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News: Footpath stencils send clean up message to Broome community

An important message is being sent to Broome locals with dugongs and threadfin salmon stencils turning up on the footpaths.

Yawuru Rangers, Shire Councillors, business owners, students and sportsmen have painted blue stencils of these animals on footpaths to remind the community to ‘Keep Our Bay Clean’.

Robebuck Bay Working Group (RBWG) Project Manager Kandy Curran said the enthusiastic response from the 60 people who participated in the project, shows the community is keen to see Roebuck Bay’s productive waters kept free of stormwater pollution and blue-green Lyngbya blooms.

“With housing blocks in Broome contoured toward our roads and most of Broome’s stormwater drains discharging into Roebuck Bay, our community needs to take action,” Ms Curran said.

Common everyday pollutants are finding their way into Broome’s stormwater drains—the main culprits include garden waste, fertilisers, chemicals, back-flushed pool water, sewage and grey water, pet faeces, litter and plastics, carwash detergents and vehicle oil.

“With a heavy shower of rain, these pollutants are carried off our properties onto the roads then into roadside stormwater drains which discharge into Roebuck Bay,” Ms Curran said.

“This cocktail of pollution can kill fish and trigger blooms of blue-green Lyngbya (maiden’s hair).”

These toxic blooms, which have been worsening in the bay over the last decade, severely impact Roebuck Bay’s seagrasses and the marine life that live and feed in the meadows. Another unwelcome outcome is an unsightly stinky mess along the beautiful shores of Roebuck Bay.

Ms Curran said the posters, showing the 60 participants in the Keep Our Bay Clean stencil project, are a reminder to the community to ‘get on board and do your bit’ to keep these everyday pollutants out of Broome’s stormwater drains.

“We live on a peninsula that is surrounded by productive biodiverse coastal waters with an immensely beautiful coastline,” she said.

“It makes good sense to adapt our behaviours, and trap as much rainwater in our garden as possible and grow more native plants; instead of past ways, of just large areas of lawn and exotics.”

Ms Curran added: “Local native plants are better adapted for Broome’s soil and climate, so they don’t require fertiliser, chemicals or as much water.”

The stencilling project has been funded by Rangelands NRM through the National Landcare Program and State NRM through Royalties for Regions.

Photo: Two of the posters of stencilling volunteers, reminding the Broome community to get on board ‘Keep the Bay Clean’.