Water quality monitoring funding

RELEVANT, REAL-TIME WATER QUALITY MONITORING DATA FOR GROWERS

Queensland Environment Minister Meaghan Scanlon has committed $3 million in funding for local-scale water quality monitoring in the Tully and Johnstone catchments.

This funding is to continue the water quality monitoring undertaken over the last four years as part of the Wet Tropics Major Integrated Project. The project has achieved unprecedented buy-in from the local community on water quality issues through bringing together Tully and Innisfail Canegrowers and the Australian Banana Growers, farmers, scientists, industry experts and Traditional Owners.

The grassroots, farmer-led monitoring program is answering growers’ questions about water quality by directly sharing locally relevant, nutrient, sediment and pesticide data from local catchments.

“Growers value and appreciate high quality local data that’s provided within useful timeframes. The local-scale monitoring of streams, paddock run-off and ground water enables us to build understanding about pollutant loss pathways and helps growers make informed paddock management decisions,” said MIP Water Quality Project Leader, Alicia Buckle.

Grower Services Manager from Canegrowers Innisfail, Deb Telford, said: “The Local Scale Monitoring program had such an impact in our district. To stop the momentum of this project would have been disappointing. This announcement today is exciting and is a positive step forward for the next three years. Grower engagement for this project has been encouraging and successful, we’ve had growers say we should have had this 10 years ago.”

At a ‘shed meeting’, a grower stood up and said  “Show me that it’s my nitrogen leaving my farm”. To me, that’s a failure of water quality scientists in the past—myself included—because [there is a] lack of understanding about the impact of agriculture on water quality. That has been addressed by the MIP because there is now really clear data on local water quality […] If the growers and other community people don’t understand the problem, we have no chance of addressing it.” – Water Quality Science Advisor.

Read the full media statement from 28 Sept and listen to interviews here.

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