COMING CLEAN: Once again more river island trashing has had to be cleaned up by NICA volunteers.
COMING CLEAN: Once again more river island trashing has had to be cleaned up by NICA volunteers. Contributed

NICA clears island dumping in Noosa River

IN THE lead-up to Christmas, RiverWatch volunteers have cleaned up another abandoned island campsite.

Noosa Integrated Catchment Association volunteer river rangers John, Denis and Bruce had to clean up the "usual spots” like the small island off Munna Point.

They also removed a lot of rubbish off Keyser Island, including the abandoned campsite.

This all highlights the value of a group one of Noosa's grassroots community-based conservation forces, which spent much of 2018 regrouping.

"One of the biggest tasks for NICA over the last 12 months has been the rewriting of our constitution so it better reflects how we operate,” Noosa Integrated Catchment Association president Bruce Hallett said in his annual report.

"Now that it has been approved by the Office of Fair Trading, we look forward to a stronger rejuvenated NICA.

"Unfortunately the work required to change the constitution has taken a lot of oxygen out of our sails, but now that these constitutional issues are behind us, it is hoped work can be started on some of the initiatives recommended by the (NICA) strategic working group to re-invigorate NICA.”

He said NICA is looking at contributions to the Biosphere beyond simply pulling out weeds, re-vegetating bushland and picking up rubbish in the river.

The president said while doing this core tasks like water testing are worthy tasks "we certainly need to find ways to energise NICA if it is going to continue to be a valuable, resilient and sustainable part of the environmental sector in Noosa”.

"We need to strengthen our relationship with (Noosa) Council, especially in regard to their new River Management Plan and the role that our river rangers program can play,” Mr Hallett said.

"As an incorporated not-for-profit organisation, NICA plays a valuable role in auspicing various community groups in their grant applications, our publications on local flora are a valuable resource on the Sunshine Coast and displays at gatherings like World Environment Day help spread our message of environmental protection and management.”

He said NICA also supports local bushcare groups, co-ordinates Clean Up Australia Day and the Noosa section of the annual Wildflower Festival on top of its regular patrols in the NICA boat to clean up the river banks.

Mr Hallett said these are "all good reasons to keep building on what has been achieved since NICA began over 20 years ago”.

The report found that for a $2250 six-month investment by council ratepayers, NICA's river education program realised more than $22,000 return in benefits of more than a 500 per cent community gain. This covers activities like WaterWatch, RiverWatch, the sand island weeding and bird counts.

"This doesn't include the social capital of having this work carried out by a community-based organisation,” the report said.

"The program will be funded by Noosa Council for six months from January 1, 2019 for $2850. We are negotiating with Noosa Council with a view to having the program funded on a three-year alliance basis from July 2019.”