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Dive into Australia's estuaries onlineTuesday 20 February 2006
Take a peek at your local estuaries and waterways from space, and explore how human activities impact on these key natural resources, through a unique online resource unveiled today in Hobart.
The web resource, called OzEstuaries, was originally launched in 2003. Building on its initial success, the site has been expanded and features a host of new data and functionality, such as satellite imagery, aerial photographs and animations, aimed at broadening the appeal of the website to attract new users and increasing its value to existing users.
Developed by Geoscience Australia and the Cooperative Research Centre for Coastal Zone, Estuary and Waterway Management (Coastal CRC), OzEstuaries draws together a diverse range of information on nearly 1000 of Australia's estuaries, including the National Estuaries Assessment. It is the greatest central resource of downloadable maps, images, reports, data and basic information on estuaries in Australia, and is an international model for sharing information of its kind.
"We hope the latest enhancements to OzEstuaries will draw new users to the site, from environmental consultants and researchers at all levels, to students and the wider public, and in the process raise awareness of the importance of estuaries and how we can manage our impact on them", says Dr Rob Fearon, CEO of the Coastal CRC.
Ranked the most valuable of Australia's diverse ecosystems, estuaries are key environmental and economic resources, supporting tourism, recreation, fishing, and shipping industries. OzEstuaries will help to ensure the sustainability of these important functions by providing the latest information to the people who manage estuaries-from local citizens through to regional coastal managers.
"OzEstuaries provides a national perspective on Australia's estuaries, allowing users at all levels to access comprehensive information, bridging the gap between science, planning, decision making and the public" says Dr Peter Harris, Group Leader of Marine and Coastal Environments at Geoscience Australia.
OzEstuaries is a dynamic resource-it will continue to be updated as new data and information on Australian estuaries and coastal waterways becomes available.
Visit OzEstuaries at www.ozestuaries.org
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