Australia’s response to the covid-19 pandemic, has led to the adoption of strict measures in a bid to supress and control its domestic spread, creating a number of significant flow on effects across the country. NESP Tropical Water Quality Hub projects have been both adapting to these new measures and ensuring work-to-date continues where safe across all institutions as a way to continue crucial progress in increasing resilience and recovery for the Great Barrier Reef. One of the obvious changes to life has been no in-person workshops and reductions in fieldwork. Fortunately, a lot of our wet season fieldwork had already been completed. Other fieldwork and major public engagements are on hold depending on future travel options. As it currently stands, and despite the disruptions to date, we are still aiming to complete and deliver on all major NESP-TWQ Hub projects by the end of this year as planned.
This issue of View on TWQ sheds light on a number of monitoring techniques and markers developed by projects, including cutting-edge underwater monitoring technology to help decision-makers assess the risk posed to inshore corals by port dredging and the use of “carbonate budgets” as a key Reef health indicator under the Reef2050 Plan.
The Landholders Driving Change project has recently looked to NESP TWQ Hub research, trialling a wide variety of gully remediation techniques at multiple sites across the Bowen, Broken and Bogie (BBB) catchment on the Queensland coast. Effective gully remediation measures are of great interest to land managers and landholders, given the value of productive land that can be lost. A primary demonstration trial site at Mt Wickham is being used to test techniques as part of Gully Remediation Effectiveness with a number of other NESP TWQ Hub projects also conducting detailed monitoring on these trials using advanced water quality sampling equipment.
Work is also progressing on the final synthesis of NESP Hub Research. This is very important to summarise the learnings, achievements and outcomes from 6 years operating the TWQ Hub. The synthesis process was planned around extensive engagement and many meetings. Fortunately, we had completed 5 of the 6 planning workshops for the synthesis process before travel restrictions prevented further meetings. This has enabled work on the synthesis to proceed and hopefully, travel and meeting restrictions will ease in time for these products to be workshopped and socialised with our partners and stakeholders before the end of the year.