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Mary River campaigners celebrate

Hitting the water: The Mary River put on a good flow for Saturday’s celebratory Save the Mary Floatilla, which marked the fourth anniversary of Peter Beattie’s announcement of his now-defunct plan to dam the Mary River at Traveston Crossing.
Hitting the water: The Mary River put on a good flow for Saturday’s celebratory Save the Mary Floatilla, which marked the fourth anniversary of Peter Beattie’s announcement of his now-defunct plan to dam the Mary River at Traveston Crossing. Arkin Mackay

IT was a “stream-bank blitz” at Traveston Crossing on Saturday as dedicated Mary River campaigners braved the rain for the fourth annual Save the Mary Floatilla, marking four years since Peter Beattie announced his now-defunct plan to dam the Mary River.

One of the anti-dam campaign’s chief Brisbane promoters, legendary inland kayaker Steve Posselt, was among the campaigners who took the time to reflect on their monumental achievements.

“No one could keep up with him of course,” Save the Mary River group president Glenda Pickersgill said yesterday.

The paddlers then drifted to shore for tree-planting, putting in an impressive 1000 or so native riparian plants in a couple of hours of intense celebratory effort, just downstream from the Traveston Crossing bridge.

“It was like a stream-bank blitz,” she said. “Everyone just hopped into it.”

Related: Garrett rejects Traveston Dam

The seedlings were grown locally by the community with the seed collected just after the “no dam” decision in November, she said.

“These trees mark a significant act of riverbank rehabilitation, and will be a long term tribute to the fight to save the Mary River.”

The planting continues a similar effort upstream from the new bridge in 2001, after the Cooloola council stabilised the toe of the eroding stream-bank with rock.

Ms Pickersgill said the group was looking forward to working with federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett and his environment department on any regional recovery plan for “the unique species and ecosystem of the Mary River”.

“It is only through involvement and consultation with the community that this plan will have the best on-ground outcomes,” Ms Pickersgill said.

“Meanwhile, the Queensland Water Commission is still targeting a ‘strategic reserve’ of 150,000ML a year in state legislation under the Mary Basin Water Resource Plan, even through it has been shown through federal assessment that 70,000ML a year, proposed to be taken by the Traveston Crossing Dam, would have caused significant impact on nationally protected species in the Mary River.

“The current plan needs to be done again properly,” she said.

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