…The ocean floor off the area between Prices Point and Quondong, the site of the proposed giant LNG refinery and Port system, is flat, but unlike most flat sea floors, this has an enormous coral garden. This shows up as an extraordinary area on fishing echo sounders, in an area abundant in sailfish and marlin as shown by catches in the Broome Fishing tournaments each year when hundreds are caught and released.
From – “The Kimberley Coast – The Last Sanctuary”Quondong Point and James Price Point
The waters off Quondong Point have been identified as
one of the most important ecological sites of the Northwest
marine region (DEWHA, 2008). A unique combination
of sea floor ‘shape’ (bathymetry) and ocean movements
(oceanography) appears to enhance Quondong’s biological
productivity, but the underlying processes are unclear.
Nevertheless, surrounding waters attract an abundance of
baitfish, which in turn attracts aggregations of seabirds and
other marine life, including large predatory fish, cetaceans,
turtles and dugongs (DEWHA, 2008).
A ‘snapshot’ study of the fish-habitat associations found in
the vicinity of James Price Point identified 116 species of
fishes, sharks, rays and sea snakes. Indeed, this survey found
that the ichthyofauna (fish life) in the study area at James
Price Point had a much higher diversity and abundance than
equivalent areas of the Great Barrier Reef using comparable
survey techniques (Cappo et al., 2011).
Flatback turtles (Natator depressus) tagged as part of the
2009 Chevron Barrow Island Turtle Management Plan were
found to use Quondong as their most frequented foraging
ground (Chevron, 2009). Quandong appears to be a calving
nursery and a high-density area for northbound humpback
whales (Megaptera novaeangliae), as well as false killer
whales (Pseudorca crassidens), pygmy blue whales
(Balaenoptera musculus brevicauda) and several resident
dolphin species (DEWHA, 2008, DEH, 2005).
That’s just the ocean side of things at James Price Point.Now the other half:
The West Kimberley Nature Project, run by our friends at Environs Kimberley, is working with Traditional Owners and Indigenous Ranger Groups. The aim is to protect and conserve the threatened Monsoon Vine Thicket (MVT) community found on the Dampier Peninsula, Kimberley region, Western Australia.
Then there is that world class site of thousands of dinosaur trackways spread along the reef.
The Broome sandstone is currently undergoing considerable research on dinosaur trackways. These trackways and the science that they represent will be destroyed under current Government and Woodside proposals to turn James Price Point into a giant LNG factory. Dr Tony Thulborn presents his paper on the research here:PLOS ONE: Impact of Sauropod Dinosaurs on Lagoonal Substrates in the Broome Sandstone (Lower Cretace
Figure 8. Lateral and superficial disturbances of substrate caused by impact of sauropod feet.
A, shallow dish-like print surrounded by extensive ripple-like disturbances. The actual footprint (impressed directly by underside of the track-maker’s foot) has probably been lost to erosion, but nevertheless these sub-surface features convey a good idea of the extent to which impact of a sauropod’s foot could disturb the surrounding substrate. Note the very faint ripple-like disturbance at extreme left. B, undersurface of rock slab that formerly overlay and filled a sauropod pes print. Large oval feature at centre is that footprint’s rock filling (natural cast). The gutter surrounding it indicates that the original footprint was encircled by a raised rim of displaced sediment. Evidence of a second but much smaller print (the manus?) is at upper right, partly concealed by adherent rock. As the surface of this overturned slab is convex, it must have overlain a substrate that was concave – as explained diagrammatically in Figure 9. The regular dimpled texture results from two intersecting sets of ripple-marks. 10 cm scale to right of pes print.
The reef in the background is at Manari, containing many small pools of water at low tide allowing easy viewing of corals and other life forms. No public access to this site will follow any development at Price’s Point.
…There are a few wetlands situated close to the proposed development.
‘The Last Sanctuary’ also covers other iconic places on the West Kimberley coast.