Wetland Care Australia - Current Projects
Reef Rescue: Wetlands of the Burdekin Dry Tropics Region
Reef Rescue is $200 million five-year, Australian Government initiative to improve water quality in the Great Barrier Reef. The goal of the Reef Rescue program is to improve the quality of runoff entering the Great Barrier Reef lagoon. It aims to do this by increasing the adoption of land management practices that reduce the runoff of nutrients, pesticides and sediments from agricultural land.
WetlandCare Australia in partnership with North Queensland Dry Tropics are working together to deliver the wetlands component of Reef Rescue by providing technical support and financial incentives to land managers to improve the health of wetlands draining from intensive agricultural land. The Wetlands program will be delivered through an integrated approach which includes the development of wetlands management plans, the payment of incentives directly to land managers to undertake wetlands-sensitive land management practices, and securing long-term management through maintenance agreements. Round 1 of the Reef Rescue wetland program is focussed on coastal wetlands draining the intensive agricultural areas of the Burdekin-Bowen coastal plain in the following priority areas:
- the Burdekin delta; and
- wetlands draining intensive agriculture in the Don River, Elliot River and Molongle Creek areas.
Funding is available to rehabilitate wetlands which improve water quality reaching the Great Barrier Reef inshore lagoon. This involves activities that keep a wetland healthy and functional, for instance:
- managing aquatic and riparian weeds, and ponded-pastures;
- revegetation with native species;
- removal of weed chokes in wetlands to restore habitat;
- increasing the habitat values of recycle pits.
The focus of these management practices is on retaining and/or restoring healthy ecological conditions which, in turn, provides significant water quality improvement.
Delivery of the grants scheme in the lower Burdekin is a partnership between industry, WetlandCare Australia, Burdekin Shire Council, Wetland Alliance and North Queensland Dry Tropics.