In October 2003, the Commonwealth and Queensland governments released the Reef Water Quality Protection Plan (Reef Plan) for catchments adjacent to the GBR World Heritage Area. The plan was revised and updated in 2013.
The long-term goal of Reef Plan is to ensure that "by 2020 the quality of water entering the reef from broadscale land use has no detrimental impact on the health and resilience of the Great Barrier Reef."
Reef Plan also includes the establishment of water quality monitoring programs in the Reef lagoon and on the adjacent catchment, to assess the effectiveness of the Reef Plan's implementation.
AIMS is an integral part of the Marine Monitoring Program under Reef Plan, coordinated by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, which monitors spatial patterns and temporal trends in the water quality of the GBR inshore lagoon and the status of inshore coral reefs .
AIMS researchers also study new bioindicators to identify and quantify water quality effects on coral reef organisms and to develop these indicators into future monitoring tools.
The Reef Plan is now in the middle of its implementation phase and is evaluated annually. Future challenges are the integration of the various actions of Reef Plan (65 in total) and to monitor and assess the land use and management changes that have occurred.
The Marine Monitoring Program at AIMS continues to deliver valuable information about the status of the inshore marine environment and has established baselines against which we can assess future changes in the marine environment as a result of changing activities in the catchment.
Reef Water Quality Protection Plan