#Water Quality Improvement

The Reef Trust Partnership Water Quality component has two open calls specific to the Mackay-Whitsunday and Fitzroy regions open now.

Expression of Interest

Expression of Interest

to identify potential delivery partners

Request for Proposal

Request for Proposal

for professional services related to program management and partnership coordination

Watch the webinar

Reef Water Quality regional programs Mackay-Whitsunday and Fitzroy


​The Alluvium report excludes Imidacloprid from its Pesticide Solution Statements. Does this mean activities related to Imidacloprid are ineligible under the EOI?

The Alluvium report does not determine what is eligible or not. Imidacloprid is included in the water quality risk frameworks and recognised by Reef Plan as a pesticide of concern. Therefore, GBRF will consider applications with activities targeting Imidacloprid management.

For information in relation estimating cost-effectiveness the guidelines state:

“Applicants should present their estimates of cost-effectiveness based on:

Estimates of cost-effectiveness as per the Solution Statements included as appendices to the report prepared by Alluvium Consulting (available here)

Using the P2R projector tool, or

Another method identified by the applicant, in which case details on the scientific basis, data used and supporting calculations and analysis are to be provided.”

If a project / program submission would operate across three catchment regions (Mackay- Whitsundays, Dry Tropics & Wet Tropics) will it be ineligible for consideration?

Submissions should focus on the work to be undertaken in the Mackay-Whitsunday (or Fitzroy) region, as a standalone activity, and will be assessed primarily on that basis.

Will the submission have to be divided off with only the Mackay-Whitsundays area being applied for now and separate submissions for the northern two regions developed with the future funding rounds for those regions?

Yes, the proposal will need to be specific for the open calls for the Mackay-Whitsunday and Fitzroy Regions. A submission may identify a proponent's interest in applying the approach in other regions, and the opportunities and benefits (such as synergies/cost savings) that would apply if the approach were to be adopted elsewhere. However, the proposal will need to describe the project methodology, cost, and outcomes related to the regions the subject of this current call, on the assumption that the project proceeds on a standalone basis.

As a grower, how can I present an organic sugar cane system into this program?

GBRF would be seeking measures of cost-effectiveness of the approach in reducing water quality priority pollutants. In particular, the proponent would need to explain

The proposed method

The area that would be impacted

Number of farms that would be involved

How the farm practices would change compared to a baseline (for example conventional farming), making explicit reference to practices that are relevant to water quality in the Paddock to Reef Water Quality Risk frameworks but not necessarily limited to these

The estimated water quality outcomes of the activity compared to the current baseline. For example, the loads at the end of farm based on the current system and the estimated loads based on the organic system.

The EOI mentions the tools that can be used to estimate cost-effectiveness under assessment criteria 1.

Note that there is a minimum project size of $500,000. Therefore, single growers seeking funding would require grouping multiple proposals in a single EOI and for this to be put forward by a lead entity.

Are the load targets per year or total over the life of the projects?

The load targets would be achieved by the end of the project and maintained every year thereafter. Please also note that they refer to end-of-catchment load reductions, not end-of-farm or paddock-load reductions.

In the Paddock to Reef catchment modelling, the load reductions that come about as a result of changing practices through a project are assumed to be maintained every year thereafter. GBRF is looking for projects that trigger management practice changes that are likely to be sustained so that this assumption remains true.

Have you got a breakdown of the target load reductions between insecticide and herbicides?

No. Setting targets for pesticides is more complex that for sediment and Nitrogen because the risk associated with pesticides involves not only the concentration but also the choice of products and different toxicity associated with each of them. Proposals that relate to pesticides would benefit from not focusing overly on the load and targets, as other factors will be considered in assessing the effectiveness and impact of these methods in improving water quality.

Note that the P2R water quality risk frameworks provide an indication of management practices that are relevant to pesticides and their relative importance to water quality in the model.

Will there be any mention or reference to the Mercury Shirtan pollution?

No. Mercury is not one of the priority pollutants that is targeted, and it is out of scope.

How should a proposal deal with the uncertainty regarding project costs where a full design has not been developed, given the importance being given to cost-effectiveness? Would GBRF accept conceptual ideas to be further costed as part of the design proce

GBRF acknowledges that it can be a challenge to fully determine costs at this stage in the process, particularly for some projects. However, GBRF is still looking for an estimate of the costs, even if there are uncertainties about the specific design. An option is to provide the costing at different scales if the proponent is unsure of the scale or complexity of the project at this early stage. There will be an opportunity to provide a detailed quote at a later phase when projects are selected, and the full design has been done.

Can an organisation be both a regional program manager as well as a delivery provider?

Yes. If a proponent intends to propose for both roles, they need to make explicit how it intends to manage the conflict of interest that will exist if they are, for example, both leading the design and delivering in that design. More broadly, the proponent will need to demonstrate how they will meet all the objectives of the governance arrangements as described in the Request for Proposals.

Will GBRF consider EOIs for proposals with innovation elements, including where there is a lack of data to prove their benefit to water quality.

This EOI will focus on strategies and activities that have been tried and are known to work. Likewise, the focus is to address practices that have high confidence in improving water quality.

There will be a separate innovation round that will have greater acceptance of practices with higher risk or which are experimental. The innovation funding will run across all Reef catchments and is planned to be released this year.

GBRF will seek integration between trying innovative practices and implementing known best practices through the Regional Programs’ design. The design phase of the Regional Programs is set to take place in early 2020. By this stage, GBRF aims to have a shortlist of innovation concepts. This timing will provide an opportunity for identifying potential synergies and create linkages between the regional programs and the innovation components.

Would RFP consider a project that focused on sustaining outcomes from projects that might be supported by GBRF rather than being a technical project itself?

Yes. GBRF recognises there is a need for infrastructure to support programs that enhance effectiveness and support longevity and sustainability of outcomes. GBRF realises it can be challenging to calculate cost-effectiveness when the project does not have direct outcomes. We would recommend that the proponent set out the methodology and what it would be expected to achieve in terms of water quality benefits compared to the situation where the project was not undertaken.

For example, the proponent could demonstrate the rate of dis-adoption of particular farming practices and explain how this project would prevent or reduce dis-adoption (and the extent of that change) and how this would improve the long-term water quality outcomes.

Can an organisation that has the relevant governance systems and methodology and experience in place, but has not yet identified the individuals who would lead the work, apply for the Program Manager role?

The organisation can still apply for the role, however, one of the assessment criteria will relate to the key personnel, as this is an important success factor. Therefore, a proposal that did not nominate the key personnel would be at a significant disadvantage.

What risk will be carried by the regional program manager and regional partnership coordinator if a delivery provider does not meet its milestones? Will there be separate legal arrangements in place between the delivery providers and the project manager?

Delivery partners will be contracted directly by GBRF and will be accountable to GBRF to meeting their contractual obligations.

The program managers and partnership coordinators will be contracted by GBRF to undertake the scope of work set out in the request for proposals. These entities will be responsible for performing those roles to a high standard and thus doing all they can to assist GBRF in setting up a program that will result in success. This will include managing the design, providing oversight, assisting delivery providers in implementing their projects, being proactive and timely in monitoring progress, identifying risks, advising the GBRF of the progress and if there are any issues.

There will not be a direct legal agreement in place between the program manager and the delivery providers.

Do the “catchments” include the ocean or bay areas, or only land? Would there be opportunities to intercept the pollutants once they leave rivers and are heading towards the reef? If not this round, would this be in the scope of the innovation round?

The Regional Programs are calling for proposals that reduce the source of the pollutants in the catchment and lead to a sustained, improved water quality based on activities that are known to work. Activities designed to reduce pollutants once they have left the catchment and are in the ocean are out of the scope of this EOI.

The criteria related to the innovation grant round will be released in due course.

What proportion of a project can be funded? Is the reef foundation looking for matched funding or additional investment from delivery providers? Is there a minimum amount or % of co-contributions that needs to be provided?

No. There is no mandatory requirement for co-contributions related to the EOI or RFP.

GBRF welcomes co-investment, either as in-kind or as co-investment. Ultimately projects will be assessed based on their cost-effectiveness, primarily related to the cost to GBRF. However, where there is funding from other donors, it will be important for the proposal to identify the additionality that the investment is providing to the co-funded project.

Can delivery providers be involved in the planning process/design even if their proposal has not met the minimum requirements?

Yes, they can still be involved. Being unsuccessful in the EOI process also does not preclude any proponent for participating in the regional program design or in future grant rounds.

The successful program manager may be in competition with some of the delivery providers. How will this "conflict" be managed?

GBRF is mindful of the possibility for conflicts of interest, given that the Reef working space is a relatively small and crowded community. All contracted parties will be required to complete declarations regarding conflicts of interest. Specific issues will be addressed on a case by case basis.

How can I access the Paddock to Reef Projector tool?

Useful information on the P2R Projector can be found here. Please contact Adam Northey (adam.northey@daf.qld.gov.au) who will be able to organise access to the P2R Projector for you and/or your organisation.

Will the expert panel go through a similar EOI process or is it something that the GBRF will coordinate? 

The Great Barrier Reef Foundation is still working out the role, proposed composition, and the process for appointing members to the expert panel.

There appears to be some confusion as to the boundaries pertaining to the Pioneer Basin and the Plane Creek Basin

The map provided includes the correct boundaries for both basins so please provide more details as to what is causing confusion. 

Attachment A in the Alluvium Report specifies Management Actions/catchment. Do we assume that if a management action is listed as “N” for a specific catchment that funding will not be provided for projects that fall into this category?

The Alluvium report does not determine what is eligible or not. Therefore, GBRF will consider applications with activities targeting pesticides and Nitrogen in the Pioneer Basin.

The Innovation and Systems Change funding has four main priority areas. Are these equally weighted and do all priority areas need to be covered for funding or can they be stand alone or a combination of some?

There is no weighting associated to the four thematic areas. The Innovation Program gives flexibility to submit proposals that are focused on one or a combination of thematic areas.