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:

great barrier reef

great barrier reef

great barrier reef

great barrier reef

great barrier reef

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