Rivers to Reef to Turtles | wwf

Rivers to Reef to Turtles

Three green turtles, Great Barrier Reef. rel=
© Troy Mayne
With the support of Banrock Station Environmental Trust, WWF-Australia and its partners are leading pioneering research to protect the Great Barrier Reef and the turtles that call it home.

The Great Barrier Reef is like no other place on Earth, and is home to six of the world’s seven species of marine turtle.

We know that the Reef’s marine turtles need clean water to survive. When floods occur, massive quantities of soil and chemicals are washed from farms, industrial and urban areas out onto the Great Barrier Reef. This pollutes and destroys huge areas of seagrass and coral – the home and feeding grounds of marine turtles. Unfortunately, recent floods have contributed to record numbers of turtle strandings and deaths.

Coastal areas south of Townsville have had unexplained mass turtle deaths as well as higher incidence of turtle diseases and health issues, which are suspected to be linked to poor water quality and pollutants.

That’s why, with the help of Banrock Station wines, WWF-Australia and its project partners will seek to identify and measure the key pollutants in rivers, the Great Barrier Reef and in green turtles themselves. The data collected will allow us to better understand the sources and impacts of pollution on the Reef and on turtles.

Once we have identified the key pollutants impacting the Reef and marine turtles, we can then target investment in actions that will most effectively improve water quality. This will boost the resilience of the Reef and the health of turtles.

WWF’s project partners include the University of Queensland’s National Research Centre for Environmental Toxicology and School of Veterinary Science, James Cook University’s Centre for Tropical Water & Aquatic Research, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, Queensland government agencies, local Traditional Owner and natural resource management (NRM) groups, and others in the community.

WWF-Australia thanks the Banrock Station Environmental Trust for their generous support in helping make this project possible.

| UPDATE | 22/10/2014 |
The Rivers to Reef to Turtles project, being led by WWF-Australia, in partnership with the Banrock Station Environmental Trust, has caught, tagged and measured more than 700 green turtles so far.

Photo: Darren Grover, WWF-Australia (left), Dr Christophe Tourenq, Banrock Station Environmental Trust (right) © Cameron Laird