Healthy coastal ecosystems are critical for the long-term health of the Reef. The loss of ecosystem function from coastal development is one of the major threats to the Great Barrier Reef. An Integrated whole-of-catchment approach is needed to protect and restore the ecological functioning of coastal ecosystems.
Coastal ecosystems position statement: The full statement can be viewed in our e-Library.
A range of technical reports and case studies are available to support programs and activities to manage coastal resources in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.
Method for identifying and prioritising coastal ecosystem functional connections
A mapping method (Blue Maps) has been developed to guide natural resource managers to consider landscape values and hydrological connection. It is designed to assist in planning, management and investment strategies that focus on improving water quality and ecosystem health of the Great Barrier Reef. The Blue Maps method aims to categorise coastal ecosystems into one of four classes based on the degree of hydrological connection with the Great Barrier Reef.
Informing the outlook for Great Barrier Reef coastal ecosystems
This technical report collates information on coastal ecosystems at various geographic scales and their importance for maintaining the health and resilience of the Great Barrier Reef. The report identifies the coastal ecosystems that have been modified and natural corridors and essential connections to the Great Barrier Reef for flora and fauna that have been lost or compromised as a result of over more than 150 years of catchment clearing and coastal development.
Coastal Ecosystem Assessment Framework
This framework identifies the natural state, current state, and the pressures and threats for specific defined areas. To ensure the methodology provides a robust and relevant framework for assessment, it was developed in partnership with the Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage Protection and the Queensland Wetlands Program.
Analysis of ecological services, pressures and threats used in the Coastal Ecosystem Assessment Framework is based on the best currently available science, supported by a range of experts in a diverse range of study areas. These included terrestrial and marine ecologists, geologists, hydrologists, climate change experts, natural resource managers and representatives from all levels of government. Further engagement with local communities and those with extensive local knowledge assisted in refining the understanding of the holistic functions at work at the basin scale.
These assessments consider ecological functions, the risks to these functions and the cumulative impacts that are affecting the long-term health of the Great Barrier Reef at a region scale. The information collected, collated and analysed provides a rapid summary of the state of the basin’s ecological assets and highlights pressures and threats, ecological condition, and social response to threats and pressures that are influencing the health of the Great Barrier Reef.
Developed to inform basin assessment and the method for prioritising coastal ecosystem function connection, these case studies consider the state of knowledge regarding the coastal development, planning and hydrology, and its influence over the management of coastal ecosystem functions and processes important for the long term health of the Great Barrier Reef.