Community Action Plans to help prioritise reef protection measures

Local communities have a key role to play in protecting the Great Barrier Reef, and their efforts will be boosted thanks to a new partnership between NQ Dry Tropics, Reef Ecologic and Magnetic Island Community Development Association (MICDA).

Funding from the partnership between the Australian Government’s Reef Trust and the Great Barrier Reef Foundation will support these groups to develop two Community Action Plans (CAPs), one for the Burdekin region and one for Magnetic Island.

The CAPs will aim to integrate local coastal and marine activities with other Great Barrier Reef World Heritage protection measures to increase their overall impact, support better Reef management decisions, and drive positive change.

The CAPs will also guide future funding towards priority actions, initially as part of the Great Barrier Reef Foundation’s Community Partnership Grants initiative due to be rolled out next year. 

NQ Dry Tropics’ Protecting Biodiversity Team Leader Rachael Payne said there would be a strong emphasis on engaging with local groups and individuals already working hard to strengthen the resilience of the Great Barrier Reef.

“We want to harness the knowledge and energy of North Queenslanders working to protect the Great Barrier Reef,” Ms Payne said.

“These plans aim to support groups and individuals working on Reef resilience to share knowledge, maximise available resources, and work together to achieve a greater collective impact. We look forward to partnering with Reef Ecologic and MICDA to make this happen,” she said.

Nathan Cook, Reef Ecologic’s Youth Engagement Coordinator, said the CAPs would strengthen community Reef protection efforts by creating shared goals and identifying critical projects:

“An exciting element of these CAPs is the focus on engaging young people and providing them with a voice, and a real opportunity to contribute to the future of their local communities,” Mr Cook said.  

MICDA’s president Les Sampson said he was keen to see the CAPs reflect the priorities of the Magnetic Island community:

“It’s a great opportunity to actively involve local people in planning, implementing, monitoring and celebrating actions to protect the Great Barrier Reef and its islands,” Mr Sampson said.

One of the Community Action Plans will focus on beautiful Magnetic Island

Great Barrier Reef Foundation Managing Director Anna Marsden said the Great Barrier Reef is an irreplaceable ecosystem that can and must be saved for future generations

“Our Reef is facing a growing combination of threats, with climate change and increasing water temperatures affecting coral health. That means we have to step up our response. We’re already making an impact, but there is a lot more to be done to save our Reef and its marine life,” Ms Marsden said.

“Regional communities are at the forefront of on-ground and in-water efforts to protect the Great Barrier Reef, and these plans will enable them to accelerate local Reef protection actions and strengthen connections with Reef science and management,” she said. 

NQ Dry Tropics Acting Protecting Biodiversity Team Leader Rachael Payne

NQ Dry Tropics will be working with Reef Ecologic on the project