Nitrogen pollution is a complex problem, and finding a solution has never been more important. Nitrogen – particularly dissolved inorganic nitrogen derived from coastal runoff – is a major water quality pollutant on the Great Barrier Reef.
Decades of research and on-ground effort by many organisations and institutions have successfully closed many gaps in our scientific understanding but only resulted in modest reductions in amounts of nitrogen reaching the Great Barrier Reef, therefore, new ideas are needed and that is exactly what research being conducted by the NESP Tropical Water Quality Hub is doing – developing and testing innovative ways to reduce nitrogen runoff from the Queensland coast into the Great Barrier Reef lagoon.
In this timely issue of our newsletter, we highlight a few of the (many) NESP TWQ projects that are working side-by-side with cane growers, graziers, industry representatives, Indigenous groups and managers, to make breakthroughs in our understanding of nitrogen behavior in soils, investigate new fertilisers that pollute less without affecting farmers’ bottom line, develop better insurance products to manage crop yield risk, and evaluate wetlands repair methods.
As with everything we do at NESP TWQ, it’s not just about delivering stakeholder-driven research. We are focused on translating the science step, to enable our stakeholders to solve the problem. That’s why we’re co-hosting the inaugural ‘Innovative Nitrogen Use in Sugarcane’ Forum in Cairns next month, which will bring together scientists and cane growers to discuss how some of these new innovative ideas can help everyone make progress towards our common goal.