GREEN ISLAND FACT SHEETS As one of the world’s most sensitive tourism developments, Green Island Resort takes great pride in the management and day-to-day operations of the island. The following fact sheets have been compiled to share our commitment, innovation and dedication to the future of this world heritage environment. We hope you enjoy learning more about our island home. Fact Sheet 1 Green Island in Brief Fact Sheet 2 Green Island Awards Fact Sheet 3 Significant Dates Fact Sheet 4 Green Island – An Island of Firsts Fact Sheet 5 Ecotourism on Green Island Fact Sheet 6 Green Island Resort Eco Features Fact Sheet 7 Green Island Management Fact Sheet 8 Green Island Tertiary Sewage Treatment Plant Fact Sheet 9 Managing Chemicals on Green Island Fact Sheet 10 Managing Waste on Green Island Fact Sheet 11 Water Management on Green Island Fact Sheet 12 Making Freshwater on Green Island - Desalination Plant Fact Sheet 13 Treated Effluent Water Reuse Fact Sheet 14 What Bird is That? Fact Sheet 15 What Seed is That? Fact Sheet 1 GREEN ISLAND IN BRIEF Green Island is a very unique island. ISLAND FORMATION It is one of 300 sand cays on the Great Barrier Reef, but it is the only Sand cays are islands that form on top one with a rainforest. of existing reef structures - they are basically large piles of sand, coral rubble, LOCATION broken shells and other reef debris. Green Island and its reef is very close Wave action pushes the rubble debris to the mainland, lying only 27 km (16 into a pile on the leeward, or calm side, miles) from Cairns. The island sits on of a reef flat. If conditions are just right, the north-western edge of the reef this pile of rubble grows into a small flat. The surrounding reef is classified sand island. an ‘inshore patch reef ’. Seabird droppings help cement the A PROTECTED AREA sand together so that it will not wash away with tides. They also provide The Australian government recognises nutrients for germinating seeds that that Green Island is a very special place wash onto the island. Over time, if and has protected it in several ways: conditions remain ‘just right’, the island can develop a complex ecology. 1. The island is a National Park and all commercial activities are regulated AGE by permits. 2. The reef and underwater habitats The exact age of Green Island is are part of the Great Barrier Reef unknown, but best estimates are about Marine Park. 6,000 years old. 3. Both Green Island and its reef are included in the Great Barrier Reef Scientists know that all sand cays on World Heritage Area, which gives the Great Barrier Reef formed since it international protection under the last Ice Age, about 8,000 years CLIMATE UNESCO. ago, when low sea levels destroyed all previously existing sand cays. Green Island’s climate is tropical, with a wet season (January to March) that brings an average yearly rainfall of over 2 metres (86 inches). GREEN ISLAND FACTS & FIGURES Mean air temperatures vary between Island Size . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 ha Length . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 660 m 24°C - 31°C in summer (November – . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . (30 acres) Width . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 260 m April) and 19°C - 23°C in winter (June – August). Prevailing winds come from National Park Area . . . . 7.93 h Circumference . . . . . . . . . 1.6 km the southeast and can reach speeds Reef Area . . . . . . . . . . . . 1,200 ha Maximum Height . . . . . . . 4 m of over 35 knots. They are usually strongest in winter. Green Island Resort Fact Sheets : Green Island In Brief Fact Sheet 1 GREEN ISLAND IN BRIEF PLANT LIFE ON THE ISLAND WATER This island supports many diverse There are no natural freshwater springs plants in a very small area. In fact, there on the island. The vegetation gets all are over 120 types of native plants. their water for survival from rainwater that percolates through the sand to a The coastline is ringed by short, scrubby small freshwater lens under the island. coastal vegetation that can survive the dry harsh conditions along the beach. The Resort does not access this water But, step a few feet in to the centre of ensuring the water lens and plantlife the island, and the vegetation changes are not disturbed.. The Resort has a abruptly to a dense, shady vine-thicket desalination plant. MARINE LIFE ON THE REEF rainforest. BIRD LIFE ON THE ISLAND The reef surrounding Green Island Coconut trees are not thought to be supports a diverse range of habitats native to the island, but were introduced Green Island attracts a wide range and marine life. to the island in 1889 to provide food, of birds, including land birds, seabirds drink and shelter for fishermen and and migratory birds that pass through There are two significant habitats: stranded sailors. the Great Barrier Reef on the way to 1. The seagrass beds in the shallows nesting grounds. 2. the reef that starts shallow and continues into the depths. There are over 55 species of birds PLANT TYPES regularly seen on Green Island. Of Seagrass beds support a wide range of Trees . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49 Species these, 13 are seabirds and 38 are shore animals, from juvenile fish that use the and land birds. About 15 types of birds grass for protection from predators to Palms . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Species regularly nest on the island. large sea turtles and dugong that feed Shrubs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Species on the seagrass. Vines & Creepers . . . . . 18 Species The reef around Green Island has over Grasses . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Species 190 different types of hard corals and Herbs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Species over 100 types of soft corals. In 1908 a visitor to Green Island wrote in his diary: “The vegetation then was very small, 5 to 6 feet high and you could practically look over it”. This means the large trees that you see today are just over 100 years old. Green Island Resort Fact Sheets : Green Island In Brief Fact Sheet 2 GREEN ISLAND AWARDS Green Island has received many outstanding awards.These have been received in a range of areas including environmental sustainability, customer service and resort development. ECOTOURISM AUSTRALIA 2007 Winner Environmental Protection Award Far North Queensland In recognition of ecologically sustainable tourism with a primary focus on experiencing 2006 Winner Cleanest Beach natural areas that fosters environmental and Far North Queensland cultural understanding, appreciation and 2005 Winner Protection of the Environment Award conservation. Far North Queensland Since 2001: Advanced Ecotourism Certification 2004 Winner Resource Conservation & Waste Management Award Queensland & Far North Queensland KEEP AUSTRALIA BEAUTIFUL COUNCIL & 2004 Winner Litter Prevention Award ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY Far North Queensland Region CLEAN BEACH CHALLENGE 2003 Winner Friendliest Beach Award These awards recognise the dedication Far North Queensland to the care of Green Island by the staff of Green Island Resort and Great Adventures, 2002 Winner Resource Conservation & Waste Queensland Parks & Wildlife Service and Management Award the Cairns City Council. Far North Queensland Region They acknowledge care for the beaches 2001 Winner Resource Conservation & Waste and coastal environments, environmentally Management Award focused infrastructure and responsible day Queensland & Far North Queensland to day maintenance. 2001 Winner Cleanest Beach 2009 Winner “Resource Recovery” Award Far North Queensland Queensland 2000 Winner Cleanest Beach 2009 Winner Environmental Protection, Resource Far North Queensland Recovery & Litter Prevention Awards Far North Queensland 2000 Winner Resource Conservation & Waste Management Award 2008 Winner Resource Recovery Far North Queensland Queensland & Far North Queensland 2008 Winner Cleanest Beach Far North Queensland 2007 Winner Tourism Queensland’s Friendliest Beach Queensland & Far North Queensland Green Island Resort Fact Sheets : Awards Fact Sheet 2 GREEN ISLAND AWARDS QUEENSLAND HOTELS ASSOCIATION (QHA) TOURISM TROPICAL NORTH QUEENSLAND AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE (TTNQ) TOURISM AWARDS Highlighting the professionalism and the 2004 Finalist Ecotourism high quality of service offered on a daily basis and commitment to environmetally 2003 Finalist Luxury Accommodation responsible operation. 2000 Winner Best Luxury Accommodation 2008 Winner Best Environmental Practice 1999 Winner Industry Training Private Sector 2002 Winner “Hall of Fame” 1999 Finalist Deluxe Accommodation 2001 Winner Best Restaurant in Accommodation Hotel/Resort 2000 Winner Best Hotel/Resort Accommodation QUEENSLAND TOURISM AWARDS 5 Star and Above 2000 Winner Deluxe Accommodation 1999 Winner Best Hotel/Resort Accommodation 100 Rooms or less 1995 Winner Qld Tourism Development Project 1994 Winner Best Redeveloped Hotel/Resort BRITISH AIRWAYS TOURISM FOR TOMORROW AWARDS AUSTRALIAN HOTELS ASSOCIATION (AHA) NATIONAL AWARDS FOR EXCELLENCE 1999 Highly Commended Long Haul Special Category 2009 Finalist Best Environmental Practice 2007 Finalist Best Environmental Practice 2000 Winner Superior Accommodation 1999 Finalist Best Hotel/Resort under 100 rooms Green Island Resort Fact Sheets : Awards Fact Sheet 3 SIGNIFICANT DATES There has been a lot of activity on Green Island! Throughout history, Green Island has been used for many purposes. This overview allows us a quick glimpse back in time. Pre-1770 Local Aboriginal tribes (Gungandji & Mandingalbay) 1942 The first hotel, Coral Cay Hotel, was constructed used Green Island and its reef for fishing, hunting, by Hayles. and manhood initiation ceremonies. 1946 Jetty was reconstructed after being destroyed by 1770 Captain Cook first marked Green Island on cyclone. the navigational charts and named it after the 1954 World’s first underwater observatory opened. astronomer onboard, Charles Green. 1958 Island camping permits no longer issued. 1857 A bech-de-mer (sea cucumber) smoking station 1960 Present jetty constructed. was established on Green Island. It was operated by a fisherman called JSV Mein, and operated for 1961 Great Barrier Reef Theatre constructed. several decades before closing down. 1963 Redeveloped hotel, the Green Island Reef Resort, 1863 A ship called the ‘Antagonist’ shipwrecked on opens. Green Island reef while carrying horses to India 1964 Crocodile Farm opens – the first ever on an island. (14 May 1863). Renamed Marineland Melanesia in 1972 1889 » Coconuts were planted to provide shelter, 1970 » Queen Elizabeth II visits Green Island on food and drink for shipwrecked sailors. her 44th birthday – as part of her tour that » Grass hut accommodation was constructed followed in Captain Cook’s footsteps. for fishing and hunting parties » Sandbag retaining wall built near jetty to 1890 The first organised pleasure cruises to Green Island protect resort land from erosion. commenced on a local coaster called ‘Zeus’. 1974 Green Island Reef declared a Marine National Park 1906 » Green Island was declared a Recreational by the Queensland Government. Reserve under the Cairns Council. 1978 Seaplane access to Green Island permitted. » The first public jetty was constructed. 1981 Green Island Reef zoned a Marine National Park ‘B’ 1924 Hayles commenced fortnightly passenger service with a Buffer Zone under the Great Barrier Reef from Cairns to Green Island. Marine Park Act (extending 500m out from edge 1930 Kitty & Noel Monkman, pioneers in underwater of reef). photography and videography, moved to Green 1982 Daily fast catamaran service from Cairns Island. During WW II they acted as volunteer air commenced by Hayles Pty Ltd. observers. 1988 Dreamworld Corporation purchased Green Island 1931 The replacement jetty was constructed by Cairns Reef Resort and ferry services from Hayles Pty Ltd Town Council. and renamed the company Great Adventures. 1932 Cairns Town Council was granted a license to 1989 Green Island Reef Resort closed due to disrepair. remove coral from the Green Island reef flat to 1991 Daikyo Pty Ltd purchased the resort and ferry make lime for mainland cane fields (operated until service on Green Island from Dreamworld 1945). Corporation 1934 Green Island declared a Fauna Sanctuary 1992 Redevelopment of Green Island Resort and day 1936 Management control of Green Island changed from facilities commenced. Cairns Town Council to the Queensland State. 1993 Redeveloped day facilities opened to the public. 1937 » Green Island was declared a National Park. 1994 The Green Island Resort luxury accommodation » World’s first glass bottom boat launched opened. » Research facility built (now Dept. of Primary 2001 Green Island Resort desalination plant operational Industry Research Laboratory). – producing over 55,000 litres of freshwater daily. » Hayles was granted the first 20-year lease to develop a hotel with tourism activities. 2005 Quicksilver Connections acquires Great Adventures and Green Island Resort from Daikyo Pty Ltd. 1939 First groyne was built to protect the foreshore. Green Island Resort Fact Sheets : Significant Dates Fact Sheet 4 AN ISLAND OF FIRSTS Green Island has an amazing history! Even though Green Island is a very small island, it has played an important role in the history of Tropical North Queensland and the Great Barrier Reef region. A DIVERSE PAST WORLD’S FIRST GLASS BOTTOM BOAT (1937) Before European discovery, local Gungandji aboriginal people used the The first glass bottom boat was island for manhood initiations. launched at Green Island in 1937 by the Hayles company. It was a simple In 1770 Captain James Cook sailed small wooden dinghy with glass floats past Green Island onboard the HMS overhanging the sides. Endeavour and marked its location on Tourists on the beach, circa 1912 his charts. He named the island after This boat was quite the novelty – it the chief observer and astronomer-in- FIRST ISLAND TOURIST was the first time that visitors could charge on his ship, Mr Charles Green. DESTINATION IN THE GREAT view the reef without getting wet. BARRIER REEF (1880s) Since then, many different groups have By 1948 a more modern version of relied on Green Island: Tourism on the Great Barrier Reef the glass bottom boat was introduced » Fishermen used it as a beche- started right here, on Green Island. – it had glass panels inserted into the de-mer (sea cucumber) smoking floorboards, so people could look station By 1889 there were several Fijian straight down on top of the reef » Shipwrecked sailors used it as a style grass huts on the island that without hanging over the sides. safe haven were hired out for fishing expeditions. » Local town folk and tourists used Green Island’s reputation grew and it as a tropical holiday destination. by 1890 the vessel Zeus was running regular pleasure cruises between the There are many ‘firsts’ here on Green mainland and Green Island. Island! By 1924 a local company, called Hayles (now Great Adventures), started a fortnightly passenger ferry service from Cairns. Later, in 1937, the Cairns Town Council granted Hayles the first The first motorised, glass-bottomed, tourism facilities lease to build small steel-hulled glass bottom boat (1954) scale accommodation on the island. Green Island Resort Fact Sheets : Green Island - An Island of Firsts Fact Sheet 4 AN ISLAND OF FIRSTS THE WORLD’S FIRST AUSTRALIA’S FIRST ISLAND UNDERWATER OBSERVATORY TERTIARY SEWAGE TREATMENT (1954) PLANT (1993) The world’s first underwater When the old resort was acquired by observatory was the vision of two local Daikyo in 1990, a multi-million dollar men - Vince Vlasoff and Lloyd Grigg. redevelopment was carried out. This Construction started in June 1953 and included the construction of a state- took over a year to complete. of-the-art tertiary sewage treatment The Great Barrier Reef Theatre plant. They used an old Navy dive chamber for the main chamber and the 22 This system was the ‘first of its kind’ WORLD’S FIRST ISLAND MOVIE portholes (with 2.7 cm, or 11/8 inch, used on any island in Australia and has THEATRE (1961) thick glass) were recycled from a won many environmental awards. decommissioned WWII submarine. Noel & Kitty Monkman were among It was designed to process large the first photographers to venture The chamber walls are 1 cm (3/8 inch) amounts of waste without impacting underwater in the 1930s. They spent steel plate reinforced with 24 cm (10 on the surrounding coral reef. Rather years videoing the underwater wonders inch) steel girders, and are encased than using toxic chemicals, it operates of the Great Barrier Reef. inside and out with (12.5 cm (5 inches) using a biological system with sand ferro-concrete. The entire structure filters and UV radiation. In 1961 they opened the world’s first was designed to withstand up to 96,000 movie theatre on an island - the Green lbs of pressure and is held in place by Island Great Barrier Reef Theatre. It steel pins and sea anchors driven into featured their wonderful videos, and the reef. remained in use until the early 1990s. Getting the structure to Green Island A stone monument to the Monkmans was a challenge - it took over 18 for their contribution to reef awareness hours, travelling at 1 knot, to tow the and the conservation of Green Island is observatory the 27 km from Cairns. located on the island near the research station. Sewage Treatment Plant Observatory under construction Length . . . . . 7.5 m (25 ft Width . . . . . . 2.4 m (8 foot) Height. . . . . . 2.1m (7 feet) Weight: . . . . . 70 tonnes Green Island Resort Fact Sheets : Green Island - An Island of Firsts Fact Sheet 5 ECOTOURISM ON GREEN ISLAND Green Island Resort is dedicated to caring for the island while delivering the best and most enjoyable ecotourism experience for visitors. Ecotourism is defined as a tourism experience that takes place surrounded by nature, has negligible impacts on the environment, and provides opportunities to appreciate and learn about the natural area. OUR CONCERN FOR NATURE ENVIRONMENTAL AWARDS The major concern of operating a resort Green Island Resort is recognised for in a fragile natural environment is how providing quality accommodation in a to protect it from impacts. ‘Ecotourism’ wilderness setting. Many awards have or ‘Sustainable Tourism’ becomes the been won since the resort opened primary focus of all operations. in 1994 (please refer to Awards Fact Sheet). Green Island Resort understands that keeping the island healthy and beautiful ACHIEVING ECOTOURISM is very important to visitors as well as EXCELLENCE business. The philosophy behind the development was to achieve a delicate The resort adopts a range of strategies balance between maintaining customer for delivering the best possible nature- satisfaction, catering to a wide range based experience for all visitors and of visitors, and maintaining a healthy guests. These include: environment. » A Company Environmental Policy Green Island Resort strives to maintain that clearly outlines dedication to this balance at all times. To do so, a running an eco-friendly operation. ‘precautionary principle’ is adopted – if » Professional Island Naturalists who any activity or action poses any real or provide a range of fun educational potential threat to the environment, it activities. will not be allowed. » Quality interpretive materials that promote awareness and ECOTOURISM ACCREDITATION understanding of the unique Green Island natural system. Information Since 2001, Green Island Resort sheets and brochures are available, » Educational packages for schools, has been given the highest level of as well as a reference book library. study programs and special interest Ecotourism Certification from the » The commitment to using groups that explore the complex Australian Ecotourism Association biodegradable items wherever interactions between nature and Certification Program, an internationally possible, such as cornstarch paper tourism and highlight the unique recognised program that acknowledges goods, paper and fabric shopping natural features on the island. tourist operations that achieve high bags. » Strict Maintenance Programs and levels of care for the environment. » Environmentally aware staff who Standards to continuously maintain are keen to share the responsibility and upgrade resort buildings and of protecting this fragile reef and facilities. rainforest environment, and eager to share this information with visitors. Green Island Resort Fact Sheets : Ecotourism on Green Island Fact Sheet 5 ECOTOURISM ON GREEN ISLAND THE ENVIRONMENTAL A POPULAR DESTINATION MANAGEMENT PLAN THROUGHOUT TIME We believe that… An environmental Management Plan Since the first organised pleasure cruises to increase awareness, and has been specifically developed for to Green Island in 1890, the lure of its protect the environment for the Resort. It identifies all potential unique combination of natural beauty, future generations is an essential environmental risks associated with cultural and historical values and close part of our daily operations and operating on the island and outlines proximity to the mainland has made it overall philosophy. a series of strategies to minimise a popular tourist destination for over operational impacts and reduce the a century. We strive to make significant severity of unavoidable impacts. It also contributions towards sets guidelines for properly responding The number of tourists visiting the environmental awareness by to situations and incidents. These, in island has increased dramatically over encouraging everyone to get turn, are developed into procedures the past several decades, and today involved. Judging by the condition for all daily operations. it is considered a high-use tourism of Green Island Resort, the destination. feedback from our guests, and THE GREEN ISLAND RESORT the many local, state, national ENVIRONMENTAL COMMITTEE Protecting the island’s natural beauty, and international awards Green biodiversity and environmental Island Resort has received, we are Managers of the resort departments processes are essential to its ongoing achieving our goal of providing a form the environmental committee, health, especially as numbers of tourists special ecotourism product. along with the Environmental Manager, increase. Marine Biologist and island National Parks Ranger. VISITOR NUMBERS They work together to achieve several 1957. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28,000 goals: 1960. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48,000 » raise environmental awareness 1965. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 75,000 amongst both staff and visitors » review existing standards and 1970. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 97,000 determine ways to improve 1975. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 130,000 » research new and innovative 1990. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 281,000 methods 1995. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 284,184 » discuss issues facing the resort and 2004. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 385,211 the island » highlight new research that may affect the resort’s operation. Green Island Resort Fact Sheets : Ecotourism on Green Island Fact Sheet 6 RESORT ECO FEATURES Prior to 1992, tourist facilities on Green Island were basic. Redevelopment of the resort and island facilities created a world-class environmentally sustainable resort. THE RESORT KEY BUILDING FEATURES Green Island Resort is very exclusive with only 46 suites Building Size and Positions and up to 100 houseguests. The luxurious suites are large, Buildings were positioned around existing trees. Only varying from 56 - 66 square metres, each with individual diseased, non-native trees were removed. In order to balconies. achieve this in the most aesthetic manner, the rooms were designed as small modules (250 sq metres or less) and The underlying concern with the design of the resort was placed at angles to one another. This arrangement also to ensure that there would not be any negative impacts on limited shading impacts. any of the island’s fragile environments. GOVERNMENT & DEVELOPER PARTNERSHIPS Raised Off the Ground All units were elevated To best achieve the minimal-impact objectives, the resort on precast concrete developers formed strong partnerships with various piles, 900mm above governmental bodies. All parties shared the philosophy that ground level, to minimise tourism on the island had to be carefully balanced with disturbance on tree roots the need to protect the environment and promote Great close to the buildings, Barrier Reef World Heritage values. The resulting Green natural soil moisture Island Resort has set the standard for many other small levels and wildlife island resorts. movement. BEST PRACTICE CODES FOR CONSTRUCTION No gutters and steep roofs let rain A Code of Environmental Practice for construction provided fall naturally. Raised buildings minimise strict guidelines for all contractors and workers to comply ground and wildlife impacts. with. This included: Building Height » No large cranes or trucks on the island - they were Even visual impacts were considered. The buildings had to unable to manoeuvre without causing damage. be tucked into the natural trees and below tree canopy » All equipment was checked for feral animals, pests, height (7 - 8 metres) so as not to be visible from sea. non-native plants and seeds. Equipment was washed down before unloading to prevent weed and disease Building Materials contamination. All building are rendered masonry blocks, roof eaves are » Work boots used on the island were left on the island constructed from local hard woods, interior wood finishes – workers had to change shoes when they left. are Tasmanian Oak, external wood finishes are Spotted » Concrete mixing was conducted off-Island to avoid Gum, and tiles are Australian and Italian made. contamination. All slabs were pre-fabricated on the mainland and brought to the island. Green Island Resort Fact Sheets : Green Island Resort Eco Features Fact Sheet 6 RESORT ECO FEATURES Colour Hidden Services (pipes & wiring) Limitations were set on the colour that the buildings Water and fuel pipes and electrical wires are slung could be painted. Colour schemes were designed to be underneath the raised building slabs and boardwalks. This compatible with the surrounding environment. not only hides the unsightly pipes from sight, but also allows prompt and easy access for repairs. Gutters and steep roofs Rainwater is vital to the survival of the rainforest plants LANDSCAPING on the island. Buildings have several features designed to maximise the amount of rainfall that falls onto the island. Plant Selection For example, gutters and other rain catchment devices Over 6,000 individual plants (of 60 different native species) are prohibited. Steep roofs help channel the rain to the were used in landscaping and re-vegetation on the Resort ground. lease area. Strict landscaping guidelines ensured that no non-native or pest plants were introduced. All plants were native to Green Island (endemic) and propagated from seeds collected from plants on the island. Exotic plants (those not found locally) were strictly regulated. Only selected exotic plants could be used, and only in pots – never planted directly into the garden beds. Pest and Weed Control Unlike many construction sites, there was no pre-treatment of the soil with pesticides. Instead, the Green Island Weed Eradication Program consists of careful monitoring and Swimming Pools hand removal of all weeds and pest plants. The depths of the swimming pools are limited to 2.2 metres so they do not interfere with the water table beneath the island. Raised Boardwalks Buildings are linked with timber boardwalks to eliminate problems with compaction and erosion. These boardwalks also allow animals to move freely along the forest floor and do not interfere with tree root systems. As with the resort buildings, boardwalks were built around existing trees. The gaps between the boards allow rainwater to fall freely to the ground to replenish the freshwater lens beneath the island. Green Island Resort Fact Sheets : Green Island Resort Eco Features Fact Sheet 7 GREEN ISLAND MANAGEMENT Management of Green Island is very complex. Many different agencies share jurisdiction over Green Island. Although a large portion of it is National Park, there are diverse tourism and research interests on the island as well. Even though the island is only very small (12 hectares) it has one of the most complicated management systems of any of the Great Barrier Reef islands, having state, federal and local laws governing various aspects. WORLD HERITAGE AREA advice on management related It sets out limits on numbers of The entire Great Barrier Reef, including issues by the Green Island and Reef moorings, size of vessels and numbers Green Island, was listed as a World Advisory Committee (GIRAC). The of tourists allowed to visit the island. Heritage Area in 1981. GIRAC consists of all major island stakeholders. MOST OF THE ISLAND IS MANY LEVELS OF NATIONAL PARK (QUEENSLAND) THE OCEAN AND REEF PROTECTION SURROUNDING GREEN ISLAND More than half of the island, including The Great Barrier Reef Marine the rainforest and beaches, is National All the waters and reef surrounding Park Act & Regulations 1975 Park, managed by the Queensland Green Island are part of the Great » Sets out the overall Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS), Barrier Reef Marine Park. However, management system for the which is part of the Environmental even management of these areas are GBR. Protection Agency. A full time National complicated.The Marine Park system is Parks Ranger resides on the island. divided into two sections: » Sets out reef-wide laws of the reef. The Green Island Recreational Area » Queensland Marine Park – the Management Plan sets direction waters and beaches between Zoning Plans for island management to ensure it low and high tide marks are » Divides the GBR into zones is conducted in a coordinated and managed by the Queensland state » Sets out what activities are complementary manner. government (Queensland Parks & allowed within each zone. Wildlife Service). SOME OF THE ISLAND IS ALSO A » Great Barrier Reef Marine Park ‘RECREATIONAL AREA’ – the waters and reefs below Plans of Management the low tide mark are managed » Only applies to the Cairns, The Green Island Recreational Area jointly by the commonwealth Whitsunday and Hinchinbrook extends over the majority of the island, government (the Great Barrier Island areas. including the National Park, public Marine Park Authority, GBRMPA) » Divides individual reefs into esplanade, jetty, navigation channel and and Queensland state government mooring area. Areas leased by Green fine scale zones. (QPWS). Island Resort, Department of Primary » Sets limits on the amount of Industries and Marineland Melanesia Green Island also falls under another people and activities that can are excluded. management regime called the Cairns take place at each reef. Area Plan of Management (CAPOM). » Sets limits on the number of The Green Island Recreational Area Under this Plan, Green Island is vessels that can visit each reef. was declared in March 1990. It is categorised as a ‘Sensitive Location’ with managed by the Recreational Area high conservation, cultural, heritage and Management Board, which is given scientific values. Green Island Resort Fact Sheets : Green Island Management Fact Sheet 7 GREEN ISLAND MANAGEMENT THE GREEN ISLAND REEFS All reefs within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park have been zoned under the GBR Zoning Plans. Green Island’s surrounding reefs are classified as Marine National Park, or ‘Green Zone’. Additionally, a large area away from tourist activity, is classified as a Scientific Research Zone. A Green Zone is a ‘no-take’ area which means that removing things such as shells and activities such as fishing are illegal, but the area can be used for low impact activities including diving, snorkelling and boating. Map Courtesy Environmental Protection Authority Green Zones are important for protecting the biodiversity and LIMITS TO ISLAND DEVELOPMENT LIMITS TO COMMERCIAL ecological systems that sustain the : THE CAIRNS PLAN ACTIVITIES : PERMITS Great Barrier Reef ecosystem. Development on the island for All commercial activities require THE PUBLIC BEACH AREA recreational or tourist purposes is permits to operate. controlled by the Islands District The area near Beach Hire (technically Plan within the Cairns City Council’s Commercial activities on the island, called the ‘Esplanade’) is a public beach ‘Cairns Plan’ (January 2005). The Plan such as photography and nature walks, area that is managed by the local provides guidelines and criteria for require permits from QPWS, while Cairns City Council (CCC). However, refurbishments and developments of commercial activities on the reef, such the QPWS National Parks Ranger has tourism related development on the as scuba diving, require permits from the authority to manage all day-to-day island, including lease areas. the GBRMPA. issues. THE JETTY FACTS & FIGURES » Visitors allowed on island per day. . . . . . . 2240 The Jetty is owned, operated and » Total visitors per year . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Over 300,000 managed by the Cairns Port Authority (CPA). Leaseholders » Green Island Resort » Department of Primary Industry Research Station » Marineland Melanesia Crocodile Farm Green Island Resort Fact Sheets : Green Island Management Fact Sheet 8 TERTIARY SEWAGE TREATMENT PLANT Green Island’s state-of-the-art tertiary level sewage treatment plant (STP) is an example of Best Practice Environmental Management. This sewage treatment plant has served as the prototype for many other small island resorts in the Great Barrier Reef and around the world. A FIRST OF ITS KIND CONSTRUCTION Green Island’s Tertiary Sewage Treatment Plant was the first The sewage plant was designed by GHD Consultants, of its kind to be built on an island! constructed jointly with Thiess Contractors, and is currently managed by Green Island Resort. Construction of the STP Prior to the resort’s redevelopment in the early 1990s, there and surrounding infrastructure took several years. It was was very little, if any, treatment given to sewage waste. Most completed in November 1992 and cost several million of it was released directly off the reef. At this time, scientists dollars. had not yet realised the detrimental effect sewage had on the marine environment. The STP processes wastewater from all resort guest rooms, staff accommodation, day-use facility toilets and showers, With this new facility, no raw sewage is released. The only and pools. It also takes wastewater from the other facilities thing that is pumped out to sea is treated effluent water on the island, including Marineland Melanesia (crocodile that meets strict quality standards. farm), the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service Ranger station, and the Department of Primary Industry research Today, this STP is still considered one of the best island- station. based systems in use. In 2007 the STP was upgraded and a Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) was introduced STANDARDS, BEST PRACTICES AND MANAGEMENT allowing a more efficient operation. The plant must consistently meets stringent environmental standards established by a variety of government agencies. Green Island Resort holds several permits and authorities that set out strict water quality standards. These are closely monitored to ensure the protection of both the marine and island environments. TREATED EFFLUENT WATER RE-USE Recycled water is used in the following areas: » Resort’s toilet system » Air conditioning cooling towers i » Emergency fire fighting reserve View of the Sewage Treatment Plant » Garden irrigation system. Green Island Resort Fact Sheets : Tertiary Sewage Treatment Plant Fact Sheet 8 TERTIARY SEWAGE TREATMENT PLANT THE PROCESS number of benefits including a reduced Carbon footprint (approximately 8 tonnes of CO2) and further improvement The STP processes around 30 million litres of wastewater to the quality of the discharge effluent. The discharge water annually. exceeds not only national standards, but also international guidelines for discharge water quality. The system upgrade The system is a biological process, with the wastewater also reduced the use of chemicals in the process. flowing through a series of settling tanks and disinfectant systems (including sand filters and UV radiation). RECYCLING TREATED EFFLUENT WATER It takes about 6 hours to go through the entire system. One of the most innovative features about this STP is the All solid waste and sludge is barged off the island back to ability to recycle the treated effluent water in areas of the the mainland. Only very small quantities of treated effluent resort that do not require potable (drinkable) water. water are discharged into the ocean via a deep water pipe located a long way off the edge of the reef. Annual surveys The treated effluent water is very clean – although it is of the area show that there are no impacts to the marine not considered drinkable water, it is bacteria free, clear and environment. odourless. By doing this, freshwater usage is minimised, and the amount of treated effluent water released into the Since the STP upgrade (2007) there have been a ocean is reduced. Large Aeration Tank Holding Particle Chemical Tank Filter Dosing Solid Sludge Sand Waste Thickener Filter Storage Barged off Island Sludge UV Storage Tank Disinfection Barged off Effluent Water Island Storage Tank Treated Marine Effluent Outfall Re-Use FLOW DIAGRAM OF TERTIARY SEWAGE TREATMENT PLANT Green Island Resort Fact Sheets : Tertiary Sewage Treatment Plant Fact Sheet 9 MANAGING CHEMICALS ON GREEN ISLAND Green Island Resort limits the use of chemicals. Green Island is a very fragile sand cay ecosystem that can be harmed by harsh chemicals. The Resort has a strict Chemical Management system that regulates what types of chemicals can be used, how much can be used, how they are stored and how they are disposed PURCHASING ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY ALL CHEMICALS ARE CAREFULLY STORED CHEMICALS Proper storage of chemicals is very important so there Proper chemical management starts at the purchasing level are no accidental spills into the environment. All chemicals - only approved chemicals can be purchased and used on are stored in specially designed areas that are properly the island. All efforts are made to choose non-toxic and sealed to contain any leaks and prevent environmental environmentally friendly chemicals and cleaning products. contamination. A lot of time goes into investigating the most up-to-date and innovative products and alternative non-chemical SPILLS ARE CAREFULLY CLEANED UP technologies. Chemical spills are never washed away. A strict set of OTHER RESTRICTIONS ON CHEMICAL CHOICES procedures requires that any spills, no matter how small, must be physically contained (isolated), either swept up or Not only do we look after the environment, but we also soaked up with special absorbent pads. The chemicals and have to watch out for what goes into the Sewage Treatment clean-up materials must then be stored in special containers Plant (STP). and transported to the mainland for proper disposal. Since STP is a biological system, harsh chemicals can affect A fully equipped Spill Response Kit is always on-site, and staff the biological balance, which can result in plant failure. undergo regular training in chemical use, spill prevention Therefore, only certain chemicals can enter the STP system. and spill clean up. Only chemicals that the STP can handle are allowed to be used on the island and in the resort. LIMITING HOW MUCH IS USED Our strict chemical purchasing procedure states… In addition to limiting the types of chemical allowed on the island, the amounts of chemicals used are restricted: » What types of chemicals can be used and » Bulk quantities are kept on the mainland, with only purchased limited amounts sent to the island » Steps taken to get approval for a new chemical » A detailed register of chemical usage is maintained and reviewed regularly » Guidelines for chemical usage. » Minimum concentrations are determined – super strong solutions are avoided. » Special quantity-adjusted chemical dispensers are used. Green Island Resort Fact Sheets : Managing Chemicals on Green Island Fact Sheet 9 MANAGING CHEMICALS ON GREEN ISLAND KNOWING ABOUT THE CHEMICALS Chemical manufacturers must produce information sheets, called Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS), for all chemicals. These sheets outline the use, storage, clean up and first aid requirements specific to each chemical. These MSDS sheets are kept on location and available to all employees. » The Chief Engineer holds a complete register of all MSDS for all chemicals on the island. » Department Managers hold a register of MSDS for all chemicals used in their department. » All new chemicals are added when they are introduced. » Contractors working on the island must provide relevant MSDS sheets to the Chief Engineer for approval before use. Employees who use chemicals as part of their daily duties are required to read and understand the information on these sheets before they are allowed to handle any chemicals. WELL TRAINED STAFF All resort staff undergo special chemical awareness training as part of their new staff induction training. Further, chemical specific training, is conducted on the job. During this training, CHEMICAL AUDITS staff are issued with an approved list of chemicals permitted on the island. All new employees are informed of the MSDS Chemical Audits are conducted at least once a year. The locations, and encouraged to review them regularly and resulting Chemical Audit Reports present the findings keep up-to-date with the information. and lists recommendations for chemical use and storage improvements. These audits assess: » What chemicals are being used » If there are any old or inappropriate chemicals in storage » The chemical consumption rates » Condition of storage facilities » Spill kit inventory » Staff training levels » Other safeguards. Green Island Resort Fact Sheets : Managing Chemicals on Green Island Fact Sheet 10 MANAGING WASTE ON GREEN ISLAND Keeping Green Island waste free is a top priority. Minimising litter, reducing waste and promoting recycling are key elements of both the Green Island Resort Waste Management Plan and Environmental Policy. THE PROBLEM WITH WASTE WASTE MANAGEMENT GOALS WHAT IS WASTE? Poor waste management can result The underlying goals of waste Waste can be... in many harmful impacts on the management are to reduce, re-use, » Solid environment. These include: recycle and ensure safe disposal. » Liquid » Gas » Unsightly visual aesthetics Reduce » A combination of the above. » Animal entanglement, injury and » Minimize the amount of solid illness waste produced. Waste is anything that is left » Pest animal attraction » Buy products in bulk where over. This can include unwanted » Toxic land or water contamination possible. by-products from industrial, & health issues. » Buy minimally packaged goods and commercial, domestic or other choose reusable products over activities. It can be waste whether TAKING CARE OF SOLID WASTE disposable ones. or not it is of value. » Minimise use of plastic bags – offer Common waste disposal techniques paper or fabric alternatives. used on the mainland (such as dumping, » Minimise use of disposable items incineration, composting) cannot be (plastic utensils and cups) – RECYCLABLES used on Green Island due to its fragile promote biodegradable options natural environment. such as cornstarch products. The resort recycles as much as » Conduct daily litter clean-up. possible, including: » The soil is too thin to dig a » Paper dumping pit Reuse » Cardboard » Incineration would result in To reuse materials wherever possible » Glass and plastic potentially toxic smoke and air throughout the operation. » Cooking oils pollution that would affect the » Reuse packaging where possible. » Aluminium local wildlife » Refill small bottles from large bulk » Oil filters » Composting runs the risk of soil containers. » Corks contamination and introduced » Bathroom bottles exotic plants from discarded » Old uniforms seeds. It can also be unsightly and » Slippers. odorous, which on a small island can be a problem. In fact, disposal of any solid waste on Green Island is prohibited. All waste must be taken back to the mainland for disposal. Recycling Station Green Island Resort Fact Sheets : Managing Waste on Green Island Fact Sheet 10 MANAGING WASTE ON GREEN ISLAND Recycle BEING RECOGNISED FOR OUR EFFORTS To increase participation in, and commitment to, recycling programs. Green Island Resort has been repeatedly recognised for its contribution to » Place recycling bins in accessible maintaining good waste practices and keeping Green Island beautiful and litter areas. free. » Separate recyclables before transporting to mainland for Such awards (listed below) include the Environmental Protection Agency disposal. Clean Beach Challenge Awards Program recognising community pride and » Encourage visitor and employee environmental responsibility. participation. 2008 » Resource Recovery, Queensland & Far North Queensland Safe Disposal » Cleanest Beach, Far North Queensland To ensure the proper disposal of 2007 » Friendliest Beach Award, Queensland & Far North all solid waste, hazardous or not, to Queensland prevent environmental contamination. » Environmental Protection Award, Far North Queensland » Follow all best practices and 2006 » Cleanest Beach Award, Far North Queensland legislative requirements for disposal of waste. 2005 » Protection of the Environment Award, Far North » Cover all containers to prevent Queensland animal interference. 2004 » Resource Conservation & Waste Management Awards, » Provide special cigarette butt bins Queensland and Far North Queensland to reduce spillage and windblown » Litter Prevention Award, Far North Queensland litter. 2003 » Friendliest Beach Award, Far North Queensland » Never dispose in the ocean, on 2002 » Resource Conservation & Waste Management Award, Far the ground or down drains. North Queensland » Review current restrictions and 2001 » Resource Conservation & Waste Management Awards, advice notices regularly. Queensland and Far North Queensland » Cleanest Beach Award, Far North Queensland 2000 » Cleanest Beach Award, Far North Queensland » Resource Conservation & Waste Management Award, Far North Queensland. Specially designed cigarette ashtrays for beach conditions Green Island Resort Fact Sheets : Managing Waste on Green Island Fact Sheet 11 WATER MANAGEMENT Natural freshwater on Green Island is very limited. Since there are no natural springs or lakes on the island and all the vegetation relies on rainfall for survival, the resort must provide its own water. Strict water restrictions prevent the resort from catching any rainwater or tapping into the underground freshwater lens. WATER USAGE & CONSERVATION were delivered to the resort every FEATURES week. That was the equivalent of over six average backyard swimming pools Tourists use a lot of water. Showering being delivered every week. and bathing uses up the greatest quantities of fresh water. To reduce In 2001, Green Island Resort installed water usage, a series of water a desalination plant that removes conservation features are installed salt from seawater and produces throughout the resort. These include: freshwater. » Tap aerators » Spring loaded automatic turn-off The desalination plant meets water taps demand by producing 60,000L of » Low-flow showerheads water daily (see Desalination Plant Fact » Dual/low flush toilets Sheet). Barge water is now only used » Reused treated effluent water into to supplement potable water storages. toilets and irrigation system Spring loaded taps turn off automatically » Signs to encourage guests to reuse NON-POTABLE WATER (NOT FOR room towels before laundering DRINKING) » Information cards in guest rooms highlighting the resort’s water The freshwater produced by the THERE ARE TWO conservation efforts desalination plant is used strictly for TYPES OF WATER… » Low water laundry machines (only potable water. fully loaded laundry machines are put through cycles) Non-potable water, for toilet flushing, Potable Water » Special water meters to detect garden irrigation, cooling towers and Suitable for drinking and cooking leaks in the system. fire fighting reserves, is recycled treated by humans. Complies with effluent water from the resort’s tertiary relevant drinking water guidelines. Implementation of these water saving sewage treatment plant. Reusing initiatives significantly reduced water effluent water not only allows for the Non-Potable Water consumption. Calculations showed beneficial reuse of a waste product, but Not suitable for human that visitor usage was reduced from is also cost effective. consumption (i.e. sewage effluent). over 74 litres per person per day to Can be used for other purposes less than 65 litres. WATER MANAGEMENT TRAINING such as fighting fires, POTABLE WATER (FOR DRINKING & WASHING) All resort staff share the responsibility of conserving water on the island. Upon toilets and irrigation. i employment, staff attend Induction Prior to 2001, all potable water was training which discusses water issues barged to the resort from Cairns. To and conservation steps to be take keep up with demand two barges, each while living and working on the island. carrying 130 kilolitre (kL) of water, Green Island Resort Fact Sheets : Water Management Fact Sheet 12 MAKING FRESHWATER - Desalination Plant Since there are no natural springs or rivers on Green Island, freshwater is very limited. All natural freshwater on the island comes from rainfall. Demand for freshwater by the island’s plants is very high - without the water, the rainforest would die. To prevent any conflicts with the natural environment, Green Island Resort produces its own water. FRESHWATER FOR THE RESORT THE DESALINATION PROCESS sewage outfall pipe used by the tertiary treatment plant. Prior to 2001, Green Island Resort The desalination process starts in the barged all its potable freshwater from ocean and goes through several steps. the mainland. As costs for this service » Seawater is taken from the ocean increased, the resort considered via a pipe that extends off the alternative options and chose to install jetty. a desalination plant. This plant now » It travels along the jetty, through supplies water to all the operations on the resort (in water pipes that are Green Island, including public facilities, suspended under the boardwalks Marineland Melanesia, the DPI research and buildings) and into a settlement station and the National Parks ranger tank. The water pipe runs under the jetty station. » From the settlement tank it is to the resort. pumped through two sand filters REVERSE-OSMOSIS and two progressively finer rope- QUALITY AND SAFETY DESALINATION PLANT wound carbon filters. » Before the water leaves the plant, The potable water produced is tested The system uses reverse osmosis it is chlorine dosed to provide regularly and must meet stringent spiral wound membranes. The process residual disinfection. standards, including World Health uses pressure to force salt or brackish » It is then further disinfected with Organisation guidelines. The plant water through membranes where UV (ultraviolet) light. must comply with strict environmental only the clean water passes, leaving standards and is regularly monitored behind the salt and other natural The only waste product generated in and quality tested. impurities. Most other reverse osmosis the process is hyper-saline brine. This desalination plants use a disc tube brine contains rejected salts and other module configuration or hollow fibre natural impurities. The brine water is membrane module configuration. discharged into the same deep-water DESALINATION PLANT FACTS & FIGURES Freshwater made each day . . . . . . . . . . . . . About 60,000 litres Freshwater produced per hour . . . . . . . . . 3,300 litres Seawater processed per hour . . . . . . . . . . Approx. 10.3m3 Salinity of seawater . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32,000 ppm (parts per million) Salinity of produced freshwater . . . . . . . . . 290 ppm (parts per million) Rejected brine per hour . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Approx. 5.3 m3 Salinity of rejected brine . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45,600 ppm (parts per million) Inside the Desalination Plant Green Island Resort Fact Sheets : Making Freshwater - Desalination Plant Fact Sheet 13 TREATED EFFLUENT WATER RE-USE Air Conditioning Cooling Towers Green Island has very strict water management to reduce water wastage. Since freshwater is very limited on Green Island, water conservation and recycling is very important. AN INNOVATIVE IDEA » It is circulated through a tank where an Oxidation Reduction Potential Green Island Resort identified areas Controller (ORP) continuously within the resort’s operation that could measures the milli-volt reading. utilise recycled water from the Tertiary This process assures that the Sewage Treatment Plant (STP). The air chlorine levels are set properly conditioning cooling towers is one of to effectively kill bacteria, but not those areas. cause any harm.The chlorine levels are kept to between 0.8 and 1.0 In the early 1990s, this was an ppm. innovative idea. There were no other existing systems that operated in IN THE COOLING TOWERS this manner. In fact, guidelines for this sort of operation were only just » The treated effluent water is being developed. To reuse treated further treated in the AT512 effluent water, strict quality standards Controller system with Biocide (ANZECC Guidelines and Australian P109 and Corrostop 105. The One of the Air Conditioning Cooling Towers Standard AS3666.1 to 3666.3) must Biocide is a second defence against be met. any bacteria and algae in the water and will prevent build up of algal and bacterial slimes within MONITORING the cooling tanks. Corrostop is a corrosion and scale inhibitor. » Engineering staff conduct daily » At a certain pre-set level, the monitoring of the equipment and water in the cooling tower is bled chemicals in both the STP and the off and returned to the sewage cooling towers. treatment plant for re-treatment » A backup emergency system and disposal. detects problems and can stop incoming treated effluent water to DISPOSAL the cooling towers and trigger a Tertiary Sewage Treatment Plant switch to potable water. » When the water is drained from PRE-TREATMENT the cooling towers, it is pumped back to the Sewage Treatment Treated effluent water is pumped from Plant. the STP to the cooling towers. » Levels of residual chlorine, Biocide and Corrostop are very low and » Before it reaches the towers, it do not cause any problems within is dosed with pool-chlorine (a the sewage treatment plant. In sodium hypochlorite solution). fact, tests show that no chlorine remains in the final effluent water. Green Island Resort Fact Sheets : Water Management Fact Sheet 13 TREATED EFFLUENT WATER RE-USE Air Conditioning Cooling Towers FLOW CHART SHOWING RECYCLING PROCESS Evaporation CHLORINE SEWAGE COOLING TOWER MIXING TANK TREATMANT PLANT Chlorine ORP Biocide P109 Doser AT 512 Controller Corrostop 105 PRE TREATMENT COOLING TOWER DISPOSAL Green Island Resort Fact Sheets : Making Freshwater - Desalination Plant Fact Sheet 14 WHAT BIRD IS THAT? About 15 types of birds nest on Green Island regularly. Over 50 other types visit the island throughout the year. EMERALD DOVE RUDDY TURNSTONE BUFF BANDED RAIL These birds are commonly seen foraging These small shorebirds migrate every These birds are ground dwelling and among the forest floor looking for food. year between the Artic Circle and the nesting birds. It was feared that they had Great Barrier Reef (many thousands of disappeared off Green Island several Their wings look iridescent emerald kilometres). They arrive on Green Island years ago due to rat predation. However, green. However, although they look about September, and leave mid-March. with rat eradication, populations are now green, they are actually grey. The green booming. that you see is the result of sunlight Their name comes from their habit of reflecting off very small holes in the using their beaks to flip over rocks and Adults are well camouflaged, but chicks feathers – a similar effect as light passing shells as they look for worms, sand fleas, are small black balls of fluff. They forage through a prism. and small crabs to eat. in the ground litter, using their feet to stir up leaves in pursuit of insects and small lizards. TORRES STRAIT PIGEON SILVEREYE OSPREY (also Pied Imperial Pigeon) These large doves are migratory birds, Silvereyes are small gregarious birds. Ospreys catch fish with their talons, not spending winter (April – August) in Papua Their tiny cup-shaped nests are made their beaks. Their feet have sharp spicules New Guinea, and summers (September from grasses and coconut fibres that are to help grip slippery fish. Strongly to March) in the Great Barrier Reef.They held together with cobweb strands. muscled legs allow them to carry fish up come to Green Island to nest and feed to 2 kg, which is more than the bird itself on tropical fruits. They start breeding when they are very weighs. young, and if they are successful with Over 3000 birds nest on the island every their first mates, they remain with that Mating pairs of osprey stay together for year. Their nests are poorly constructed mate for life. life. The pair on Green Island has been piles of twigs. Both males and females here for many, many years. produce ‘milk’ in their digestive crop that they use to feed the very young chicks. Although nearly impossible to see in the foliage, their soulful coos are heard throughout the day. Green Island Resort Fact Sheets : What Bird Is That? Fact Sheet 14 WHAT BIRD IS THAT? PIED OYSTERCATCHER CRESTED TERNS NODDY TERN These shorebirds are very distinctive – There are two types of Crested Terns The name ‘Noddy” comes from the word they have very long, straight bright orange – the Greater Crested and the Lesser “noodle”, meaning “fool”. Apparently, beaks.They use these beaks to probe the Crested. Greater Crested are larger and early explorers thought that these birds sand and mud for shells (mostly clams). have lemon-yellow beaks, while Lesser were stupid because they did not readily They break shells by either hammering Crested have orange beaks. Both types fly away. Another possible derivation them or prying the shells open by fly over the water with beaks pointing of the name comes from their habit of stabbing their beaks into the openings. down, looking for food. They plunge nodding their heads during courtship. These birds are always seen in mating straight into the water to catch fish, which Noddies are “skimmers” that fly low over pairs. They mate for life. are caught and swallowed headfirst. the ocean surface, making shallow dip- dives to pick up small fish. They are often seen flying right through wave crests. SUNBIRD FRIGATE BIRD REEF HERON Male Sunbirds are easily distinguished These ‘pirates of the sky’ chase and harass Reef herons come in two colours – from the females by their brilliant other seabirds to steal their food. These white and grey, but never pied (both iridescent purple/black colour. These birds can tell whether another bird is colours on one bird). Although they look birds make small hanging basket nests carrying food by the calls that they bird different, they are the same species. It is with dried leaves and grasses that are makes. If the seabird has food, then the a lot like humans having either blue or woven together with cobwebs. To get frigates swoop down and scare the birds brown eyes. the cobwebs, they hover in front of into regurgitating the food. As the food spider webs and extract a single thread falls, the frigates swoop down and grab it These birds are ambush hunters, able to at a time with their bills. The nests have before it falls into the water. stand still at the water’s edge for long a small hole in the side to enter. A little They are also called “Rainbrother” by periods of time waiting in one place hood over the ‘door’ keeps the rain native aboriginals - it is believed that if you for prey (crabs, fish, squid) to come to out. Sunbirds have one of the fasted see frigates flying over land, a rainstorm them. They use their beaks to stab the reproduction cycles - eggs hatch within is on the way. prey, then they toss the food into the air 10 days and the chicks are able to fly and swallow it (fish are always swallowed away within another 10 days. There are head first to avoid choking on spiky usually only two eggs per nest. fins). Green Island Resort Fact Sheets : What Bird Is That? Fact Sheet 15 WHAT SEED IS THAT? There are over 120 types of plants growing on Green Island.The forest in the centre of the island is classified a tropical rainforest. Green Island is the only coral cay in the Great Barrier Reef with a rainforest. SHE OAK GUETTARDA SPECIOSA CHEESEFRUIT (also Casuarina) (also Morinda) The fleshy outer coating seals in water These trees may look like pine trees, and for the seeds. The inner fibrous layer This egg-shaped fruit is used throughout may even be called ‘Australian Pines’, provides a protective layer around the the Pacific for medicinal remedies. The but they are not pine trees.The hanging seed, and small airspaces allows the fleshy fruit is edible - if you can tolerate green structures are not needles – seeds to float for long periods of time the rotten cheese smell and taste! It they are modified branches. The leaves in the ocean. These seeds can drift for is extremely high in Vitamin C, and is are very small and form a small ‘crown’ over 50 days before landing on shore considered a ‘miracle’ cure for a range around each segment. Seeds explode and germinating. of ailments. out of prickly pods and are carried great distances by the wind. CANNONBALL MANGROVE LOOKING GLASS MANGROVE PANDANUS (also Monkey Puzzle Seed) (also False Pineapple) These fruits look like small-keeled These seeds belong to mangrove boats. The keel helps them to float This plant is one of the most useful trees that live along riverbanks on down rivers, where the parent trees tropical plants. Leaves provide fibres the mainland. The seeds can float for are found, and into the ocean. The for making string and rope and many weeks and can actually start to keels also act as an anchor when the shredded leaves are used for weaving germinate while adrift. When the thick seeds get washed ashore. An air pocket baskets. The trunks are tied together exterior rind dries, it starts to crack, between the shell and the inner seed to make rafts. The seed clusters form then suddenly explodes – shooting out serves as floatation for the fruit. large bunches that look multiple segments of the seed inside. like pineapples. Fruits of These segments fit together to form some types of pandanus a three- dimensional puzzle, but once are edible – but must be separated they are nearly impossible cooked a special way. to fit back together again. Green Island Resort Fact Sheets : What Seed Is That? Fact Sheet 15 WHAT SEED IS THAT? BEAUTY LEAF BEACH ALMOND INDIAN ALMOND (also Calophyllum) Fresh fruit are covered in a purple flesh Seeds are twice as large as Beach The round seeds are about the size of that produces a strong permanent dye. Almonds. They are edible and taste like a golf ball. They are not edible, but the Inside, there are small edible seeds that almond nuts. One handful green oil they produce is used for lamp taste like almond nuts. They are very of these nuts has as much burning oil, soap-making and medicine. rich in protein and thiamine. protein as a dozen eggs. COCONUT SEA LETTUCE BOX FRUIT (also Cardwell Cabbage) (also Beach Barringtonia) Coconuts are the best-known and the These small fruits are found on a largest tropical fruit - they can be as common shoreline bush. They turn This is the second largest fruit found in large as footballs.Their thick outer husk from green to bright white as they the Great Barrier Reef (the coconut is allows them to float for many months ripen. The juice of the fruit is rubbed the largest). They have a thick fibrous as they drift in the ocean. This is how onto insect bites to relieve the itch and layer that helps them float for up to 2 they are dispersed. on cuts and burns to hasten healing. years in the ocean. This fruit has been Research shows that they can: » float for up to 214 days before used for generations by native peoples sinking as fishing floats. The seeds inside are » still germinate after floating 110 grated and used as fish poison. days at sea » travel 5000 km before getting washed ashore. The husk fibres are used in many products, including doormats, ropes, and mattress filling. The hard inner SEA HEARSE shells are used as bowls and utensils. Hard, black seeds are located inside a The name Coconut derives from the white fleshy fruit. When the fruit fall Portuguese word ‘coco’ meaning ape, from the tree, the fleshy outer layer because the early Portuguese sailors provides an individual water supply for thought the three holes at the end of each seed. The seeds are very oily, and Acknowledgement to illustrations from the husk shell looked like an ape’s face. in some the Pacific islands these seeds “Fruits of the Australian Tropical Rainforest” are used as a substitute for candles. by Wendy Cooper and William T Cooper. Green Island Resort Fact Sheets : What Seed Is That?