Expert community groups will share in $19.4 million over the next four years to improve water run off onto the Great Barrier Reef.
Natural Resources Minister Dr Anthony Lynham today announced that applications were open for the funds – part of a larger $61 million pool to be invested into improving the quality of the state’s land, vegetation, water and reef.
“The larger funding pool will be available to the state’s 14 natural resource management regional bodies with six regional bodies eligible for the reef funding,” Dr Lynham said
“The reef catchment allocation will drive on-ground improvements in land management to reduce sediments, nutrients and pesticides flowing onto the Reef.
“We are looking to repair significant areas like gullies, stream banks and wetlands and improve soil and groundcover management.”
Dr Lynham said natural resource regional groups had years of experience, working with landowners, to achieve tangible results on the ground in their communities.
“NRM groups have delivered real results, including protecting almost 1100 kilometres of riparian vegetation along priority waterways and restoring 6550 hectares of soil,” he said.
“Among the Reef programs supported is Paddock to Reef which monitors water quality flowing into the reef.
“Paddock monitoring involves observing 25 sites in 14 key catchments for sediment and nutrients and 15 sites in these same catchments for pesticides.
“This tests and tracks long-term trends in water quality entering the Great Barrier Reef lagoon from priority catchments.
“Among the groups involved in this is NQ Dry Tropics, which will be applying for a share of the $19.4 million.”
Chief executive officer Dr Scott Crawford said NQ Dry Tropics works by empowering communities, landholders and industry with the resources, knowledge and skills to improve the condition of the region’s landscapes and waterways.
“We believe that maintaining healthy landscapes and waterways is essential to supporting a vibrant regional economy, our tropical lifestyle and the well-being of our communities,” Dr Crawford said.
“The Reef is on our doorstep, it’s irreplaceable, and it’s our responsibility to drive change and improve on management practices to ensure the future of the Great Barrier Reef.
“NQ Dry Tropics will be working hard to ensure this funding delivers real benefits for our regional communities and our important natural assets, including the Great Barrier Reef.”
Dr Lynham said the end game was to ensure that, by 2020, the quality of water entering the Reef from broad scale land use had no detrimental impact on the Reef’s health and resilience.
“When everyone works together, we deliver important outcomes to protect and restore our natural assets including the reef and other ecosystems,” he said.
Applications are open until 29 April 2018 for NRM bodies.