Reef Water Quality Science Program
This program aims to help producers better manage cane growing and grazing lands in the Wet Tropics, Burdekin Dry Tropics, Mackay-Whitsunday and Fitzroy Basin catchments, and minimise their impacts upon the health of the Great Barrier Reef.
Significant funding allocated to the Reef Water Quality Science Program (RWQSP) is being directed to research, extension and monitoring.
In the first phase of the Reef Water Quality Science Program, commencing in 2009, we reviewed the science framework and research priorities underpinning the science program with input from industry, scientific experts, NRM groups and other stakeholders.
This aimed to ensure that decisions and advice for land managers are based on strong, defensible evidence, that tools and support can be provided to land managers, and, that the findings are available to support and extend other reef science agendas. $8.9 million has been invested in the first five-year phase of the Reef Water Quality Science Program, delivering approximately 40 projects that have strong relevance to farm extension, giving producers more information, reassurance and tools to assess their current management against best practice.
Successful projects underwent external peer review which highlighted that most projects had scientific merit and priority was given to projects influencing outcomes for cane and grazing systems and addressing key gaps in Reef Plan (including Paddock to Reef) science.
In 2015, under phase 2 of the program, we released the Reef Water Quality Research, Development and Innovation Strategy 2014–15 to 2018–19 (PDF, 1.4MB) which describes our research and investment priorities to improve the quality of water entering the Great Barrier Reef from agricultural land use.
In particular this strategy identifies key research gaps and aims to bridge these by generating vital evidence about nutrient, pesticide and erosion management to help primary producers and extension providers to put in place practice improvement actions.