Winners of inaugural Healthy Waterways Awards announced

Jun 20, 2012 | ,

The Healthy Waterways Alliance Awards winners for the Mackay Whitsunday Isaac region were announced last week at the Healthy Waterways Symposium. The Awards celebrated the positive difference we can all make to keep our rivers and streams healthy.

The Community Award sponsored by Canegrowers Mackay was a hotly contested category with a finalist pool that included Sarina Landcare and Catchment Management Association, Wetland Walkabout and Eco Barge Clean Seas.

When the winner was announced as Eco Barge Clean Seas, founder Ms Libby Edge was thrilled. “It has been the effort of over 300 volunteers that have helped Eco Barge Clean Seas to collect more than 60,000 kilograms of marine debris from the islands and beaches of the Great Barrier Reef. Without their effort we would not be able to do the work we do,” said Ms Edge.

Ms Jenny Kent, Principle of Beaconsfield State School accepted the Reef Catchments sponsored Schools Award. Earlier in the day Year 6 and 7 students Benjamin Mandall, Jayden Aay, Ruby Sharam, Yolanda Moore, Alexi McFadzen, Cara Pace and Jessica Andersen wowed the Symposium audience with their role-play performance about the work they do in their Curriculum Connections program. The $500 prize they received is a welcome contribution to supporting their exciting environmental program.

The Rural Industry Award sponsored by the Reef Water Quality Protection Plan was shared by two of our region’s most innovative and inspiring farmers, Mr Lee Blackburn of North Eton and Mr Tony Jeppesen of Bloomsbury. Both these sugar cane growers are leading the way in the development of the most sustainable agriculture technology for improved water quality.

Their cutting edge on-farm initiatives include the latest in GPS guidance tractors, controlled rate nutrient application technology, specially modified shielded sprayers and zonal offset units. They also designed their farm with grassed drains, sediment basins and constructed wetlands that improve the quality of water. The proven water quality benefits of these works are outstanding. Both Mr Blackburn and Mr Jeppesen work to share their successes and experience with science and importantly the cane communities through involvement in Project Catalyst and Paddock to Reef.

North Queensland Bulk Ports Urban Business Award also attracted excellent entries. The two most notable shared the winner’s podium, Department of Main Road and Transport East West Connector Levee System and Water Quality Monitoring Program and Mackay Regional Council Waterways Monitoring and Laboratory Testing Program.

The Awards were judged by science and industry experts of the Healthy Waterways Alliance – Mackay Whitsunday Isaac. Winners shared in the $2000 cash prize pool. Read more about the Healthy Waterways Alliance.