Reef’s fu­ture in our hands

Peo­ple power key to sav­ing our Great Bar­rier Reef

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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. PRO­TECT­ING TUR­TLES: 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.

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