The Great Barrier Reef Foundation is inviting ideas from farmers and organisations in the Townsville region to reduce the amount of pollutants from the Lower Herbert and Lower Burdekin catchments entering the waters surrounding the Reef.
Great Barrier Reef Foundation Project Director Dr Cedric Robillot said the Reef is the largest living structure on Earth and a unique ecosystem which is home to thousands of species of marine life, including fish, whales, dolphins, and six of the world’s seven species of marine turtle.
“We should be proud that it’s our responsibility to look after our irreplaceable Reef, but it is coming under increasing pressure from a growing combination of manmade and natural threats, including poorer water quality from sediment run-off and pollution,” Dr Robillot said.
“We’re inviting cost-effective solutions such as agriculture practice change and landscape remediation to substantially reduce the amount of pollutants from these priority catchments which affect the quality of water on the Reef.
“Farmers and organisations in the Townsville region will have access to over $36 million through the partnership between the Australian Government’s Reef Trust and the Great Barrier Reef Foundation to tackle water quality in these priority catchments, with over $16 million available for the Lower Herbert catchment and over $20 million available for the Lower Burdekin catchment.
“This is the second tranche of funding available through the $141 million regionally focused water quality improvement program as part of the Reef Trust Partnership, with the next round opening early next year.
“Prioritisation of the funding across the Reef catchments has been informed by a detailed technical assessment to identify how funds can be invested in the most cost-effective way, and consistent with the Reef 2050 Water Quality Improvement Plan.
“In addition to these regional programs, $10 million in grants has been allocated to innovative new approaches to improving water quality. The grants are open to all Reef catchments and applications are currently being accepted.
“These programs build on the over $19 million invested through the Reef Trust Partnership earlier this year into 11 projects that have a track record of improving water quality on the Great Barrier Reef.
“These projects include agronomic solutions provider Farmacist’s Project Bluewater that is on track to reduce pesticides in the Plane Creek and Lower Burdekin catchments by 6,000 kilograms next year.
“Greening Australia’s Gully remediation project at Strathalbyn station is also on track to reduce the amount of sediment discharging to the Great Barrier Reef lagoon through the Lower Burdekin catchment by 3,200 tonnes a year.”
The Water Quality Improvement program is funded by the partnership between the Australian Government’s Reef Trust and the Great Barrier Reef Foundation.
Expressions of Interest are now open for the Lower Herbert, Lower Burdekin and Mary catchments and will close on Wednesday 26th February 2020, with an information session for potential delivery providers to be held on Wednesday 29th January 2020.
A separate request for proposal has also been issued for professional services related to program management and partnership coordination for these regional programs. More information is available here.