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    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy and Minister for Small Business
    The Honourable Leeanne Enoch

    Wetland monitoring plays vital role in protecting the Reef

    Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy and Minister for Small Business
    The Honourable Leeanne Enoch

    Sunday, July 02, 2017

    Wetland monitoring plays vital role in protecting the Reef

    For the first time in Queensland, the condition of natural freshwater wetlands will be reported on through a major monitoring program spanning the length and breadth of the Great Barrier Reef catchment.

    The expanded monitoring program is tracking progress towards one of the important targets of the Reef 2050 Plan.

    Science Minister Leeanne Enoch said today (Sunday) the Department of Science, Information Technology and Innovation’s (DSITI) Wetland Science team is monitoring natural freshwater wetlands under the Paddock to Reef Integrated Monitoring, Modelling and Reporting Program.

    Ms Enoch said data has for the first time been collected on the pressures on - and state of - Queensland’s wetland ecosystems.

    She said this included information on ecological processes and environmental values across the whole Great Barrier Reef catchment - from Cape York to the Burnett Mary region.

    “It is vital to understand what is happening with wetlands if the loss and damage since European settlement is to be addressed,” Ms Enoch said.

    “Wetlands are highly productive ecosystems with functions that are important for people and for the environment.

    “They also have a vital role to play in improving water quality and the health of the Great Barrier Reef and its lagoons.

    “With this monitoring program, we now have an opportunity to gain a better understanding of the pressures on and condition of natural freshwater wetlands within reef catchments.”

    A pilot study carried out in 2014 created the foundations of the program, which was partially implemented in 2015 and expanded to include all reef catchments this year.

    The expanded program is funded through the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection’s Queensland Reef Water Quality Program, which has allocated a further $1.05 million over four years after the Great Barrier Reef Water Science Taskforce recommended enhanced catchment monitoring. 

    It is boosting existing funding provided by DSITI and the Department of Natural Resources and Mines.

    Minister for the Great Barrier Reef Steven Miles said improving the condition of natural freshwater wetlands is an important target in the Reef 2050 Plan.

    “Wetlands provide a vital connection between freshwater areas and the marine environment. They are nature’s water filter, and help to improve the quality of water flowing to the reef, while also providing carbon storage,” Mr Miles said.

    “This is why it is particularly important that we track the long-term condition of wetlands in reef catchments and why this monitoring will now be included in the Great Barrier Reef Report Card.”

    The project will report on the state of environmental values of natural wetlands every four years. The first report on the condition of wetlands in the reef catchments will be released as part of the annual Great Barrier Reef Report Card.

    ENDS

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