The Great Sandy Biosphere encompasses 1,416,000 hectares made up of 542,000 hectares of marine ecosystems and 874,000 hectares of diverse landscape.
World Heritage listed Fraser Island
Great Sandy Strait Ramsar Wetlands site
World’s best observable example of ancient sand dunes
Habitat for more than half of Australia’s bird species
More than 7,500 recorded species of fauna and flora – many are rare, threatened or endangered
More marine fish diversity than the Great Barrier Reef
Tallest and most complete rainforests growing on sand
40% of the World’s perched lakes
Great Sandy Marine Park
Southern boundary of the Great Barrier Reef
Great Sandy Biosphere
The Great Sandy Biosphere is an important site for conservation at a state and global scale.
It is part of the biogeographical overlap known as the McPherson – McLeay Overlap
tallest and most
rainforest growing on sand.
World Heritage listed Fraser Island is the largest sand island in the world. It features complex dune systems that are still enduring and have an array of rare and unique features, including dune lakes and tall rainforests.
Fraser Island was inscribed on the World Heritage list in 1992 in recognition of its outstanding natural universal values. It is characterised by long uninterrupted white beaches flanked by strikingly coloured sand cliffs, majestic tall rainforests and numerous freshwater lakes of crystal clear water.
along the Southern coast of Queensland and covering 1,840 km2, it is the
largest sand island in the world.
In the Great Sandy Biosphere region there are
of migratory birds listed under the Australian Government
Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act.
The Great Sandy Biosphere has 46 species of birds listed under the China – Australia Migratory Bird Agreement. This represents 57% of the total number of birds under the agreement.
The area contains a high proportion of Australian Species of a Super Family of Birds. This includes 75% of the species of Coraciiformes family and 85% of the species Cuculiformes.
The Marine care zone consists of what is now known as the Great Sandy Marine Park which includes the Hervey Bay Marine Park and the Woongarra Marine Park.
Hervey Bay Marine Park is approximately
of the eastern half of the Bay. This area is carefully managed for the
protection of humpback whale populations.
Woongarra Marine Park of 10,300 hectares was proclaimed over the tidal land of the Woongarra Coast and its adjacent waters to protect unique coral reefs built on basalt, basalt foreshores and to provide protection of turtle rookeries and turtle habitat.
The Great Sandy Strait Ramsar
site is a double ended sand passage estuary receiving tidal flows from Hervey Bay in the North and Wide Bay in the South. Situated partially within and between the Fraser Island World Heritage area and the mainland coast it covers 93,160 hectares. Fresh water is delivered from a 1.25 million hectare catchment via the Mary and Susan Rivers, creeks, coastal streams and Cooloola Sand Mass to the comparatively small Great Sandy Strait Ramsar site.
The site supports a large diversity of wetland habitats and a high number of wetland flora and fauna including nationally and internationally threatened species.
of freshwater, estuarine and marine wetland fauna.
Marine turtles have lived in the ocean for over
100 million years.
They are an integral part of the traditional culture of many indigenous people.
The Marine Core Zone consists of what is now known as the Great Sandy Marine Park which was proclaimed in 2006. This Marine Park includes the former Hervey Bay Marine Park and the Woongarra Marine Park. Additionally, a large expansion of the marine park south to the area of Noosa Heads is proposed.
Hervey Bay Marine Park was proclaimed in 1989 over approximately 170,000 hectares of the eastern half of the Bay to manage use consistent with conservation of the area and to ensure the protection of Humpback Whales. In 1992, the Woongarra Marine Park of 10,300 hectares was proclaimed over the tidal land of the Woongarra coast and its adjacent waters to protect unique coral reefs built on basalt boulder foreshores and to provide for reasonable use while excluding extractive activities from some areas. The zoning plan for Woongarra Marine Park made specific provision for the protection of turtle rookeries and turtle habitat.
The Great Sandy Marine Park was extended to include all appropriate tidal lands and waters
in the region and zoned in consultation with user and interest groups. As far as practicable, management is complementary to the management of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park to the north. It contains existing fish habitat reserves and wetland reserves.
The Great Sandy Strait is one of the few passage landscapes in Australia. It is a double-ended
Marine turtles migrate great distances to reach their feeding grounds and nesting sites. All marine turtles are experiencing serious threats to their survival. The main threats are pollution, predators and changes to important turtle habitats especially coral reefs, sea grass beds and nesting beaches. The use of artificial lights has a negative impact on their population.
Nesting season in the Great Sandy Biosphere region is from October to March.
Other legislation which has relevance to
the Terrestrial Core is the Fraser Wild River Declaration 2007. This applies to 14 creeks on Fraser Island and regulates the activities which occur in and near these creeks. There are only five other areas in Queensland which have been recognised by the Wild Rivers legislation. The use of the Wide Bay Military Training Area is predominantly governed by the Defence Force Act 1903.
estuary, characterised by the largest areas of tidal swamps
in the south-east Queensland region. The Strait has shifting patterns of mangroves, sandbanks, intertidal sand,
mud islands, salt marshes and extended seagrass beds. The area is located between the rapidly growing population centres of Hervey Bay and Tin Can Bay, and the Fraser Island World Heritage Area. The Strait has been declared a wetland
of international significance under the Ramsar Convention. An objective of the Great Sandy Marine Park is to provide better management of the Ramsar site through specific regulation of activities that threaten resident and migratory shorebirds, such as disturbance by dogs and boating activity.
The Great Sandy Biosphere has very high ecological biodiversity and landscape values recognised by State, National and International communities at all levels.
An area covering approximately 496,194 hectares is used for a wide range of urban, industry and agricultural purposes, including
education services, tourism,
sport and recreation and
Plus Forest Reserve, National Conservation and Marine Parks.
Traditional Owner groups within the Great Sandy Biosphere proudly and enthusiastically embrace their culture and they are: Butchulla/Badtjala, Wakka Wakka, Taribelaing Bunda and Bailai Traditional Owner Groups.
Their ancestors believed they belonged to the land. They