The Great Barrier Reef is one of

the seven wonders of the world and follows Queensland’s coastline for 2300km. The Reef is home to whales, dugongs, marine turtles and more than 1600 species of fish. It is also one of Australia’s biggest tourist attractions brining in billions of dollars every year. Climate change, poor water quality and sediment/ fertiliser run off into our water ways is killing our reef and we need to take action to fix this problem before it is to late.

Did you know 10% of the world’s total fish species can be found just
within the Great Barrier Reef? The Great Barrier Reef attracts over 2,000,000 visitors each year and is thought to be as much as 20,000,000 years old. The Great Barrier Reef is greater in size than Tasmania and Victoria combined…. the size of 70 million football fields!! Extensive aerial surveys and dives have revealed that 93 percent of the world's largest reef has been devastated by coral bleaching.

Climate
change poses the biggest threat to the Reef. Climate change is affecting reefs globally through warming of the oceans and coral bleaching. Research has shown though, that if we take serious action on climate change, there is hope. Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, who is working on the problem, sums it up. "The Great Barrier Reef is still great, but it’s facing some challenges that we need to deal with. The Reef is still here, we can save it."

Improving
water quality in the Great Barrier Reef lagoon is one of the main ways we have been increasing its resilience to climate change impacts. There are a number of issues with fertiliser run-off which from nearby farming land impacts on water quality and crown-of-thorns starfish is one of them. It eats coral and is a major threat to the Reef. Its numbers have increased significantly over the years because they feed on the algae that are encouraged by nutrients from fertiliser run-off. So the government has been working with farmers along waterways in Great Barrier Reef catchments to reduce the amount of fertiliser run-off reaching the Reef.

Erosion
in Great Barrier Reef catchments didn’t happen overnight and it’s a bigger problem than each farmer can address on their own. So there are a number of programs in place to bring together scientists and graziers to come up with solutions. Many graziers are taking part in the Grazing Best Management Practice program across Reef catchments. The Grazing BMP is a voluntary, industry-led process which helps graziers identify practices to improve long-term profitability. It also allows the grazing industry to showcase good environmental management to the wider community. In addition to the Grazing BMP, there are many other projects. One of them, NQ Dry Tropics, has brought together graziers to combine their knowledge with the knowledge of scientists and government to help devise an action plan for the Burdekin. Find out more about the Major Integrated Project - Landholders Driving Change Project.

If
we as proud Australians don’t come together and make a change within the next 5-10 years the Great Barrier Reef, one of the seven wonders of the world will be completely gone by 2050. This would be devastating and world be felt all around the world. We can help by changing the chemical runoff, climate change and pollution into our water ways.

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