Marine and freshwater turtle monitoring

The Queensland Turtle Conservation (QTC) project is a long-term research, monitoring and conservation management project in operation within the department since its creation in 1975. The project conducts research and monitoring of Queensland’s turtle populations. It provides critical data to guide policy and management planning towards maintaining sustainable turtle populations in the face of expanding human impacts.

The project has three main research and monitoring focuses:

Nesting populations of marine turtles at index beaches within each genetic stock for each species in Queensland

  • index beaches include mainland beaches along the Queensland coast (Mon Repos, Moore Park Wreck Rock), Capricorn Bunker Group Islands (Heron, Wreck and Northwest islands) and other islands in the Great Barrier Reef (Curtis, Lady Musgrave, Lady Elliot, Wild Duck and Peak islands) are monitored annually
  • annual long-term monitoring provides valuable information about the status of nesting populations, highlights changes within populations, and provides information to guide management policies.

Marine turtle feeding ground populations along the Queensland coast

  • Moreton Bay and Shoalwater Bay feeding aggregations are monitored annually
  • Monitoring these feeding aggregations has a dual function:
    1. monitoring population dynamics to guide regional turtle conservation actions
    2. monitoring turtle health and mortality, and giving advice regarding management options for maintaining sustainable populations.

Threatening processes impacting freshwater turtle species in Queensland

  • Freshwater turtle populations within the Burnett, Mary and Fitzroy River catchments are monitored to provide information and guide management practices in relation to threatening processes, including the impacts of water infrastructure.

Research and monitoring activities are conducted by department staff and the QTC volunteer program.

The project incorporates annual volunteer training, where volunteers of the project undergo training in research and monitoring techniques and data collection. This training is primarily conducted at the Mon Repos Conservation Park.

The data collected is collated within a central departmental database and is summarised in annual reports produced by departmental staff and volunteer team leaders. The information is used to guide conservation management planning.