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Water quality monitoring

Scientists are monitoring waterways up and down the Queensland coast to give the Reef the best chance.

The Paddock to Reef monitoring program

In all our efforts, we need to hold ourselves accountable and monitor our initiatives to ensure they are delivering real outcomes for the Reef. The Paddock to Reef program is a world-leading monitoring and modelling program, collecting and integrating data from agricultural practices, in catchments and on the Great Barrier Reef.

This important monitoring and modelling program helps us know what’s making a real difference, and what programs may need to be improved. We are taking water samples and monitoring nutrients, sediments and pesticides to produce pollutant loads data and track long-term trends in water quality.

Dr Ryan Turner, Principal Scientist, Water Quality and Investigations, Department of Science, Information Technology and Innovation
Dr Ryan Turner, Principal Scientist, Water Quality and Investigations, Department of Science, Information Technology and Innovation.
Dr Ryan Turner monitoring the water in Barratta Creek, south of Townsville.
Dr Ryan Turner monitoring the water in Barratta Creek, south of Townsville.

It’s not just government doing the monitoring – in some areas, farmers are trained to monitor their own water and work with local agronomists to change practices. It’s about identifying ways we can all improve. Local businesses and industry like sewage treatment plants and ports also monitor their impacts on waterways to ensure they are operating within their environmental approvals.

Measuring progress so far

The Great Barrier Reef Report Card measures progress towards the reef targets.

Marine modelling through eReefs

eReefs is a leading program that combines technologies and marine modelling to paint a picture of what is happening on the reef today and what is predicted to happen in the future. See it in action here.

Find out how you can help to monitor the health of waterways and the Reef

From the Great Barrier Reef to Moreton Bay, all Queensland waterways are connected. For example, avoiding littering, wherever you live, will prevent litter getting into waterways and making its way to the Great Barrier Reef. If you live in reef catchment areas, you can make sure soil and fertiliser stays on your property.

If you are interested in participating in monitoring in your local area or when visiting the Great Barrier Reef get started by exploring the Citizen Science resources on the How can I help? page.