$12.6 m for farmers to protect Reef water quality

The Hon Sussan Ley MP, Minister for the Environment

The Hon Warren Entsch MP, Special Envoy for The Great Barrier Reef

Farmers and organisations across catchment areas from Cairns to Mackay are being offered a total of $12.6 million for innovations to improve water quality and reduce sediment reaching the Great Barrier Reef.

Funding is from the latest tranche of investments under the Reef Trust Partnership with the Great Barrier Reef Foundation which is reducing threats to the health of sea-grass, coral and marine life such as turtles and dugongs by removing sediment, nutrients and pesticides.

Detailed technical assessments have identified the Upper Herbert, Upper & East Burdekin catchments and Bowen, Broken and Bogie catchments as key areas where farmers can create a positive impact.

“Importantly, we are working with farmers and local organisations to protect the Reef and these latest grants from the Great Barrier Reef Foundation focus on practical cost-effective solutions developed by farmers,” Minister for the Environment Sussan Ley said today.

Special Envoy for the Great Barrier Reef and Member for Leichhardt Warren Entsch said that the Reef remains a stunning natural wonder and that water quality was vital in helping it thrive into the future.

“Funding provided under the Reef Trust Partnership is seeing water quality projects like Greening Australia’s Gully remediation at Strathalbyn on track to reduce sediment entering the Great Barrier Reef Lagoon in the Lower Burdekin by up to 3,200 tonnes a year,” he said.

“This is about demonstrating how we can work together to support the Reef, farming communities and tourism.”

The funding is part of a third tranche of the Great Barrier Reef Foundation’s $141 million focus on regionally focused water quality improvement programs and has been allocated on the basis of detailed technical assessment:

  • $5 m in the Bowen, Broken and Bogie catchments
  • $4.1 m in the Upper and East Burdekin
  • $3.5 m in the Upper Herbert

Great Barrier Reef Foundation Managing Director Anna Marsden said: “This investment in water quality projects will not only improve conditions for the Reef’s precious corals, it will also help our endangered turtles and dugongs who feed on the region’s seagrass beds that need clean water to thrive.

“We need less sediment running into the Reef’s waters in large plumes as this smothers the corals and seagrass, preventing them from receiving the natural light they need to survive,” Ms Marsden said.

The new round of grants builds on more than $19 million already invested through the Reef Trust Partnership into 11 projects which include work with the Queensland Farmers Federation to transition 200 landholders (62 graziers and 138 growers) to improved management practices resulting in a 150 tonne reduction in the amount of inorganic nitrogen entering waterways from farms each year.

Applications for the Upper Herbert, Upper & East Burdekin and Bowen Bogie catchments are now open and will close on Friday 12 June 2020, with an information session for potential delivery providers to be held on Thursday 7 May 2020.

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