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Fitzroy regional summary

The Fitzroy region covers 156,000km² and is the largest region draining into the Great Barrier Reef lagoon. The region experiences highly variable rainfall, high evaporation rates and prolonged dry periods which are often followed by floods. Grazing (77%) is the predominant land use but there are also significant areas of cultivation including large expanses of irrigated and dryland cropping.

Rainfall in 2009–2010 was more than three times higher than the longterm median across the Fitzroy region. This report card measures progress from the 2009 baseline towards Reef Water Quality Protection Plan (Reef Plan) goals and targets. It assesses the combined results of all Reef Plan actions up to June 2010. Report cards are produced as part of the Paddock to Reef program.

The regional Natural Resource Management body, the Fitzroy Basin Association, has been working with landholders in priority areas to reduce sediment and nutrients delivered to the reef.


Key findings

  • The overall marine condition in 2009–2010 was moderate. Inshore water quality and the condition of seagrass were moderate and corals were poor.
  • Overall, progress towards Reef Plan targets has been encouraging; however it will take time for these achievements to translate into improved marine condition.
  • 10% of graziers, 14% of grain growers and 9% of horticulture producers have adopted improved land management practices.
  • The loss of riparian areas and wetlands has slowed in recent years (2005–2009) indicating progress towards the Reef Plan targets.
  • The greatest proportional catchment load reduction was the phosphorus and sediment load with an estimated 11t (1%) and 17,000t (1%) less, respectively.
  • The significant progress has been driven primarily by the Australian Government’s Reef Rescue program along with Queensland Government and industry-led initiatives.

Table: Fitzroy progress and status


Paddock to Reef program

The Paddock to Reef program, funded jointly by the Australian and Queensland Governments, is a highly innovative approach to integrating monitoring and modelling information on management practices, catchment indicators, catchment loads and the health of the Great Barrier Reef.

Progress towards targets


Last updated:
27 August, 2014

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