The ocean and the paddock are more connected than you might think.
When erosion occurs on hill slopes, gullies and stream banks, soil and nutrients run-off the paddock and into local waterways.
Though most soil particles and nutrients drop out at the river mouth - some fine particles or ‘sediment’ continues its journey to the ocean and the Great Barrier Reef.
Nutrients on the sediment feed bacteria, fungi and plankton. These attach to fine particles and form flocs that act as murky ‘clouds’ - blocking essential sunlight from seagrass and coral.
After a few weeks, flocs smother the coral and the bacteria that feed off flocs bloom, which the coral cannot remove.
Eventually, the coral becomes stressed and can die.
High winds and tides can resuspend and move flocs. They will continue to block out light to coral and seagrass.
Some flocs break down and disperse over a year and are carried into deeper areas where they are no longer resuspended. Other flocs, carried into coastal areas by onshore winds and tidal currents, end up as mud in mangroves and estuaries.
By improving land condition, maintaining ground cover and reducing erosion you can help to improve the quality of water in local waterways and help restore the Great Barrier Reef lagoon.