Simon Green

Minister blames CQ graziers for poor water quality

GRAZIERS in the Fitzroy region have been named as one of the reasons the area lagging behind in water quality improvement.

Following this week's release of the Great Barrier Reef Report Card for 2013-14, Environment Minister Dr Steven Miles said only 20% of grazing lands in the area were using best management practice systems for gully erosion.

He said less than one quarter of best practice was being observed in pasture erosion and 8% in horticulture lands.

"These numbers are well short of the Reef Water Quality Protection Plan's 90% target by 2018," Dr Miles said.

The Fitzroy region is the largest region draining into the reef with 156,000sq km of catchments.

The worst pollutants that need to be managed are soil from erosion and pesticides from grazing and cropping.

"Progress towards all pollutant load reduction targets was very poor in the Fitzroy region," Dr Miles said.

"This is partly due to the massive size of the catchment and the large number of graziers.

"The Fitzroy region also recorded the greatest loss of wetlands and riparian vegetation."

But he said the report found the fight against poor water quality across the state had flatlined.

Dr Miles said the government was working towards its Reef 2050 Long Term Sustainability Plan and had committed $100 million over five years to reef protection programs.

He urged more growers and graziers to adopt better practices to improve water quality.

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As at June 2014 the area of land managed using best management practice systems for each industry across the Great Barrier Reef was:

Sugarcane: approximately 13% for nutrients, 30% for pesticides and 23% for soil.

Grazing erosion management: approximately 28% for pastures, 47% for streambanks and 24% for gullies.

Horticulture: approximately 23% for nutrients, 45% for pesticides and 71% for soil.


Fitzroy region

There was a 348ha loss of natural wetlands between 2009 and 2013

There was a 14,777ha loss of riparian vegetation between 2009 and 2013

Late dry season ground cover in 2013-14 was 78%. There were significant areas of low ground cover.

Source: Queensland Government


Fitzroy area's marine condition

The overall marine condition remained poor in 2013-14

Inshore seagrass remained in poor condition

Coral reefs have remained in very poor condition since 2011-12 following multiple disturbances

Source: Queensland Government



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