THE impact of the Colton Coal Mine on the Great Sandy Strait is being put under the microscope with the help of a proposed $50,000 research fund.
The Fraser Island Defenders Organisation has started the program to determine what effect water discharged from the mine will have on the iconic wetland, and World Heritage listed Fraser Island.
Established with the help of the Mary River Catchment Coordinating Committee and the Greater Mary Association, $25,000 has already been raised to allow students and other researchers to start investigations.
"There are several issues we have identified and we are inviting students, tutors and others to put in bids to have their proposed research projects funded,” FIDO founder John Sinclair said.
"We expect to start dispensing funds early in the new academic year.”
To raise additional research funds FIDO has planned a series of boat cruises starting and finishing at the Hervey Bay Boat Club.
The first cruise will launch on Wednesday December 13, from 9am-4pm, and is expected to establish the pattern for subsequent cruises with the next planned for 23 January.
"As well as exposing passengers to the marvellous riches of Great Sandy Strait the boat cruises will be exploring those parts of the Ramsar site that will be most heavily impacted by the mine discharge water,” Mr Sinclair said.
Although there were only a handful of places available on next Wednesday's cruise, he said there are more available on the January 23 cruise.
"There will be some expert commentary about this globally recognized waterway on all cruises to help build a greater appreciation and understanding of this most precious waterway,” he said.