The Great Barrier Reef• World heritage area• 2300 km along the Queensland coast• 2900 reefs plus seagrass meadows, mangroves and other habitats
ThreatsClimate change Shipping Coastal development Point source pollution Plus …
Diffuse source pollution from agriculture • Big catchment (½ million km2) • Highly variable climate • Flood events.
Background• 2008 Updated Scientific Consensus Statement on Reef water Quality• Indicates ongoing nutrient, sediment & pesticide impacts mainly from agriculture• Most coral loss due to dissolved inorganic nitrogen mainly from cane fertiliser• New threat from GHG emissions: ocean warming and acidification
Reef Water Quality Protection Plan• Joint initiative of the Queensland and Australian Governments• Focuses on diffuse source pollution• Provides the policy framework and a funding commitment.
Reef Plan goals and targets• Landholders adopt improved land management practices• Catchment targets: o No net loss of wetlands o Riparian extent and condition improved o Groundcover maintained.• Water quality load reduction targets No detrimental impact on Great Barrier Reef health and resilience.
Reef Plan Targets 80% of landholders Achieve a minimum of (sugarcane, horticulture, dairy,Management 50% dry season cotton and grains) adopted groundcover in the Dry Practices Tropics grazing lands improved soil, nutrient and chemical practices (cropping) 50% reduction in the Pollutant total nutrient and 20% reduction in sediment pesticide load at the Loads end of catchments by load at the end of catchments by 2020. 2013. Riparian / Condition and extent No net loss or of riparian areas will degradation of natural Wetlands have improved wetlands
Paddock to Reef ProgramObjectives: To measure and report on progress towards the Reef Plan goals and targets Use multiple lines of evidence Highly collaborative! Need to measure change in the short term.
Lines of EvidenceAdoption of Practice Water Quality EcosystemPractices Effectiveness Reductions Outcomes (Catchment monitoring (Marine monitoring Simulations and modelling) program) Land Use Sub- basin Basin Plot Bare Ground Index Paddock
‘Paddock to Reef’ approach Multiple lines of evidence and integration• Practice adoption monitoring• Mapping and remote sensing – Wetland extent – Riparian cover – Groundcover.• Monitoring and modelling – Paddock water quality – Sub catchment and end of the catchment water quality – Great Barrier Reef water quality and ecosystem health.
Ground Cover IndexMean Groundcover 1988-2006 Groundcover estimated state-wide each year using Landsat at 25m resolution where FPC is less than 20% –High Cover Michael Schmidt –Low Cover Peter Scarth –FPC > 20% Kerry Speller
Measuring sedimentexport from differentgrazing land pasture conditions
Management Effectiveness Information Rainfall Transpiration for Paddock-based Models Plant Evaporation growthPredict results for different: – Climatic regions Runoff – Soils Sediment Soil water Nutrients – Land uses (grazing, cropping) store – Management practices (ABCD) Drainage
Catchment modelling Forecast and manage stream water quantity, quality & the effects of catchments on streams
Acknowledgements• Queensland Government agencies• Australian Government agencies• Regional NRM bodies• Industry groups• Research and development organisations • University of Maryland • CSIRO • AIMS / JCU / UQ. … AND MANY MORE …