The Great Barrier Reef Foundation is inviting solutions from farmers and organisations in the Cairns region to reduce the amount of fine sediment from the Upper Herbert catchment entering the waters surrounding the Reef.
Great Barrier Reef Foundation Managing Director Anna Marsden said poorer water quality caused by land-based run off is a significant threat to the health of Australia’s unique living icon, the Great Barrier Reef.
“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,” Ms Marsden said.
“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.
“We’re inviting cost-effective solutions such as agriculture practice change and landscape remediation to substantially reduce the amount of fine sediment from these priority catchments which affect the quality of water on the Reef.
“Farmers and organisations in the Cairns region will have access to $3.5 million of the $12.6 million investment currently available through the partnership between the Australian Government’s Reef Trust and the Great Barrier Reef Foundation to tackle water quality in priority catchments.
“With $3.5 million available for the Upper Herbert catchment, $4.1 million for the Upper & East Burdekin catchments and $5 million for the Bowen, Broken and Bogie catchments near Townsville.
“This is the third tranche of funding available through the $141 million regionally focused water quality improvement program as part of the Reef Trust Partnership.
“Prioritisation of the funding across the Reef catchments has been informed by a detailed technical assessment to identify how funds can be invested in the most cost-effective way, and consistent with the Reef 2050 Water Quality Improvement Plan.
“This program builds on the over $19 million already invested through the Reef Trust Partnership into 11 projects that have a track record of improving water quality on the Great Barrier Reef.
“These projects include Greening Australia’s Gully remediation project at Strathalbyn station which is on track to reduce the amount of sediment discharging to the Great Barrier Reef lagoon through the Lower Burdekin catchment by 3,200 tonnes a year.”
The Water Quality Improvement program is funded by the partnership between the Australian Government’s Reef Trust and the Great Barrier Reef Foundation.