Nest to Ocean Turtle Protection Program

The threat of predation on marine turtle nests and hatchlings is a key concern for the sustainability of turtle populations in coastal Queensland. To address this, marine turtle rookeries along the coast have been identified under the Nest to Ocean Turtle Protection Program (PDF, 1.1MB) for active nest protection and predator control efforts to reduce the threat posed by feral pigs and other predator species.

The Australian and Queensland governments have each committed matching funds of $7 million over six years to help reduce the threat of predation on marine turtle nests. The Queensland Government has provided an additional $1.27 million in 2020–21 to further support the program.

The Queensland Marine Turtle Field Guide has been developed as part of the Nest to Ocean Turtle Protection Program.

It contains identification keys, photographs, diagrams, survey tips and details of the six species of marine turtles that visit Queensland beaches. The guide also provides valuable information about predators including foxes, dogs and feral pigs.

Since commencement of the program, more than 20,000 turtle nests have been monitored by Nest to Ocean grant recipients, and the program has consistently achieved greater than 95% nest survival as a result of the predator control activities and direct nest protection. In total, it is estimated that approximately 1.3 million hatchlings have been protected since the inception of the program.

Current rounds open for applications

Round six: Turtle protection funding—now open

Applications are now open for Round Six of the Nest to Ocean Turtle Protection Program. Funding for this round is directed to projects that maintain, adapt and strengthen existing direct management efforts at key nesting beaches and foraging grounds. It is important these projects implement management practices that promote successful hatching of at least 70% of clutches laid.

Applications close at 4pm Friday 26 February 2021.

Projects must be completed by June 2021. The total amount of funding available in this round is $600,000 (excluding GST). Applicants may seek funding for grants up to $150,000 (excluding GST).

To apply for funding, complete the application and email to turtles.partnerships@des.qld.gov.au

All projects need to incorporate a monitoring component to enable reporting on the effectiveness and outcomes of the program. Monitoring methodologies for turtle monitoring should align with the Guidelines for minimum data requirements for monitoring marine turtle nesting, hatchling success and nest predation (PDF, 180.3KB) .

Applications will be accepted from:

  • properly established incorporated associations (incorporated under the Associations Incorporation Act 1981)
  • Australian charities registered with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC)
  • not-for-profit organisations registered under the Corporations Act 2001
  • Indigenous corporations incorporated under the Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) Act 2006 (Cwlth)
  • tertiary education institutions administered by the Commonwealth or State governments
  • Natural Resource Management (NRM) bodies.

Funding is available for projects to be undertaken at specific turtle rookeries on the east coast of Cape York, the Torres Strait and coastal catchments of the Great Barrier Reef. Coastal islands within these areas will also be considered eligible. Applications are invited for project proposals targeting high priority turtle rookeries (key marine turtle stocks for each species and management region are listed in Appendix 1 of the Round six—Targeted Turtle Rookery Grants guidelines (PDF, 322.9KB) ).

Project activities may include:

  • Removal of weeds and invasive species whose roots negatively impact the incubation success of eggs.
  • Management of shade on nesting beaches to counter the impacts of increasing sand temperatures negatively impacting hatchling sex ratio and hatching success of eggs.
  • Increased dune vegetation and consideration of skylines behind nesting beaches to provide a dark horizon to minimise disruption to ocean finding behaviour of hatchlings and adult turtles.
  • Restoration of sand dunes on nesting beaches where the natural process is no longer supporting the rebuilding of the sand dunes following storm erosion.
  • Removal of beach washed debris that impedes successful nesting on the beaches, including excessive amounts of beach washed timber and “ghost” nets.

The Nest to Ocean Program will also continue to support the implementation of predator control and the installation of nest protection devices to increase the survival rate of marine turtle nests and hatchlings.

For further information email turtles.partnerships@des.qld.gov.au

Closed rounds

Nest to Ocean Turtle Protection Program projects and recipients