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Fitzroy Partnership for River Health News!

March 2016 edition...

A motivated group met in Rockhampton recently to discuss the strategic direction of the Partnership over the next five years. 

Strategic planning day outlines strong future

A motivated group met in Rockhampton this week for the final Strategic Planning session to set the future of the Fitzroy Partnership for River Health over the next five years.  Following on from the first session on 3 December 2015, the group worked to finalise a workable and sustainable plan for the Partnership.  Overall Partners were happy with the Partnership Reporting Platform given the tight economic environment, with a number of overarching goals set for the future. These included: 
  1. Deliver trusted information
  2. Inform decision making
  3. Develop and improve assessment and analysis of waterway health measures and indicators
  4. Provide value for all sectors
  5. Develop and implement a robust business model.  
The Strategic Plan will be finalised in coming months. For further discussion please contact Nathan Johnston on nathan.johnston@riverhealth.org.au 
 

Fitzroy WQIP:2015 - Have your say now

Fitzroy Partnership supported Fitzroy Basin Association Inc. (FBA) with the development of the new Fitzroy Water Quality Improvement Plan - WQIP:2015, developed to guide improvement of water quality in the Fitzroy Basin to protect the Great Barrier Reef. Several of the interactive products developed as part of the project also have the dual use as additional information for future report cards and other products. 

The WQIP:2015 will cover the Fitzroy Basin and coastal catchments of the FBA NRM region as well as adjacent marine waters.  The plan, which is now open for public review and comment, sets water quality targets for the region, identifies priority areas to undertake works and recommends management actions to improve water quality. Partners and interested stakeholders are encouraged to provide feedback on the Fitzroy WQIP:2015 website before end of March 2016.

Partner Seal of Recognition

A new resource will help provide better recognition of the contribution our valued Partners have made to waterway health. This Partner Seal of Recognition is now available for our current partners to use on corporate collateral and communications material.  This seal helps partners showcase their valuable contribution to the Fitzroy Partnership for River Health.  The Silver Partner Seal recognises the contribution made by all of our financial partners, with the Gold Seal providing additional recognition of our Major Partners. The Seals will be provided to our Major Partners and Partners in the near future with associated conditions of use. 

Construction starts on Fitzroy Salt Model  

River salinity is a topical issue in the Fitzroy Basin, with high salinity in freshwater catchments potentially impacting on organisms and ecosystem health, as well as other environmental values such as suitability for drinking water, livestock watering and crop irrigation. Fitzroy Partnership is working on a project (supported by ACARP funding) to develop a Salt Model to provide a better understanding of the impacts of point-source releases and other land uses on salinity in aquatic ecosystems in the Fitzroy Basin.  The project aims to produce catchment based results compared to ecological, drinking water and agricultural waterway values.

Salinity was one of the priority gaps identified by the Science Panel for the Partnership's River Health Reports.  A tool that predicts the impact of salinity due to changes in land management and land use in the Fitzroy will be of significant value to the community and industry moving forward. Due for completion in early 2017, the Fitzroy Partnership is now seeking feedback on the existing conceptual model of how salt occurs in the Fitzroy and the processes, drivers, impacts and pressures associated with salt. Review the conceptual diagrams and provide your feedback by clicking here.

Qld Chief Scientist in Rockhampton on GBR

While the Fitzroy Partnership for River Health focuses on the Fitzroy Basin, a recent visit to Rockhampton by Queensland Chief Scientist Dr Geoff Garrett sought feedback for the Great Barrier Reef Water Science Taskforce's Interim Report which sets out initial recommendations to the Queensland Government on how to deliver substantial reef water quality improvements across the Great Barrier Reef.

The Taskforce has been established to provide the Queensland Government with advice on how it can meet its ambitious water quality targets and the priority areas for investing an additional $90 million over five years. The Taskforce’s key objective is to ensure clean water flows from the rivers to the sea to ensure a healthy Great Barrier Reef. Submissions closed on 22 February 2016. The Taskforce will consider submissions and other information and prepare a final report to submit to the Minister for the Great Barrier Reef by May 2016. Visit Great Barrier Reef Living Wonder website for more information.

The survey results are in....

In late 2015 in the lead up to the first Strategic Planning Day, the Partnership asked Partners and a range of specific stakeholders about their awareness of the Partnership and its activities and products, and their feedback on its success. While the survey group was relatively small, the feedback received was valuable in identifying the general feeling amongst stakeholders on the success and direction of the Partnership.  

Some of the major findings were that almost all respondents were aware of the FPRH and had accessed or used Fitzroy Partnership information. For a complete summary of the survey results please click here

Peabody outlines benefits of FPRH

John Merritt, Peabody Energy Manager Environment - Water and Co-Chair of Fitzroy Partnership for River Health (second from right) at the recent Strategic Planning Day with facilitator Rachel Eberhard, FBA Operations Manager Tom Coughlin and Partnership Science Panel Leader Nicole Flint. 
As a Major Partner of Fitzroy Partnership for River Health, Peabody Energy has outlined their reasons for continuing to support the Partnership: 

Why is your organisation involved in FPRH?
Peabody’s initial involvement in the Partnership followed the Queensland Resources Council led negotiation with Department of Environment & Heritage Protection regarding model Environmental Authority release conditions for mines in the Fitzroy River catchment. The Partnership was proposed as an alternative model to far field monitoring, and has evolved from there.

As the Partnership matured, it became clear to Peabody that it had additional benefits for the organisation – key among these being access to the database of water quality data which the Partnership has built up. Through the partnership, Peabody can access this data via the portal where a comparison with the rest of the Partnership’s data can also be viewed. 

A further valued benefit for Peabody is the ongoing participation in the Partnership by the majority of the mining companies in the Fitzroy — leading to increased confidence by downstream stakeholders in the industry’s overall performance. 

Find out more about Peabody's involvement in FPRH by clicking here, and a detail report on their corporate and social responsibility here.

2014-15 Report Card Data due now 

The 2014-15 Report Card is due to be released mid-2016, and the Partnership team are seeking the assistance of data providers to submit their waterway health information.  This will ensure the Partnership can continue to provide the most complete picture of waterway health in the Fitzroy Basin in a timely fashion.  If you have data and haven't yet been contacted, please get in touch with Luke Ukkola, Science Integration Coordinator on Luke.Ukkola@riverhealth.org.au or phone (07) 4999 2819. 

Estuary zone trends towards improvement

Four years on from its commencement, the Fitzroy Partnership for River Health can now begin to look at trends in the condition of catchments and waterways within the Fitzroy Basin.  From flooding rains to desperate drought in various parts of the catchment, there are a significant range of factors influencing the health of the Basin’s ecosystems and waterways.

To date the Partnership has reported on eleven catchments, the estuary and marine zone, and over the first four years, the Fitzroy River estuary’s long term condition has been steadily improving, going from a C Grade for the 2010-11 and 2011-12 years to a B Grade for the 2012-13 and 2013-14 years. This is in part due to the improving trend in Barramundi recruitment, physical- chemical indicators (turbidity and dissolved oxygen) and most nutrient indicators (except oxidised nitrogen) in the Estuary. For more detail on the estuary zone performance click here
If you would like more information about joining the partnership please contact:

Nathan Johnston - Executive Officer
P: 07 4999 2821 | M: 0400 221 055 | E: nathan.johnston@riverhealth.org.au
 
If you have a more general comment or request, please contact:
 
Luke Ukkola - Science Integration Coordinator
P: 07 4999 2819 | E: luke.ukkola@riverhealth.org.au

Address:
Fitzroy Partnership for River Health
Level 1, 80 East Street
PO Box 139 Rockhampton, QLD 4700
 
FBA is the current host organisation of the Fitzroy Partnership for River Health.

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