Water Quality and an Underwater Drone

Coastcare - The new drone being tested out in the Tin Can Bay pool

The new drone being tested out in the Tin Can Bay pool

How healthy are our local waterways?  We have a variety of sources of water pouring out into the Tin Can Bay Inlet and the highly-valued Great Sandy Straits.

There are intertidal, marine, boat harbour, stormwater, and tannin-stained freshwater types of water.  Each one has a different guideline to grade its quality.

Volunteers have been using a water quality meter to monitor a total of 21 local sites through Cooloola Coastcare’s Waterwatch program since 2014.

While the rain belted down and the wind whistled on 5 January, eight Coastcare members gathered to learn and train about monitoring the water quality in our local creeks.

Jess Dean, from Mary River Catchment Coordinating Committee (MRCCC) led us through the process.

Those of us who have been water monitoring for years were delighted with the booklets she had made to identify aquatic plants. She emphasised the importance of every piece of information we gather about the health of our waterways.

Coastcare - Map showing our local Waterwatch sites and the types of water in our area

Map showing our local Waterwatch sites and the types of water in our area

With that in mind, we have now purchased an underwater drone with funding from the Gympie Regional Council Environment Grant.  This will be used to look at plant life underwater for Waterwatch, as well as for use in the focus on seagrass in the Tin Can Bay Inlet Rehabilitation Project (funding also from GRC).

The first commissioning run of the ROV (remotely operated underwater vessel) was on 17 January in the Tin Can Bay Pool.  (Thank you, Renae, for staying late to allow this.)

It proved to be very agile and easily controlled by a pilot. It takes photos and video, and can be fitted with other sensors and a manipulator to pick up objects and water samples.

The various Waterwatch creek sites will be reviewed by volunteers on 31 January and 1 February.  We will consider the significance and accessibility of each location, and take photos from land and sky (when possible) to include in a later report and presentation.

Cooloola Coastcare



Cooloola Coastcare conducts Water Quality Monitoring once every two months in the Tin Can Bay, Cooloola Cove, and Rainbow Beach areas.

They are looking for volunteers from Rainbow Beach, and would welcome anyone who is interested in adopting a site or two.  You will be trained and mentored and you would visit your site every two months with the water meter.

It only takes about 1 – 2 hours every two months.

Meet a great group of like minded people and contribute to the protection and care of our beautiful Cooloola Coast.

Contact Nancy Haire: treasurer@cooloolacoastcare.org.au

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