Sharing knowledge to protect the Reef

News release | 20-Jun-2018

Queensland government staff have held a joint workshop with marine scientists in Townsville to share knowledge and techniques for reducing nutrient and pesticide runoff into North Queensland waterways.

Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF) Regional coordinator for cane extension Terri Buono said better communication between extension officers from the Burdekin Cane Extension Group (BCEG), agricultural retailers, and marine scientists from the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) was essential if water quality in the Great Barrier Reef was to improve.

“The BCEG works closely with cane farmers to encourage greater adoption of sustainable and profitable farming practices,” Ms Buono said.

“The group meets several times a year to share its findings and skills, and runs activities for the sugar cane industry including farm field walks, field days and training of extension staff.”

AIMS Principal ecotoxicologist Dr Andrew Negri said the recent gathering was an opportunity for AIMS scientists to hear about on-the-ground initiatives to improve water quality.

“Our people in turn presented information on monitoring marine water quality, assessing the effects of pollutants and climate change, marine life, and assessing other threats to the health of the Great Barrier Reef,” Dr Negri said.

“AIMS spends a lot of effort measuring the effects of water quality on the health of the reef. Meetings such as this help us to tackle current issues so we can come up with solutions in partnership with the agriculture sector.”

The visit to AIMS was organised through the Queensland Government’s new Enhanced Extension program. The program aims to improve co-ordination, collaboration and communication across different producer and extension networks to increase adoption of agricultural land management practices leading to improved water quality.

For more information contact the DAF Customer Service Centre on 13 25 23.

Media contact: Isabel Bryce, 3330 4518