The NSW Government marked Biodiversity Month by investing $100,000 into NSW TurtleWatch, a research program run by volunteers to better understand the nesting behaviours of marine turtles and the threats they face.

Environment Minister Matt Kean said funding for the citizen science initiative is being provided by the NSW Government’s Saving our Species program and will support the work of wildlife conservation group, Australian Seabird Rescue.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for residents to play a critical role in the conservation of marine turtles such as the Loggerhead and Green turtles,” Mr Kean said.

“The local community is encouraged to join the project by volunteering time to help gather vital data. “Research has shown that while marine turtles are attempting to nest along the NSW coastline as far south as Sydney, they aren’t as successful on our northern NSW beaches.

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“I am proud that our community can be part of this international effort to conserve the species and I encourage residents to put their hands up and get involved,” Mr Kean said.

Citizen scientists will be trained to monitor and record information including turtle numbers and activity, beach changes and usage, marine debris and pollution.

“With more people regularly and systematically monitoring the local beaches, we will have better statistics about marine turtle nesting attempts and can use the data to inform and improve our beaches suitability for nesting in the future.”

NSW TurtleWatch is supported by the Australian Federal Government; NSW, QLD & WA governments; Local Government (Tweed, Byron, Ballina and Richmond River councils); Australian Seabird Rescue, Tangaroa Blue, Dark Skies and Aboriginal land managers.