The Reef Rescue R&D program – outcomes so far

An important part of Reef Rescue is the Reef Rescue Water Quality Research & Development (R&D) program, which has included 18 research projects related to identifying improved management practices and monitoring methods. Over $9 million has been invested between May 2011 and June 2013, with final reports currently being reviewed.

The overall objective of Reef Rescue R&D was to improve our understanding of the link between land management practices and environmental impacts, and to improve water quality across the Great Barrier Reef by supporting a reduction in the amount of nutrients, pesticides and sediments reaching the Reef from agricultural lands. Reef Rescue R&D has increased knowledge about the cost effectiveness and water quality outcomes of implementing improved agricultural practices that have water quality benefits, and the factors affecting practice adoption across industries and regions. The Reef Rescue R&D projects have focused on key agricultural activities in the Great Barrier Reef catchments, including sugar, grazing and horticulture. It has also identified key activities to reduce pesticide loads through best management practices, and improved our understanding of the delivery of pesticides to the Great Barrier Reef. Outcomes from projects have also focused on improved economic strategies and developing better reporting mechanisms for end of catchment pollutant loads and marine water quality.

The findings contribute to achievement of the five-year Caring for our Country outcomes and targets by informing the effective and efficient delivery of the Water Quality Grants Program under Reef Rescue. The program has utilised mechanisms established through the Reef Partnerships Program such as the Reef Operatives group to ensure that the research is conducted in collaboration with regional stakeholders and decision makers, and that the results are communicated efficiently and effectively.

To facilitate take-up of the Reef Rescue R&D outcomes and to promote current research from the program, five regional workshops were resourced through Reef Rescue 2 to bring together researchers, managers and research users for presentation of the research outcomes, and discussion of how to progress these outcomes into practical ways to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of Reef Rescue delivery.-. Regional workshops were held in Mackay, Rockhampton, Cairns (incorporating both Wet Tropics and Cape York regions), Bundaberg and Townsville, in September and October. All meetings were well attended, with presentations from Reef Rescue R&D projects targeted to inform enhanced regional delivery of Reef Rescue into the future.

RRRD 01A full summary of research outcomes can be found on the Reef Rescue website http://www.reefrescueresearch.com.au/