Quantifying the sources of pollutants in the Great Barrier Reef catchments and the relative risk to reef ecosystems
Waterhouse, J., Brodie, J., Lewis, S., and Mitchell, A. (2012) Quantifying the sources of pollutants in the Great Barrier Reef catchments and the relative risk to reef ecosystems. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 65 (4-9). pp. 394-406.
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Development of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) catchments in the last 150 years has increased the loads of suspended sediment, nutrients and pesticides ('pollutants') delivered to the GBR. The scale and type of development, the pollutants generated and the ecosystems offshore vary regionally. We analysed the relative risk of pollutants from agricultural land uses and identified the sources of these pollutants from different land uses for each region to develop priorities for management. The assessment showed the Wet Tropics and Mackay Whitsunday regions to be of relatively high risk dominated by sugarcane cultivation, contributing pesticide and dissolved inorganic nitrogen (DIN). The Burdekin and Fitzroy ranked medium–high risk dominated by grazing suspended sediment inputs for both, and additionally sugarcane DIN and pesticide inputs for the Burdekin. The Burnett Mary ranked medium risk, dominated by grazing and sugarcane. Cape York was not formally ranked but is considered to be low risk.