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Inshore monitoring program paints a more accurate picture of waterway health near Carmila

Extensive monitoring of water quality, coral and seagrass in the southern inshore waters off Carmila will continue over the next three years, providing a more accurate representation of waterway health.

The Southern Inshore Monitoring Program has been renewed for a further three years, with Dalrymple Bay Coal Terminal Pty Ltd (DBCT P/L) and Dalrymple Bay Infrastructure (DBI) committing over $383,000 to jointly fund the program.

“I’m extremely proud of DBCT for funding such important research to make sure our Great Barrier Reef remains great for our generation and those to come,” Ricci Churchill, Manager of Safety, Risk and Environment, DBCT P/L.

Healthy Rivers to Reef is overseeing the delivering of the program, with researchers from JCU TropWATER, University of Queensland (UQ) and the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) contracted to undertake monitoring and data collection.

Inside a helicopter cockpit over the sea.

The southern inshore zone, which extends from Cape Palmerston down to the southern part of the Plane Basin at St Lawrence, was previously a major ecosystem data gap.

Since the program commenced in 2017, extensive water quality, coral and seagrass surveys have been conducted.

“The increase to southern inshore marine monitoring is a great example of how the industry can provide a leadership role through supporting the local partnerships to achieve their goals” Ms Churchill said.

A group of people next to a helicopter.

Coral and pesticides were reported on in this zone for the first time in the last Healthy Rivers to Reef Partnership (HR2RP) Report Card, and presented a baseline understanding of the condition in this area.

“The southern inshore zone was a data ‘black spot’ for the 2014-2017 Report Cards. Extensive monitoring and data collection through the  Southern Inshore Program has meant that we  can now report Water Quality and Coral scores in this region, with Seagrass scores to be reported in the 2021 report card (released next year),”

“It’s wonderful to be able to fill these data gaps and improve our understanding of the regions waterway and ecosystem health.” Dr. Bonny Stutsel, Executive Officer for the Mackay-Whitsunday-Isaac Healthy Rivers to Reef Partnership.

 For more information, please contact Melissa Nixon at Healthy Rivers to Reef Partnership on melissa.nixon@reefcatchments.com or 0418 888 969.

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