Reef’s future in our hands
People power key to saving our Great Barrier Reef
AUSTRALIA’S best-known icon and one of the seven natural wonders of the world, the Great Barrier Reef is home to a breathtaking array of wildlife including whales, dugongs, marine turtles and more than 1600 species of fish. But their home – our Reef – is facing growing pressure from climate change, poor water quality and crown-ofthorns starfish. This is why people across Queensland are stepping up and taking action. Farmers, communities, industry sectors, regional natural resource managers, scientists, rangers and governments are using the best available science and working together to improve the health of the Great Barrier Reef. Here’s how the work of many is working:
CLIMATE CHANGE ACTION:
The best minds in science are researching solutions to combat the effects of climate change, the single biggest threat to the health of the Great Barrier Reef, while the world works on reducing climate change impacts.
REDUCING FERTILISER RUN-OFF:
Farmers are optimising their fertiliser use and reducing farm run-off to improve water quality in local waterways and on the Reef. This in turn reduces outbreaks of the coral-eating crown-of-thorns starfish, which feed on the nutrients in fertilisers.
REDUCING SEDIMENT RUN-OFF:
Graziers are changing their farming practices and restoring erosion-causing gullies and streambanks to reduce the flow of coral-smothering sediments into Reef waters. RANGERS PROTECTING THE REEF: Reef rangers, including Queensland Indigenous Land and Sea Rangers and Field Management Program Rangers, work every day to look after the Great Barrier Reef. From tagging turtles to cleaning shorelines, rangers are on the front line, preserving the wonder of the Reef for future generations.
Conservationists, scientists and traditional owners work together to monitor and protect marine turtle species on the Great Barrier Reef and along the length of Queensland’s coastline. On Raine Island, the world’s largest remaining green turtle nesting population is being helped by reshaping the nesting beach that keeps turtle eggs safe from tidal inundation. Looking after the water quality in Moreton Bay also supports the Reef turtles, 20,000 of which regularly travel to feed in this region.
WATER QUALITY MONITORING:
Scientists are monitoring and modelling the changes in land management and how that impacts Reef water quality. They’re working along waterways up and down the Queensland coast, so that the health of the Reef can be continually improved.
“The Great Barrier Reef is still great, but it’s facing some challenges that we need to deal with. The Reef is still here, we can still save it” PROFESSOR OVE HOEGH-GULDBERG
PRECIOUS: Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, director of The University of Queensland’s Global Change Institute (above); and (above right) a snorkeller swimming with a turtle near Lady Elliot Island on the Great Barrier Reef.