Jessica Mowat, Moreton Bay Regional Council
Jessica Mowat joined Moreton Bay Regional Council in 2009 and her current role is in the Environmental Planning and Policy team that takes a lead role in the establishment of region wide – environment and sustainability, data, policies, strategies and programs. Jessica is responsible for a range of projects in the areas of catchment planning, sustainable development, environmental management and climate change adaptation. A key objective of the work she is doing, is enhancing the region’s sustainability and protecting the natural environment.
Both the dugong (Dugong dugon) and water mouse (Xeromys myoides) are found in the Pumicestone catchment and are listed as vulnerable under the Nature Conservation (Wildlife) Regulation 2006.
The most recent research conducted on dugongs in the Pumicestone Passage is a paper published by Janet Lanyon et al in 2005. This research indicated that the Pumicestone Passage is used by dugongs year-round despite winter water temperatures that are known to cause dugongs to migrate elsewhere. All dugong sightings occurred in the southern part of the passage, south of Tripcony Bight. Dugongs were associated with shallows that support Halophila and Halodule species of seagrass. The northern part of the passage also supports these seagrass species and has a similar water temperature range to the southern passage. However, the seagrass beds are less extensive, and the narrow channels and very shallow nature of the northern passage provides little to no deep-water refugia for dugongs.
Water mice are small nocturnal animals that build large mud nests like termite mounds, where they and their young can escape the highest tides. They are a key bio-indicator of the health of coastal wetlands and the effects of climate change. They are currently under threat from cats, foxes and pigs; and habitat loss from urban, industrial and agricultural development, mining, pollution, and insecticides (Kaluza 2018). Research completed by Janina Kaluza in 2018 is the first comprehensive research that addresses the conservation and ecology of the water mouse in southeast Queensland, including the Pumicestone Passage.