American supporters thrilled

AS FAR away as America, people were waiting with bated breath to find out the Federal Environment Minister’s decision on the proposed Traveston Crossing Dam – and they weren’t disappointed.

Marilyn Connell travelled to America earlier this year to attend the Turtle and Tortoise Conservation and Biology Symposium where the Mary River turtle was the focus of much interest, particularly concerning the issue of the proposed dam and threat it posed to the rare turtle.

Ms Connell has donated more hours than she cares to count on preserving the habitat of the Mary River in the hopes of giving it the best chance to thrive and rebuilt the population of the species.

The proposed Traveston Crossing Dam threatened to undo all of the conservation work that Ms Connell and many others put into protecting the Mary River turtle – and she said she was delighted to hear Peter Garrett’s decision to can the dam on Wednesday.

Several conservation groups in America contacted her overnight to tell her they had heard the news and were equally pleased that the turtle’s future, while far from assured, was looking brighter.

“The decision from Garrett is worth more than a lifetime of guarding the nest of Mary River turtles – we can’t work enough to make up for the impact the dam would have had,” Ms Connell said.

Ms Connell celebrated the decision with a glass of champagne on the river on Wednesday.

“I tipped the first mouthful into the river,” she said.

She then went to Gympie to join in the celebrations with a community that has been much affected by the dam since the decision to build it was announced three years ago.

Ms Connell said it was important to remember the turtle was still endangered.

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