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    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy and Minister for Small Business
    The Honourable Leeanne Enoch

    Fifty wetlands assessed under Qld-first research project

    Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy and Minister for Small Business
    The Honourable Leeanne Enoch

    Saturday, July 15, 2017

    Fifty wetlands assessed under Qld-first research project

    Half of the state’s wetlands selected to be part of a major Queensland-first research project to protect the Great Barrier Reef have been assessed, Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy Leeanne Enoch said today (Saturday).

    Ms Enoch said scientists from the Department of Science, Information Technology and Innovation (DSITI) wetland science team have assessed 50 of 100 reef catchment wetlands selected for the study through to 2018.

    She said the sites are in the Central Queensland (19), Cape York (10), Far North Queensland (5), North Queensland (6) and Wide Bay Burnett (10) regions.

    “These wetlands are representative sample of the natural freshwater wetlands in the Great Barrier Reef catchments,” Ms Enoch said.

    “The assessments are vital in helping us understand the pressures on natural freshwater wetlands within the catchments and by association the health of the Great Barrier Reef.

    “Wetlands are vital for the protection of the Great Barrier Reef as they reduce the impact of sediment run-off from our river and creek systems.

    “Wetlands are also intrinsically invaluable in their own right, recharging ground water, providing important habitat for a diversity of wildlife, including commercially important species of fish.

    “Gaining an understanding of what’s going on is important. And we couldn’t have accomplished this without the support of landholders in the catchment areas who provided our scientists with access to their private properties to assess wetland condition.”

    Ms Enoch said the study was being undertaken as part of the Paddock to Reef Integrated Monitoring, Modelling and Reporting Program.

    The wetlands assessment program is tracking progress towards one of the important targets of the Reef 2050 Plan.

    It is being delivered in partnership with Regional Natural Resource Management Bodies who had facilitated the scientific team’s engagement with landholders as part of the Reef catchments-wide project.

    The program will receive more than $3.5 million in government funding over eight years from 2013 to 2021.

    DSITI Principal Environmental Scientist Maria Vandergragt said DSITI was grateful for the help of landholders from across the region, who had facilitated access to wetlands on their properties and provided additional information to the scientific team.

    “Landholders from the Normanby catchment to the Burnett-Mary and inland areas of the Fitzroy, Burdekin and Burnett catchments are supporting the study,” Ms Vandergragt said.

    “Wetland monitoring and assessment programs are a critical tool in managing and protecting wetland resources.

    “They provide us with a baseline of the Great Barrier Reef catchment wetlands’ conditions and processes from which we can detect positive and negative trends over time.

    “The baseline report on wetland condition and pressures is planned for release in September this year. This will be the first time we have been able to report on wetland condition at such a scale in the reef catchments and Queensland as a whole.”

    For more information about the wetland condition assessments, visit the Reef Plan website www.reefplan.qld.gov.au

    ENDS

    MEDIA 0412 393 909