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Innovative methods to help prevent coral bleaching on the Reef

Published: Thursday, 7 December 2017

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World leading innovative methods will be trialled to mix warmer surface water with cooler waters from the deep in an effort to reduce the impacts of thermal stress on the Great Barrier Reef to mitigate coral bleaching events.

Minister for the Environment and Energy Josh Frydenberg said the innovative research project by the Reef and Rainforest Research Centre (RRRC) was supported by a $2.2 million investment by the Turnbull Government.

“Taking on innovative research project likes this, demonstrates the Government is leaving no stone unturned in its efforts to protect the Reef,” Minister Frydenberg said.

“Funded as part of the Reef 2050 Plan, the project will test whether water mixing technology, currently used in freshwater storages, can reduce coral stress at a local level.

“Limited modelling indicates the proposed intervention could reduce average surface water temperatures by 0.7°C during potential bleaching conditions.”

Federal Member for Leichhardt Warren Entsch said the proposal put forward by the RRRC would see eight water mixing units installed in a 1kmarea of the northern Moore Reef during the summer months over the next three years.

“The research will involve extensive monitoring and data collection to help improve our knowledge on how climate change impacts coral reefs,” Mr Entsch said.

“If successful, this research project could play a pivotal role in ensuring the Reef is protected for generations to come.

“Whether it’s tackling the crown-of-thorns starfish or reducing runoff, the Government is acting to improve the health and resilience of the Reef.”

The research project will be subject to various environmental management plans being completed prior to deployment, such as a monitoring, decommissioning and cyclone contingency plans.

The Turnbull Government funding will be supported with significant in kind contributions from the Reef and Rainforest Research Centre, the Association of Marine Park Tourism Operators and the Queensland based manufacturer of the water mixing technology, WEARS Pty Ltd.

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