Water quality projects stopping 50,000 tonnes of sediment polluting our Reef

The Great Barrier Reef Foundation has today announced a program to stop 50,000 tonnes of reef-destroying sediment at its source every year in the Fitzroy region.

Fitzroy Basin Association (FBA) are delivering the $19.5 million regional water quality improvement program over the next four years.

FBA Chief Executive Officer Elyse Riethmuller said the program would make intergenerational impact for the long-term health of the Great Barrier Reef.

“The livelihood of our hugely productive and diverse region, as well as the vitality of the Reef, depends upon the long-term health of the water flowing through the Fitzroy Basin,” Ms Riethmuller said.

“In the past two years, FBA have delivered projects which have reduced fine sediment by 30,000 tonnes. Our community and economy depend upon healthy water and it is FBA’s priority to apply evidence-based solutions that share reciprocal benefits for the long-term health of the Reef.”

This program will greatly reduce the volume of pollutants from the Lower Fitzroy and Mackenzie catchment entering the waters surrounding the Reef by promoting best practice land management techniques, remediating areas of streambank erosion and providing on ground advice and training.

Great Barrier Reef Foundation Managing Director Anna Marsden said poorer water quality caused by land-based runoff is a significant threat to the health of Australia’s irreplaceable ecosystem, the Great Barrier Reef. 

“By working with farmers and scientists we’re not only improving conditions for the Reef’s precious corals, we’re also saving endangered turtles and dugongs that feed on the region’s seagrass beds that need clean water to thrive,” Ms Marsden said.

“We need less sediment running into the Reef’s waters in large plumes which smother the corals and seagrass, preventing them from receiving the natural light they need to survive. 

“These projects are an important part of our ambitious plan to prevent 50,000 tonnes of fine sediment from polluting the Great Barrier Reef each year by 2030.”

The Fitzroy Water Quality Program is funded by the Great Barrier Reef Foundation’s partnership with the Australian Government’s Reef Trust.