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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

    Palaszczuk Government-backed Great Barrier Reef research shows early promise

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

    Sunday, July 16, 2017

    Palaszczuk Government-backed Great Barrier Reef research shows early promise

    Queensland research on wetland restoration is showing early promise in the fight to protect the Great Barrier Reef from nutrient and sediment run off.

    Backed by the Palaszczuk Government with more than $250,000 in funding, Brisbane-based scientist Dr Fernanda Adame’s research is helping to understand the role of wetlands in Queensland to store nitrogen and carbon and safeguard the reef.

    Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy Leeanne Enoch said the Palaszczuk Government is committed to protecting the reef and the many thousands of jobs it supports.

    “The Great Barrier Reef is an incredibly important natural wonder and the Palaszczuk Government is investing $180,000 through an Advance Queensland Research Fellowship to support Dr Adame’s research,” Ms Enoch said.

    “This important work complements a raft of initiatives we are undertaking to improve the health and resilience of the reef.

    “Research like this is vital to improve our understanding of wetlands and how they function. It will be invaluable for targeting our restoration efforts to safeguard the Great Barrier Reef and the wetlands that both protect it and are integral to the broader reef ecosystem.”

    Dr Adame, from Griffith University’s Australian Rivers Institute, is developing a methodology for wetlands that helps determine the most cost-effective restoration projects based on ecological, economic and social factors.

    Preliminary results indicate wetlands can remove nitrogen from the water and that forested wetlands have higher carbon and nitrogen storage capacity compared to marshes.

    The project will provide a framework for the restoration of wetlands, which can play an important role in trapping and processing pollutants that threaten the health of the reef.

    Environment Minister Steven Miles said the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (EHP) is also partnering with Griffith University on the project.

    Mr Miles said EHP is providing $72,000 over three years for the project through the Queensland Wetlands Program and the Reef Water Quality Science Program.

    “We have partnered with Dr Adame, who spends two days a week working directly with EHP environmental managers and stakeholders, sharing information about wetlands and the reef,” Mr Miles said.

    “Her work will give us a better understanding of the role of wetlands in improving the health of the Great Barrier Reef and its catchments. Funding this research is vital in helping to protect Queensland’s iconic Great Barrier Reef.”

    Dr Adame said it is well-known that the increase in terrestrial-derived pollutants, especially nutrients derived from fertilisers, is one of the causes of the deterioration of the Great Barrier Reef, and that many wetlands play an important role in reducing the impacts of nutrient run-off.

    “What is not so well understood is how we can prioritise the conservation and restoration of wetlands that are the most efficient for reducing pollution runoff, so we can maximise the benefits of wetland restoration and minimise costs,” said Dr Adame.

    “This project is measuring the capacity of natural wetlands to retain nutrients and provide other ecosystem services such as carbon storage, and to identify the most cost-effective wetlands to restore.

    “Our initial results indicate that some wetlands are good at trapping runoff, while others provide benefits such as improved fisheries, meaning investment in wetlands should be prioritised on the basis of restoration goals."

    Advance Queensland is the Palaszczuk Government's $420 million whole-of-government initiative, which supports the development of new or improved products, processes or services to secure investment, launch into global markets and grow business.

    ENDS

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