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This National Science Week, scientists at the Mackay-Whitsunday Healthy Rivers to Reef Partnership are busy scoring 12 months of data on baby coral, water pollution and other indicators of waterway health for their annual Report Card, due to be released in October.

We rely on a healthy environment to provide the services essential to a healthy life, including clean water and safe food. Science provides us with the tools to do the health checks on the environment, like the annual report card which gives a score from A to E for offshore, inshore, freshwater and estuaries in the Mackay-Whitsunday region.

Judith Wake, Senior Lecturer in Applied and Environmental Sciences at Central Queensland University said “A team of very experienced independent scientific experts ensures the results in the report card are scientifically valid and environmentally relevant.”

Independent members of the community provide data which is collated and analysed by The Partnership and checked by experts through a Technical Working Group and an Independent Science Panel to ensure the scores accurately reflect the health of our catchments, waterways and marine waters leading into the Great Barrier Reef.

Other measurements of water quality include pesticides, sediment and farm nutrient inputs. We compare this data to guidelines specific to the Mackay Whitsunday or Central Queensland region to determine a score.

Di Tarte, Chair of the Mackay Whitsunday Partnership said, “We plan to bring forward the release date of the report card forward, closer to real time analysis.”

National Science Week is Australia’s annual celebration of science and technology. It provides an opportunity to acknowledge the contributions of Australian scientists’ to the world of knowledge. It also aims to encourage an interest in science pursuits among the general public, and to encourage younger people to become fascinated by the world we live in.

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