Researchers make ground in preserving Great Barrier Reef

By Nikki Addison

Researchers make ground in preserving Great Barrier Reef
Environmental researchers have found a way to reduce sediment smothering the Great Barrier Reef.

A team of researchers from Griffith University, Gold Coast have discovered new techniques that will help protect the Great Barrier Reef from extreme sediment coverage. Approximately 900,000 truckloads of dirt end up on the reef every year, choking corals and blanketing precious ecosystems from the sun.

Senior research fellow Andrew Brooks and his team have identified ways to reduce the sources causing sediment to reach the reef. By studying the path of sediment flow from the Normanby catchment in far north Queensland, Brooks and his team determined that the majority of dirt came from stream banks and gullies, as opposed to cleared slopes. A significant 40% of dirt reaching the Normanby was from gullies, typically caused by changes in land-use such as stock grazing.

As a result of the research, the Queensland government is able to refocus the $60 million funding allocated for improving reef water quality to target issues of rehabilitation, revegetation and de-stocking.

Brooks highlighted the necessity of improving water quality in order to preserve the Great Barrier Reef. “If we can improve that one, the reefs have a better chance of bouncing back,” he told the Sydney Morning Herald. The findings of Brooks and his team earned them the 2017 Australian Museum Eureka Prize for environmental research.

 

 

 

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