Byron Underwater Research Group

Envirofund Project

In 2006 BURG was successful with its application for an Australian Government Envirofund grant. This grant of $22,488.24 was to support a Reef Clean and Fish Identification Education Project in the Cape Byron Marine Park over an 18 month period during 2007 and 2008.

BURG wishes to acknowledge the generous support of Envirofund and also Brunswick Valley Landcare who were initially our sponsoring organization in this grant application.

The aim of the project was to improve reef health in the newly formed Byron Marine Park by cleaning the reefs of harmful marine debris such as plastic rubbish and fishing tackle, and to educate local recreational SCUBA divers in the process of monitoring fish and habitat.

Survey projects promote resource stewardship and help support more rigorous scientific monitoring by enabling recreational SCUBA divers to survey for vertebrate and invertebrate presence and abundance while diving. Volunteers conduct surveys during organised field days. Surveys are conducted using the Roving Diver Technique (RDT) (Schmitt and Sullivan, 1996), a visual survey method developed specifically for volunteer data collection.

During RDT surveys, divers swim freely throughout a dive site and record selected observed species using waterproof slates and underwater checklists. The standardised census method provides consistency in data collection applied over a wide geographic range. Such a database represents a valuable tool for marine resource managers. Beyond providing valuable data, the increased stewardship that comes from participation is vital to the protection of a resource. The continual nature of volunteer data can also provide a valuable data set to document change over time.

Fish identification slates featuring local species were developed specifically for this purpose and can be seen on the images page.

environfund logo

Coastcare Project

Restoration, Education and Protection: Cape Byron Marine Park: Reefs

In 2009 BURG received 34,000 for a project aiming to improve reef health and resilience in Cape Byron Marine Park by removing marine debris and promoting low impact diving techniques and increase the level of community skills, knowledge and engagement in marine conversation through:

  • . involving volunteers in reef cleanups
    . marine invertebrate surveys
    . focus traning days in fish identification
    . producting educational resources
    . contributing to monitoring programs


blue barred parrot fish

tweed river cleanup

fish survey