Healthy Reef waterways are the focus of a $1.8 million funding boost from the Australian Government to engage reef communities in the continued community monitoring and reporting on water quality and waterway health in regional reef catchments.
Water quality reporting through partnerships between councils, industry, research and community groups, are an important factor in improving the quality of water flowing from the land to the Great Barrier Reef. More than 20 water quality report cards have been released by Regional Report Card Partnerships since 2012.
The money will help fund additional monitoring and reporting, increase capacity for governance and communications work, expand report card indicators and build on the Queensland Government’s additional investment of $2.5 million and the $6.66 million both governments have provided to the partnerships since 2016-17.
Special Envoy for the Great Barrier Reef Warren Entsch said partnerships are responsible for reports on local waterway conditions, building awareness in the community, tracking changes in water quality over time as well as helping to inform future management efforts.
“These partnerships are critical to ensuring a healthy Great Barrier Reef,” Mr Entsch said.
“We are the best Reef managers in the world, and this is only possible due to the strong partnerships on the ground.
“The Morrison Government remains absolutely committed to ensuring a healthy and vibrant Reef so it can be enjoyed for generations to come.”
There are five partnerships in the Great Barrier Reef: the Gladstone Healthy Harbour Partnership; Fitzroy Partnership for River Health; Mackay-Whitsunday-Isaac Healthy Rivers to Reef Partnership; Townsville Dry Tropics Partnerships for Healthy Waters and Wet Tropics Healthy Waterways Partnership.
The partnerships have also developed resources to facilitate Traditional Owner cultural assessments, citizen science activities, improve knowledge about the condition of fish in freshwater basins and develop new indicators to assess waterway health.
The funding will help communities and stakeholders to improve, monitor and report on water quality within the Great Barrier Reef catchment through a range of initiatives under the Reef 2050 Water Quality Improvement Plan.