A number of projects are underway to fill current data gaps or to expand on existing programs:
- A project has been completed to develop appropriate indicators and methodology to report freshwater flows in our freshwater basins and estuaries, in collaboration with the Wet Tropics Healthy Waterways Partnership. This will allow the flow indicator, reported in the habitat and hydrology index, to be reported in the next report card for the first time in the 2018 report card.
- The Partnership established a new annual monitoring program for water quality, seagrass and coral in the southern marine inshore zone in September 2017.
- Water quality data from this monitoring program will contribute to the first scores for the southern marine zone in the 2018 report card.
- Coral survey data will contribute to scores in the southern marine inshore zone in the 2019 report card.
- Seagrass survey data will contribute to scores in the southern marine inshore zone in the 2022 report card.
- Additional end of system water quality monitoring sites at the Don River, Proserpine River, O’Connell River and Plane Creek have been established since December 2016 as part of the expansion of the DSITI Great Barrier Reef Catchment Loads Monitoring Program.
- Water quality data has been reported for the first time in the Don basin and pesticide data in the Proserpine basins in the 2017 report card.
- Data from the new O’Connell River and Plane Creek sites will improve our understanding of water quality in the O’Connell and Plane basins. Thus, there will be improved confidence in water quality results in these basin.
- Funding has been secured over five-years through the Queensland Government’s Reef Water Quality Program to support monitoring for the Mackay Whitsunday and Wet Tropics regional report cards. This will ensure that the existing estuarine and freshwater water quality monitoring is maintained and where possible expanded, and that freshwater fish assessments are continued in future report cards.
- Additional pesticide monitoring in estuaries is being undertaken in the 2018/19 wet season. This will mean pesticide scores in estuaries will be based on 18 wet season samples in the 2019 report card (currently scores are based on just 4 wet season samples). This will improve confidence in estuary reporting.
- Where possible, the Partnership is working with relevant citizen science organisations and initiatives to include relevant datasets in future report cards. For more information about citizen science organisations in the GBR Region click here.
- The Partnership is working within a number of the Reef 2050 Integrated Monitoring and Modelling Reporting Program’s (RIMMReP) working groups, including the Human Dimensions group, to develop suitable indicators/monitoring programs that can be used in future report cards. The Human Dimensions group covers social, economic, governance and cultural heritage components of the Reef 2050 Plan. Here is more information on the RIMMReP.
- Future report cards will likely utilise a series of updated stewardship frameworks to assess our non-agricultural industries in the Region. An independent review of the current frameworks utilised for the 2014-2017 report cards was undertaken in 2017. The results of this review will be used to refine and improve the stewardship assessment frameworks utilised for future report cards.