitoring projects in waterways that were known to accumulate huge amounts of marine debris, with little being done to address the problem. Our River Warriors initiative was born!
What does the River Warriors initiative do?
The model is simple - we run kayak-based surveys to collect baseline data on marine debris across waterways. We then identify accumulation hotspots and implement engagement/outreach programs based upon our findings to enable a shift in behaviour, addressing the issue at its source.
The program also works with schools, universities, local businesses, residents and community groups through hands-on programs, which connect them to their waterways, fostering a sense of stewardship around the environmental, social and economic importance of these vital natural places.
Where does the program take place?
Thanks to the Queensland Government's Community Sustainability Action grant, we commenced our first ongoing River Warrior's project on the Tallebudgera Creek in 2018. Our weekly surveys are currently well underway and we've since received funding from various sources to expand the programs across northern NSW and south-east Queensland in Brunswick Heads, Tweed Heads, and the Redland Shire Council region.
Want to get involved? We are currently seeking volunteers for our Tallebudgera Creek project on the Gold Coast. Click here to find out more and stay tuned for more info on our 3 new program locations, which will commence in late 2018!
Photographs © Positive Change for Marine Life