WATER QUALITY IMPROVEMENT PROGRAMS
HOTSPOT FOR REEF RUNOFF
Poor water quality is the second biggest threat to the Great Barrier Reef after climate change.
While climate change is a global issue, there is a lot we can do locally for the Reef by improving water quality flowing off the land.
The Wet Tropics is one of seven Great Barrier Reef catchments, where water is collected by the natural landscape and flows out to the reef lagoon. The Wet Tropics catchment is a particular hotspot for nutrient and pesticide run-off due to the following:
- 9 short sharp rivers
- exceptionally high rainfall
- intensive farming along the coastal plain
- closeness of the reef to our coast
Each year our wet season dumps rain into our landscapes which races down the escarpments, picking up pollutants along the way and carrying them out to sea without little chance to dilute.
Terrain NRM has successfully delivered a number of large Great Barrier Reef programs that have been funded by the Australian and Queensland governments. These programs have mostly been focused on working with farmers to help them transition to farm practices that present a lower risk to water quality flowing to the Reef but also maintain farm productivity and profitability.
Our work involves:
- Supporting farmers to transition to more environmentally sustainable practices
- Water quality monitoring
- Trialling innovations including treatment systems like bioreactors
- Repairing riverbanks, gullies and landscapes to reduce sediment runoff and maintain farm productivity
- Developing innovative ecosystem service markets to incentivise and reward landholders to reduce nutrient and sediment runoff to the reef
- Raising community awareness about links between farm practice and reef health
Current reef projects:
- How do we support cane farmers to transition to environmentally sustainable farm practices?
GBRF RAP2 – An extension program delivered through the Wet Tropics Sugar Industry Partnership
- How do we incentivise cane farmers to reduce their use of nitrogen fertiliser?
Reef Trust IV Repeated Tenders
- How do we fix sediment runoff caused by historic grazing practices?
Reef Trust IV Herbert Gully & Streambank Repair Project
- A place-based approach: Bridging the Gap Between Science and the Farmers
Wet Tropics Major Integrated Project (MIP)
- How do we track progress towards the Reef 2050 targets? The Paddock to Reef Integrated Monitoring, Modelling & Reporting Program (P2R)
- How do we assess how healthy our waterways are? The Wet Tropics Waterway Health Report Card – Delivered through Wet Tropics Waterways