14 October 2013
Scientists and land managers from across Queensland are gathering in Bargara this week for a forum hosted by the Burnett Mary Regional Group (BMRG) and the Reef and Rainforest Research Centre. The forum will lay the ground work for delivery of the Australian government’s Reef Rescue 2 program which will build on the work of the last five years of Reef Rescue in improving the water quality of the Great Barrier Reef catchment.
Over 40 participants, representing the Queensland and Australian government, research institutions, industry and community groups and regional natural resource management bodies have signed on to attend. They will discuss the current health of the Great Barrier Reef catchment, existing and emerging threats to reef ecosystems caused by recent flood plumes and how agricultural industries can implement best management practices to ensure that the impact of nutrients, pesticides and sediment runoff are minimised.
The announcement by the Australian government of funding for Reef Rescue 2 means that more resources are now available to assist landholders with improving their land management practices.
BMRG CEO, Penny Hall, says that Reef Rescue 2 creates an opportunity to showcase the importance of the Great Barrier Reef and the forum will provide a platform for scientists and land managers to present their ideas and achievements and build a case for effective future actions to improve water quality of the reef catchment through improved land management practice.
“The southern part of the Great Barrier Reef into which our region’s major rivers flow is home to many important marine ecosystems such as sea grass beds, endangered turtle rookeries and inshore coral habitat. Reef Rescue can help us to understand how we can improve reef water quality as well as the best ways to manage our land to maintain productivity. With a burgeoning population and significant development of our coastal areas just around the corner it is programs such as these that will allow us to progress sustainably.”
“The forum brings together scientists and key regional stakeholders to present current information on water quality research and best practice land management techniques and provides opportunities for a two way discussion and future ideas for collaboration. By connecting current water quality research with industry specific research at a local and regional level, we are better able to understand what priorities exist. This will allow us create more effective approaches to the delivery of reef related programs and priorities for future R&D requirements.” She added.
Reef Rescue 2 is a component of the joint Queensland and Australian government’s Reef Plan 2013 initiative which is seeking to understand what level of management change is needed to deliver a healthy reef through scientific research and development and sets specific targets, key accountabilities and clear actions for improving water quality and the outstanding universal value of the Great Barrier Reef.
For more on Reef Plan 2013 please visit, www.reefplan.qld.gov.au
Communications and Engagement Officer
Burnett Mary Regional Group for NRM Ltd
07 4181 2999 ext 205 – 0429 462 464