In Australia, the flood waters which recently hit central Queensland towns are now flowing into the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.
The coastal waters seaward of the Fitzroy and Burnett River catchments are experiencing major inundations of freshwater from rivers, creeks and inland water bodies leading to the Great Barrier Reef lagoon.
These waters contain varying amounts of freshwater, sediments, nutrients and pesticides as well as other potential contaminants. A coordinated water quality monitoring program is already in place in these regions to monitor events such as this.
Presently, the affected area is localised to inshore areas off the Capricorn Coast near Rockhampton. This current situation is not affecting the Whitsundays, Townsville, Cairns or Port Douglas areas. Similarly, the massive flood event recently experienced in Brisbane will have an effect on marine life in Moreton Bay, which is renowned for, amongst other things its significant populations of dugongs and marine turtles.
For additional information on the potential impact of the central Queensland floods on the Great Barrier Reef, please see the GBRMPA newsletter at: www.gbrmpa.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0010/46828/GBRMPA_CentralQldFlood_Info1_2011.pdf