New Reef Credits Initiative Boosted – NAB Foundation Grant

February 28, 2018

Far North organisation Terrain Natural Resource Management is one of six organisations to share in $1.6 million of sustainable regions grant funding, announced today by the National Australia Bank Foundation.

Terrain NRM has secured $325,000 over two years to work in partnership with GreenCollar, a leading environmental markets developer, to support farmers to access and benefit from Reef Credits, an Australia-first reef offsets system.

Reef Credits – like carbon credits – will be a measurable, verifiable, third-party audited product that guarantees a result for the Reef and offers direct dollar benefit to landholders in regional communities. This guaranteed result is very attractive to corporate investors in particular, who are looking for a way to support the environment.

Terrain’s NRM Strategy Manager Penny Scott said while there were many water quality improvements happening in the Wet Tropics, an expanded scope of solutions was needed to meet reef water quality targets.

“The Great Barrier Reef has an economic, social and iconic value of $56 billion. Solutions have to support long-term resilience of both the reef and catchment communities.

“By placing a dollar value on water quality improvements, Reef Credits can drive on-ground action.

“This approach is designed to engage a new source of reef investment, providing farmers with greater surety, and the ability to plan for long-term improvements.

“It has the potential to be a game-changer in tackling nutrient and sediment runoff to the Reef. Through performance-based long-term payments, Reef Credits could significantly change funding models for the Reef.”

GreenCollar CEO James Schultz said that while climate change had recently overshadowed water quality and pollution as the biggest threat to the Great Barrier Reef, if the reef was to survive or adapt, it still needed clean water.

“This requires transformational change, an innovative market-based approach that not only provides benefits to farmers for making changes that result in measurable water quality improvements but, just as importantly, provides a vehicle for driving significant investment into the region,’’ Mr Schultz said.

“Farmers and graziers are innovative by nature. With the backing of good science and new income streams, we believe they are best-placed to lead practice change to rebuild functioning ecosystems.”

Volunteer landholders are already working with GreenCollar to test methods through the Wet Tropics Major Integrated Project, which is funded by Queensland Government. This grant will support expanding the Reef Credits model across the whole of the Wet Tropics.

Fellow Far North not-for-profit, Reef Restoration Foundation, was another successful grant applicant. The Foundation will expand its pilot offshore coral nursery at Fitzroy Island, which will enable transplantings on damaged reefs.

“It’s encouraging that NAB is backing Far North organisations, and this really goes to show that some of the most innovative on-shore and off-shore responses to complex challenges of water quality and climate change are home-grown,” Terrain NRM’s Ms Scott said.

28 February 2018