Added by James Morley on January 10, 2011
The devastating floods in Australia’s Queensland are causing toxic pollution that will have a “disastrous impact” on the corals of the Great Barrier Reef, dugongs, turtles and other marine creatures, the World Wildlife Fund said on Monday.
WWF spokesman Nick Heath said: “In addition to the terrible costs to farmers and communities in Queensland, we will also see a major and extremely harmful decline in water quality on the Great Barrier Reef.”
Heath said that restoring important woodlands in the catchment areas of the Fitzroy river and Murray Darling basin, both prone to floods, would help in protecting communities from future flooding, since trees and wetlands have the ability to absorb water and thus to slow down the flow of water during floods, resulting in less severe flood impact.
“As devastating and tragic as these floods are, they also provide a chance to introduce newer and better technologies that will reduce pollution and increase profits,” Heath said about the opportunities arising for best-practice farm design and reef catchment management.
By restoring woodlands, deep infiltration of water can be improved, increasing soil moisture and topsoil retention, which in turn will boost productivity.
The Great Barrier Reef has over the past 150 years seen a four- to fivefold increase in the amount of sediment inflow – in some catchments as much as five to ten times the amount of sediment now enters the reef.