Great Barrier Reef Catchments
Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest World Heritage Area and a priceless natural wonder. It is the world’s largest coral ecosystem and holds more biological diversity than almost anywhere else on the planet. For Australians the Reef is a treasured icon that has provided livelihoods, recreation and spiritual fulfilment to many for thousands of years. The Great Barrier Reef ecosystem and its iconic wildlife such as the dugong and barramundi are however, at risk. While the Reef is still one of the world’s healthiest coral reef ecosystems, its resilience in the face of climate change is declining due to poor water quality from catchment runoff, coastal development and over-fishing. Decisions made in the next few years will determine its long term future.
Working in partnership for solutions
WetlandCare Australia is committed to working in partnership with landholders, local communities, regional natural resource management groups and others to improve water quality running off these catchments, restore natural aquatic ecosystem connectivity to the Reef and help ensure coastal developments better consider the social, economic and biological values that these ecosystems provide in improving the resilience of the Great Barrier Reef against climate change impacts.
WetlandCare Australia’s 2015 conservation goals for Great Barrier Reef Catchments:
- Improved capacity for 1,000 landholders in best practice aquatic ecosystem management in the Burdekin, Fitzroy and Mackay catchments
- Rehabilitation of 50,000ha of coastal aquatic ecosystems using best practice aquatic ecosystem management
- Incorporation of wetland ecosystem services into at least five major QLD coastal planning initiatives, particularly in relation to building the Great Barrier Reef’s resilience against climate change
- Effective implementation of the Reef Water Quality Protection Plan 2009 by industry leading to no net loss of natural wetlands or degradation in their condition in the Burdekin, Fitzroy and Mackay catchments
- Implementation of appropriate science into resilience action and climate change adaptation for all wetland rehabilitation projects in the Burdekin, Fitzroy and Mackay catchments
OUTCOME: Functioning aquatic ecosystems across Great Barrier Reef catchments improving resilience for the Reef by providing improved water quality, flood mitigation, connectivity and healthy habitat for all species including important fish nurseries for commercial and recreational opportunities.