Terrestrial pollutant runoff to the Great Barrier Reef: an update of issues, priorities and management responses

J. E. Brodie, F. J. Kroon, B. Schaffelke, E. C. Wolanski, S. E. Lewis, M. J. Devlin, I. C. Bohnet, Z. T. Bainbridge, J. Waterhouse, A. M. Davis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

319 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The Great Barrier Reef (GBR) is a World Heritage Area and contains extensive areas of coral reef, seagrass meadows and fisheries resources. From adjacent catchments, numerous rivers discharge pollutants from agricultural, urban, mining and industrial activity. Pollutant sources have been identified and include suspended sediment from erosion in cattle grazing areas; nitrate from fertiliser application on crop lands; and herbicides from various land uses. The fate and effects of these pollutants in the receiving marine environment are relatively well understood. The Australian and Queensland Governments responded to the concerns of pollution of the GBR from catchment runoff with a plan to address this issue in 2003 (Reef Plan; updated 2009), incentive-based voluntary management initiatives in 2007 (Reef Rescue) and a State regulatory approach in 2009, the Reef Protection Package. This paper reviews new research relevant to the catchment to GBR continuum and evaluates the appropriateness of current management responses.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)81-100
Number of pages20
JournalMarine Pollution Bulletin
Volume65
Issue number4-9
Early online date16 Jan 2012
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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