Stopping sediment – how land managers are helping to improve the health of the Great Barrier Reef

A $19.6 million investment under the Reef Trust Partnership aims to stop 50,000 tonnes of fine sediment from the Fitzroy River basin entering the Reef’s waters every year. The program is coordinated by Fitzroy Basin Association (FBA) and delivered by Catchment Solutions, FBA, Greening Australia and Verterra.

The Fitzroy region is one of the most productive areas of Australia with more cattle than anywhere else in the country (3 million head) and 141 operating mines. The region has the most variable climate in the world and some 20,000km of waterways, forming the largest catchment draining into the iconic Great Barrier Reef.

With so much happening in the catchment, the Great Barrier Reef Foundation’s Fitzroy Water Quality Program aims to improve the health of the Reef by focusing on improving the health of the land.

FBA’s Chief Executive Officer, Elyse Riethmuller explains, when sediment laden water flows from the land to the Great Barrier Reef it can negatively impact the reef ecosystem.

“Excess sediment in the ocean causes algae to grow faster which clouds and darkens the water and smothers coral; affecting its reproductive and growth capabilities, said Ms Riethmuller.

To illustrate the impact that catchment actions have on the Reef, a 60-second animation has been created. Featuring Farmer Bob, the animation outlines how best management practices are providing the best outcomes for the Reef and land managers productivity and profitability.

Watch the animation now

The program supports a series of on-ground projects focussed on improving landscape function through remediation of degraded land, including gullies and streambanks and improving land management, particularly of grazing and cropping lands. Focusing on reducing the volume of pollutants from the Lower Fitzroy and Mackenzie catchments the program promotes best practice land management techniques, and providing on ground advice and training.

The Fitzroy Water Quality Program is funded by the partnership between the Australian Government’s Reef Trust and the Great Barrier Reef Foundation with support from Fitzroy Basin Association, Catchment Solutions, Greening Australia and Verterra.

To learn more about this project contact us.