Comment sought on Reef coastal ecosystems position statement

Maintaining and restoring coastal ecosystems near the Great Barrier Reef is vital to the Reef’s health and resilience, according to a position statement released today for public comment.

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority’s statement outlines the impacts coastal development has had on these ecosystems and provides guidelines for managing and restoring them.

The Authority’s manager Donna-marie Audas said coastal development was one of the four biggest threats to the Great Barrier Reef.

“Coastal ecosystems provide important links between land, freshwater and marine environments, as well as feeding and breeding grounds for many marine species,” she said.

“Changes to these ecosystems caused by coastal development have resulted in the loss or modification of their functions.
Our position statement outlines a whole-of-catchment approach to natural resource management in coastal ecosystems in the Great Barrier Reef.”

The statement establishes principles for protecting coastal ecosystems, and seeks to improve their capacity to deliver ecological functions and processes for the Great Barrier Reef. Key actions include:

  • Promoting the use of specific decision-support tools that can inform catchment management decisions to improve health, biodiversity and water quality of coastal ecosystems.
  • Raising awareness of the important role coastal ecosystems (both natural and modified) play in maintaining Great Barrier Reef health.

The coastal ecosystem position statement was developed in collaboration with Queensland state and local government, regional natural resource management groups, industry groups, Traditional Owners and landholders.

The Great Barrier Reef catchment is 424,000 square kilometres and forms part of the greater Great Barrier Reef ecosystem. The Authority works closely with other government agencies and organisations to provide input to the management of this important area.

The position statement is available online and is open for comment until 5pm on 24 November 2017.