Nutrient management zones for the Great Barrier Reef Water Quality Protection Plan
Project manager: Jon Brodie
Project collaborators: Department of Environment and Water Resources, Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority
The Department of the Environment and Water Resources (DEW) and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) commissioned this technical report to progress Reef Water Quality Protection Plan Action D8 which is to:
Identify and establish nutrient…[management] zones within which extension services, property resource management planning and NRM funding will be focused to minimise impact of nutrients on the Reef; and investigate further land use planning, regulatory, market and voluntary mechanisms that could be applied in these zones.
The Reef Water Quality Protection Plan (Reef Plan) is aimed at addressing diffuse pollution from broadscale land use. Urban diffuse sources and point sources of pollution such as sewage, waste from ore processing as part of mining and agriculture are dealt with separately under a range of legislation, regulations and strategies and are not dealt with through this Reef Plan action.
This technical report establishes criteria to define nutrient management zones (NMZs). The technical report does not consider mechanisms to be employed to reduce nutrient runoff in NMZs. Rather, a separate process is under way to develop policy mechanisms that will apply in these zones. The Queensland Government, principally the Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries (DPIF), is leading this process in collaboration with the Australian Government and relevant industry groups.
Work to date on policy mechanisms recognises improved nutrient management practices already in place or in train. The overall objective of the policy mechanisms is to optimise nutrient use for profitable agriculture whilst minimising the risk of movement of nutrients off-site.
NMZs will be priority geographic areas for implementation of this approach including prioritisation of government, industry and regional natural resource management (NRM) body co-investment.
A policy discussion paper is in development and is likely to be released for public consultation in March 2007.
Information on the results of the project can be found at http://www.reefplan.qld.gov.au/.
Brodie, J. (comp), 2007. Nutrient management zones in the Great Barrier Reef Catchment: A decision system for zone selection Report to the Department of the Environment and Heritage, ACTFR report No 06/07, Australian Centre for Tropical Freshwater Research, James Cook University, Townsville