For decades Queensland’s sugar cane farmers have been throwing money into the creeks and rivers that flow past their properties. That’s the money spent on excess fertiliser that runs off during heavy rain and makes its way to the ocean. It’s estimated that three quarters of nitrogen fertiliser put on cane farms leaches from the soil within a few months of application.
When nitrogen and phosphorus fertiliser enters rivers and ends up in the Reef, it upsets the natural balance of the marine environment. Algae love nitrogen and phosphorus. In a high nutrient environment algae can then become so numerous that the sunlight that normally reaches the sea floor can no longer do so. That means seagrass and other light dependent bottom-dwelling organisms have trouble growing and reproducing. Crown of Thorns starfish that destroy hard corals also love nitrogen and that’s one of the reasons they are in such large numbers on the Reef at present.Read more
The latest Mackay-Whitsunday Waterway Health report card continues to highlight the region’s poor water quality despite years of effort and millions of dollars to clean it up. Regulations will be required to improve water quality and protect the Great Barrier Reef.
The Mackay Whitsunday Healthy Rivers to Reef Partnership which includes members from 22 organisations representing the community, industry, research groups and government has recently released their waterway health report card for the 2014 – 15 year for our region. You can download a copy of the 2015 Report Card hereRead more
The Great Barrier Reef is being threatened from many fronts. Climate change, ocean acidification, coral bleaching, disease outbreaks, extreme weather, shipping, ghost nets, rubbish and introduced species are all stressing the reef. The reef is also being stressed by large quantities of nutrients and sediments flowing into its waters from coastal streams.
The Healthy Rivers to Reef Partnership has been formed to identify water quality problems in rivers from Bowen to Hay Point. The partnership aims to ensure that rivers and streams are properly managed to reduce the flow of pollutants into the reef.
On Wednesday 6 July at 6pm we will be hosting an information session about the partnership to introduce the partnership and the most recent report card on our waterways. Di Tarte and Charlie Morgan will explain how the report card has been developed and how the project will proceed in the future.
If you are concerned about the health of the reef and our waterways, please come along to this meeting.
6pm - 7pm Wednesday 6 July 2016
Mackay Environment Centre, 156 Wood St Mackay