A new report released yesterday shows that the Great Barrier Reef is in dire need of help - and it’s more urgent than previously thought.
The report, released by the Queensland Premier, Anna Bligh, shows that the water quality around the reef is not improving. The report 2007 Water Quality Report for the Great Barrier Reef was the first in a regular series of reports on the health of the Great Barrier Reef - the largest natural feature on earth.
The water quality around the reef has been deteriorating over the last 150 years due to sediment run off from the mainland. This sediment is mainly caused by activities such as agriculture, grazing, tourism, mining and urban development.
Monitoring at the end of rivers, in priority catchments, has revealed that approximately:
End of river monitoring in priority catchments shows an estimated:
- 6.6 million tonnes of sediment is discharged in the reef lagoon – four times higher than estimated pre-European settlement levels;
- 16,600 tonnes of nitrogen – five times higher than estimated pre-European settlement levels; and
- 4,180 tonnes of phosphorous – four times higher than estimated pre-European settlement levels.
When announcing the report, Ms Bligh said:
Our Great Barrier Reef is one of the natural wonders of the world,
It fringes our north east Australian coast for approximately 2,000 kilometres, covers 348,000 square kilometres and has more than 3,200 coral reefs with a stunning array of marine habitats and species.
Ms Bligh says that both she and Peter Garrett (the Australian Environment Minister) agree that more needs to be done to protect the reef. Ms Bligh says that they will be updating the existing plan to “give it more grunt”.
I wonder if this means that the government will place more funding than the current $200 million it has allocated to “Reef Rescue”?