Coastal Marine Ecosystems Research Centre (CMERC)
We actively participate in the conservation and sustainable use of the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development. Our Coastal Marine Ecosystems Research Centre (CMERC) has been established to work with coastal industries and communities to develop practical and sustainable solutions for our unique coastal and marine environments.
Headquartered on the shoreline of Queensland’s largest multicommodity Port of Gladstone (fifth-largest coal port in the world), and the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area, CMERC is the only coastal and marine research facility based in Central Queensland and features world-class research equipment and laboratories with access to cutting-edge analytical capabilities. CMERC staff have strong links with local industry and community groups and are working closely with Traditional Owners to empower them as custodians of Land and Sea Country and incorporate Traditional Ecological knowledge in our research. CMERC conducts research to facilitate the protection and enhancement of coastal aquatic ecosystems, estuaries, and the open ocean.
CMERC is Central Queensland's only marine and coastal research centre so it's delivering research where it's needed, we've got an amazing location here in Gladstone for our base and we've got industry juxtaposed with some amazing marine habitats and we want to look at ways in which we can develop the coasts to keep those systems sustaining some of our coastal communities. The port of Gladstone is now the largest port in Queensland by export volume and it's also the fourth largest coal export terminal in the world. We have got this concentration of industry so we need a community that can work together with our local environment, and you know as I said, gateway to the southern Great Barrier Reef, it's our Great Barrier Reef as much as it is anyone's we want to make sure that the ecosystem works together in harmony with our local industry.
We have a unique approach to working with industry and our communities and we take a very holistic approach to our research as well. We're not just monitoring marine and coastal environments we're also looking for practical solutions that can benefit entire communities.
A lot of the things that the ecosystems do naturally can actually save people money and can support coastal economies. One of the key projects that we've got going on at the moment in CMERC is looking at seagrass restoration, we have Queensland’s first and only seagrass and nursery where we actually grow seagrasses and look at propagation and cultivation methods for how to grow seagrasses. So, we have seagrass meadows along the coast of Central Queensland and these seagrass meadows are really important habitats for providing food and capturing carbon, filtering out our catchments and the things the sediments and the nutrients that come down our catchments, and basically making sure that our Coral Sea and our coral reefs are healthy.
One of the key objectives of 2050 reef plan is to improve water quality, of the Great Barrier Reef region and the lagoon that comes back to the coastal margins and another one of the major objectives is to manage coastal land use in a way that is sustainable and doesn't cause continued degradation of the environment and the water that feeds into the reef system. We're looking for those sorts of solutions that allow the industry to operate, allow economies to grow, and communities to thrive while also helping the environment. One of the ways sumac goes about addressing these very large goals is to coordinate skill sets and research expertise from a wide variety of areas, so that we build complementary teams that can look at the basic biology, for example, interface that with economic considerations, interface that with engineering solutions to ultimately find solutions that help address the 2050 plan.
We do need to balance the fact that we have all these major industries here but they need a social license to operate so they need to be able to prove to not just our local community but the whole world that they're not putting any harm into our local environment, certainly not putting any harm into the Great Barrier Reef.
So CMERC actually sees humans as part of their marine ecosystem, so it recognises that human development is going to continue and that we need to look at ways in which we can work with nature and not against it. CMERC is working closely with the Gidarjil Development Corporation and local indigenous sea rangers because we recognize that there's a wealth of information traditional ecological knowledge there that we can use about the system and about what's happened in the past with the system.
We also have an amazing climate and harbour that we want people to be able to use for social activities and so if we can mesh the research around how industry fits with the general community I guess, I think we'll be one step ahead of everything. Why does one city continue to grow and spread that that research that that knowledge base right around the world. I think it just gives future generations options to say well we really are serious about making sure that we've got the economic side of things but we're looking after the environment as well.
Since joining our university in 2013, marine scientist Dr Emma Jackson (a member of the Seagrass Restoration Network) has led multiple projects around Seagrass restoration. Dr Jackson’s research focuses on the science behind how seagrass habitats maintain their populations and what actions the public can take to help. Through the use of a state-of-the-art tidal mesocosm system (aquaria that mimic natural conditions) located at our Gladstone Marina campus, Dr Jackson and a team of environmental researchers are identifying best-practice approaches for enhancing and restoring depleted seagrass meadows in the Port of Gladstone. Research on the potential for habitat enhancement to create resilient seagrass meadows through the beneficial reuse of dredge material by Dr Jackson’s research team has been incorporated into the Gladstone Ports Corporation Sediment Management Plan.
- We are currently undertaking a Research Higher Degree project aiming to quantify the drivers of variability in seagrass flowering for the species of Zostera muelleri and build a predictive model of the spatial-temporal initiation of flowering along the Australian east coast. The results of this research will enable restoration managers to find locations and periods where seed collection trials could be implemented.
- We recently led a public seagrass flower collection project in conjunction with the Gladstone Healthy Harbour Partnership. The initial events involved local Girl Guides and international English language student volunteers, while later events involved members of the Gidarjil Development Corporation Indigenous Sea Rangers.
- In 2020, CMERC was awarded funding for their project Sea Flowers: growing community engagement for seagrass restoration.
- Community Seagrass Flower Harvest – Passionate citizen scientists have joined researchers from our Coastal Marine Ecosystems Research Centre (CMERC) to collect seagrass flowers in Gladstone Harbour, for the final harvest of the season.
- With funding from the Australian Ethical Foundation, CMERC researchers assessing options for large scale seagrass restoration using drones 'SEAD: Seagrass Enhancement via Ariel Drones’, and in partnership with OzTech Drones.
- A CMERC researcher is leading a project funded by the Great Barrier Reef Foundation under their Reef Island Initiative to look at restoring seagrass resilience in the Whitsunday Region.
- CMERC was awarded grant funding for project Sea Flowers: Growing community engagement for seagrass restoration by the Queensland Chief Scientist’s Office, which is building capacity for seagrass restoration through Citizen Science collaborations.
- CMERC led two Seagrass Regeneration Missions in Sept. and Oct. 2021 at Pelican Banks on Curtis Island. Over 2 hours, we covered over 20ha of meadow at low tide to collect over 10, 000 flowers. These flowers will be held in aquaria for 1 month to collect seeds.
This research used reviews, hydrodynamic modelling and knowledge of local mangrove seagrass and oyster habitats to propose working with nature (WWN) options in detail (description, habitat creation, economic value, trials, and monitoring), that would enhance biodiversity, fish habitat and carbon capture during seawall construction. The Port of Gladstone is a large multicommodity Port and the 5th largest coal port in the world and is within the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. This research led to the Gladstone Ports Corporation funding for PhD scholarship and investment in large scale trials.
Working with the Australian Seaweed Institute, CMERC is undertaking a project to determine the potential for coastal/in-shore seaweed biofilters as an ecological solution to reduce nitrogen loads impacting on the reef and to utilise the harvested seaweed as a biofertilizer to further reduce nitrogen and synthetic fertiliser applications in upstream catchments. In doing so the project will quantify the environmental, social and economic opportunity for this solution to protect the reef at scale. The precursor to sea trials, which can be carried out in a controlled environment. The project was selected as one of 11 innovative projects at the Davos World Economic Forum.
A new project, 'A solution in the sea: seaweed to soak up Great Barrier Reef nitrogen' led by the Australian Seaweed Institute (ASI) in partnership with our Coastal and Marine Ecosystems Research Centre (CMERC), will develop new technologies to enable seaweed biofilters to absorb nitrogen that can then be re-used as a bio-fertiliser on land.
The Rodd’s Harbour Fish Habitat Area (FHA-036) has three historic and unlawfully installed earthen causeways that obstruct aquatic bio passage and the fresh-marine continuum in this high-value coastal wetland system. The following proposal by CMERC focuses on evaluating improvements in the fish habitat of the planned removal of these causeways, focussing on changes in adjacent wetland habitat (saltmarsh, mangrove and seagrass meadows), water and sediment quality. A large erosion site located in the tidal area of the Kolan River in the Discovery Coast has been identified as a major contributor of fine sediments entering the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area and is experiencing further erosion due to the compromised nature of the eroded shoreline site. By undertaking engineered shoreline rehabilitation works in this area, the bank will be stabilised avoiding further shoreline erosion at the site and downstream and enabling natural revegetation to occur further binding sediment and preventing it from entering the marine environment. Plans to rehabilitate this region offer a unique research opportunity to use multiple lines of evidence approach to evaluate the success of this and other similar engineering projects.
Microplastics have been identified in all aquatic ecosystems, including mangrove and seagrass habitats, which are often called the kidneys of the Great Barrier Reef because they act as land-to-sea buffers by filtering out particulate matter and contaminants. As such, they could play a beneficial role in trapping microplastics and reducing the flux to offshore habitats like the Great Barrier Reef. This would be the first known study to investigate the role of mangroves and seagrass beds as a protective barrier to further limit the dispersal of microplastics to the GBR. However, these benefits likely incur a presently unknown cost to mangroves and seagrasses and the animals that depend on them.
Successful interventions already capture, identify and audit road-based litter including larger plastic debris using stormwater drain traps, e.g., ‘Drain Buddies’ in Queensland. In trials we have modified Drain Buddies to capture finer scale road-based microplastics; but we are missing knowledge on the ‘when’, ‘where’ and for ‘how long’ to target a reduction in road-associated pollution; and a system for initiating the intervention. Other plastic waste studies have used community-based nudge interventions to dramatically reduce waste, but typically at individual levels (e.g., using bins, not littering). We will use the same community nudge concept to reduce waste at the corporate level through liaison with councils and road industry sectors to encourage less wasteful behaviour via the easiest, most accessible option without adding extra burden to the process.
This project will be carried out at sites in Rockhampton and Yeppoon over a two-year period.
CMERC researchers were awarded funding for their project 'Choice Experiment of the Economic Benefits from Improved Fish Passage and Diversion Screening in Inland NSW Rivers' by the Department of Regional NSW.
The Port Curtis Integrated Monitoring Program (PCIMP) is the first collaborative monitoring program to be undertaken for the whole of Port Curtis. The Gladstone-based PCIMP program conducts ambient mid to far-field monitoring of water bodies for the whole of Port Curtis which extends from the northern end of the Narrows to Rodds Bay and includes the harbour and its tributaries. we work with PCIMP as a collective of industries and stakeholder to analyse, interpret, and present quarterly water quality monitoring data achieved throughout Gladstone Harbour. Professor Owen Nevin (Associate Vice-Chancellor Gladstone Region, 2012-2020) is PCIMP's current Independent Chair and spokesperson. Professor Nevin has extensive experience and knowledge in collaborative research associations in addition to his high level of scientific knowledge. CMERC staff Dr Emma Jackson (Director), Dr Andrew Irving and Dr Amie Anastasi are advisors on PCIMP technical sub-committee (TSC).
The PCIMP program has also benefited the community is a number of ways.
- The on-going monitoring and reporting program provides invaluable information to researchers and the community. In 2006 when the 'Global Peace' oil spill occurred, PCIMP was able to provide data and tracking.
- PCIMP data is used by the Gladstone Healthy Harbour Partnership to produce their annual Report Card.
- PCIMP data and TSC advice was utilised and considered by the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection in the creation of the new Capricorn Curtis Coast Water Quality Objectives.
The continuation of the PCIMP program ensures the trends in water and sediment quality in Port Curtis are assessed and monitored, to inform the management of the Harbour to maintain healthy waters for recreational use, marine sustainability and minimal impact into the adjoining World Heritage Area and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.
In 2019 seagrass was incorporated into annual PCIMP monitoring as an ecologically relevant bioindicator of ecosystem health to complement water and sediment sampling due to research completed by CMERC staff and research students.
CMERC staff visited the North Keppel Island Environmental Centre to collect seagrass flowers with partners NKIEC, Fitzroy Basin Association and Woppaburra Peoples, and to view progress on the NKIEC/CMERC seagrass nursery facility.
Gladstone Healthy Harbour Partnership was established in 2012/13 to report on the health of the Gladstone Harbour. There are 25 collaborating organisations, including our university, government at all levels, traditional owners, community groups, port, industry (including international companies such as Shell, Rio Tinto, NRG) and science groups. A key component of the partnerships is to report back to the public on the health of the harbour and provide information on current activities. John Rolfe is the Chair of The Independent Science Panel.
Healthy Harbour Report Card
- The 2021 Gladstone Harbour Report Card contains the results calculated using 33 indicators derived from 108 different measures within the four components of harbour health: Environment, Economic, Social, and Cultural. Separate annual monitoring projects are run by our university, including Social, Cultural and Economic Indicators (Jeremy De Valck), Mud Crab Indicator (Nicole Flint), Fish Health Indicator (Nicole Flint).
- Mud Crabs – In 2017 a fish health indicator was added to the annual Gladstone Harbour Report Card due to research completed by Nicole Flint.
Integrated within these degrees are multiple avenues for students to learn and practice theory and skills in freshwater systems. This content includes term-long units of study (e.g., "Freshwater and Marine Systems, Botany of Aquatic Environments) and can cover focused elements within broader units of study. The Bachelor of Environmental Science degree includes a major in "Integrated land and water management", reflecting a strong focus on the interrelationship between land use and aquatic systems, and how best to manage them. Key units covered in the Bachelor of Agriculture include Key units of study include "Soil and Irrigation Management", "Resource-Smart Food Production", and "Sustainability Issues and Solutions".
Students complete a capstone unit Catchment to Reef Management as part of both degrees that focuses on sustainable fishing, sustainable management of aquatic environments and fisheries science/management. This includes teaching about the definitions of overfishing, the science behind it, and solutions to destructive fishing practices.
Second-year students complete Sustainability Issues and Solutions which focuses on the impact of human activities on a range of living and non-living, renewable and non-renewable natural resources, and developing solutions.
Dr. Nicole Flint is the unit coordinator for Environmental Monitoring which introduces students to coastal and terrestrial fauna and vegetation monitoring and measurement, coastal erosion surveys, and includes baited remote underwater video cameras and measurement of stingray population demographics.
- 'Restoring seagrass resilience in a dynamic seascape: the challenges and the opportunities' was presented by Dr. Emma Jackson, Director of the Coastal Marine Ecosystems Research Centre, as part of the International Seagrass Biology Workshop and World Seagrass Association: Seagrass Seminar Series on 25 August 2021.
- February 2021 Angela Capper presented to the Local Marine Advisory Committee with Amanda Rebar and Ashlee Forshaw on plastic pollution and bringing behaviour change into the equation.
- August 2021 'Surviving on Mars with Seaweed' segment at the CQU STEM area at the World Science Festival Gladstone Community Day. The day saw 1756 visitors to the event. Emma Jackson was one of three guest scientists to talk to over 880 school students and teachers at the World Science Festival Gladstone Student Day, about “Cool jobs”.
- CMERCs research on enhancing the biodiversity of Seawall Habitat was presented by industry partners Gladstone Ports Corporation at the PIANC Virtual Workshop: 'Working with Nature for Climate-Resilient Ports and Waterways' session Sept 14-15, 2021.
- Emma Jackson presented to the Reef Catchments Traditional Owners Reference Group (TORG) includes representatives from Yuwibara, Koinmerburra, Barada Barna, Wiri, Ngaro, and Gia and Juru Peoples. Discussed opportunities and knowledge sharing for seagrass restoration in this region.
CMERC has built on existing research partnerships with:
- state government (Gladstone Ports Corporation, GPC)
- industries (PCIMP, Queensland Alumina Ltd), and
- Natural Resource Managers (Burnett Mary Regional Group, Fitzroy Basin Association and Reef Catchments).
We are also continuing to grow partnerships with First Nations People (Gidarjil Development Corporation) and community (Konomie Island Environmental Education Centre, Tangarora Blue, Conservation Volunteers Australia, Green Army) on multiple research projects, and start new ones (Australian Seaweed Institute, FutureFeed, Great Barrier Reef Foundation, Reef Catchments).
These partnerships have delivered considerable external income to the University, media exposure and have been a mutually beneficial relationship in terms of sharing knowledge, expertise and building local capacity for innovative change.
CMERC members continue to contribute to internal and external committees and advisory boards. Including:
- Fitzroy Partnership for River Health
- Gladstone Healthy Harbour Partnership
- Fitzroy Basin Association
- Independent Science Panel, Fitzroy Partnership for River Health
- Local Marine Advisory Committee for the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park
- Port Curtis Integrated Monitoring Project Technical Scientific Committee
- Gladstone Healthy Harbour Partnership Management Committee and Independent Science Panel
- Rockhampton Regional Council Marine Infrastructure and Fishing Tourism Strategy Reference Group
- Regional REMP Working Group
- Environmental Institute of Australia and New Zealand (EIANZ)
- Australian Council of Environmental Deans and Directors
- Australasian Seagrass Restoration Network
- Global Seagrass Nursery Network
- Australian Meteorology and Oceanographic Society
- Great Sandy Strait Wetlands – Ramsar Management Advisory Group
- Gladstone Local Marine Advisory Committee for the Great Barrier Reef Marine
- Great Barrier Reef Foundation – Burnett Mary Community Action Plan – Steering Committee
- Gladstone Ports Corporation Channel Duplication Stakeholder Reference Group
- Gladstone Ports Corporation, Port of Gladstone - Technical Advisory Consultative Committee
- Gladstone Ports Corporation, Port of Bundaberg - Technical Advisory Consultative Committee
Gidarjil Development Corporation
Gidarjil Development Corporation’s vessel is docked at a pontoon at our Coastal Marine Ecosystems Research Centre (CMERC) and adds to Gidarjil’s existing fleet of four boats that help the Gidarjil Development Corporation Gladstone/Bundaberg Sea Ranger team tackle important environmental issues, land and sea country management and help manage significant cultural heritage sites. CMERC Director Dr Emma Jackson said the integration of modern science and traditional knowledge was a vital component for successful coastal marine ecosystems management.
The Drain Buddies project, led by Dr Angela Capper at our Coastal Marine Ecosystems Research Centre (CMERC), will modify and install microplastic traps across Rockhampton and Livingstone shires, with monitoring to determine where the littering is occurring.
Clean Up Australia Day
More than 150 staff and students stepped up to collect up to one tonne of rubbish at simultaneous Clean Up Australia Day events across all mainland states. The 13 campus locations to participate in the event included Adelaide, Brisbane, Bundaberg, Cairns, Gladstone, Mackay Ooralea and City, Melbourne, Noosa, Perth, Rockhampton, Sydney, and Townsville.
Ditch the Disposables
We launched the sustainability campaign Ditch the Disposables during 2019. The campaign aims to educate staff and students throughout our national footprint about the harmful effects of single-use plastic and encourages them to ultimately ‘ditch the disposables’ because small changes will have a big impact. The University has embarked on a long-term sustainability journey focusing on key areas with the greatest impact demonstrating its commitment to the environment.
- Seawall habitat enhancement – Gladstone Ports Corporation are working with CMERC Researchers and funding two PhD students to examine the viability of creating new intertidal sediment habitat adjacent to reclamation areas, to provide a range of ecosystem services and a more sustainable port.
- Gladstone Healthy Harbour Partnership – CMERC hosted the Gladstone Healthy Harbour Partnership 2021 environmental report card release with presentations by staff and an adjunct staff member.
- RemTech Europe invites CMERC academic to serve as RemTech Ambassador for 2021-2024.
- The Drain Buddies project, led by Dr Angela Capper at the Coastal Marine Ecosystems Research Centre (CMERC), will modify and install microplastic traps across Rockhampton and Livingstone shires, with monitoring to determine where the littering is occurring.
- Healthy fish, healthy harbour – Local television network (WIN TV) interviewed CMERC researcher about mud crab and fish health indicators for the Gladstone Harbour.
- The Capricorn Coast Local Management Advisory Committee has appointed CMERC Principal Research Fellow as research member for three years.
- CMERC hosted a Caring for Oiled Wildlife Course by Incident Response Unit, Environmental Services and Regulation Division, Department of Environment and Science. CMERC staff, major Gladstone industries (including GPC) and community groups attended.
- Girls STEM Camp – we hosted over 40 female high school students from account the region and on Curtis Island, promoting courses and seagrass restoration research. CMERC researchers ran an activity with the Boyne Island Environmental Education Centre.
- CMERC researchers represented our University at Oceanfest 2021 with displays about seagrass restorations and microplastics research activities.
- CMERC researchers presented a “Surviving on Mars with Seaweed” segment at the CQU STEM area at the World Science Festival Gladstone Community Day, which saw 1756 visitors to the event.
- CMERC researcher was one of three guest scientists to talk to over 880 school students and teachers at the World Science Festival Gladstone Student Day, about “Cool jobs”. The session also included the students visiting the CQU STEM Mission to Mars and Q and A with science celebrity Dr Karl.
- 2021 STEM Expo - Resource of Educators – CMERC Researchers and RHD Students held a stall at the event for Coastal and Marine Science. The STEM Expo is held annually for Gladstone STEM Educators and Community Members with an interest in Citizen Science.
- Future Leaders Eco Challenge (FLEC) – FLEC is an annual reef education event hosted by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) with our university taking part. The event aims to see students, teachers, their communities and local environmental agencies make positive environmental changes for the marine environment.
- Professional Learning for Educators (Page 17) – CMERC engaged with three local groups - primary and secondary school teachers and teaching students on Quoin Island. CMERC assisted with the discussion and practice of scientific surveying methods and interpreting the relevance to students of all ages.
- CMERC held a stand at the 2021 Ecofest demonstrating seagrass restoration and microplastic research. The event saw over 5,000 people through the gates.
- CMERC collaborated with international seagrass community to produce the Seagrass Restoration Handbook to aid practitioners to undertake seagrass restoration. CMERC contributed to the chapters on public engagement and communications for restoration; Seagrass Restoration in Practice, and Getting Started: Restoration Project design, planning, permitting, licensing and funding.
- CMERC and seagrass researchers from Melbourne, Wales, Netherlands, Spain and Plymouth formed the Global Seagrass Nursery Network, to share seagrass nursery research across the globe through a series of workshops, seminars and the development of protocols.
As outlined in the Procurement and Policy and Procedure, we are committed to protecting the environment and doing business with ethical and sustainably responsible suppliers during all stages of the procurement process. Buyers must plan, identify, and integrate the practice of sustainability into the procurement of goods and/or services. Preference should be given to environmentally preferable goods and services that have a lower impact on the environment over the life cycle of the good or service, when compared with competing goods or services serving the same purpose.
Sustainability remains a key priority as we look to an increasingly complex future. Our Sustainability Annual Report provides an open account of our sustainability performance. It also demonstrates our support, commitment, and progress against the principles of the United Nations Global Development Goals.
Part of our Sustainability goals revolve around the efficient use of water and minimising any wastage as one of our most precious resources.
SHORT TERM GOAL: Develop and implement an awareness campaign on water conservation tips with students, teachers, staff and visitors.
As part of our education roll out further information will be provided against this activity supported by Plastic Free CQ and Rockhampton Regional Council.
SHORT TERM GOAL: Establish a baseline usage of water consumption for the University.
The Water Metering and Monitoring project is being delivered with new metering across the Rockhampton campus. This continues to track our daily, weekly, and yearly water consumption.
SHORT TERM GOAL: Implement 5‐star water efficiency rated equipment to all new campus buildings and upgrade of existing building stock to reduce water demand.
Efficiency rated equipment has been Incorporated into the design manual for new buildings.
SHORT TERM GOAL: Actively check and adjust water irrigation systems to minimise wasted water.
Department of Facilities Management (DFM) grounds crew currently carry out this service through annual inspections, data capture though our water meters further advise DFM of leeks or unexpected over consumption.
LONG TERM GOAL: Offset the usage of council supplied potable water by devising water conserving landscapes and buildings.
DFM continues to achieve this goal with the further purchase of rainwater tanks and pumps that will be installed across the campus. Locations suitable for the Grounds crews use will further off set potable water use for activities related to turf and weed management.
LONG TERM GOAL: Offset the usage of council supplied potable water by devising water conserving landscapes and buildings.
The work on the long-term Water Management Plan is underway.
LONG TERM GOAL: Increase the capture of rainwater through various techniques like rainwater tanks.
Several water tanks with a total capacity of 200,000 litres and electric pumps have been purchased and will provide future savings across potable water usage whilst providing large storage volumes for future use.
LONG TERM GOAL: Install water recycling plants and the use of grey water for appropriate use.
Funding cuts have put this goal on hold, opportunities are being investigated.
LONG TERM GOAL: Convert a major sporting ground to synthetic turf, eliminating the need for watering and mowing. Install catchment of the runoffs water into underground tanks.
This goal is under further investigation as it has been raised that activities with synthetic turf have demonstrated issues arise with regards to microplastics.
KPI: Capture water consumption through annual reports supplied via benchmarking activities with the Tertiary Education Facilities Management Association (TEFMA).
Benchmarking activities continue to track our water usage across our campus footprint, this is an ongoing activity the information gathered on usage informs water usage plans that target areas that consume large volumes of water.
KPI: Increased rainwater tank capacity.
Increased water tank capacity has been realised. Roll out placement and fitting of these tanks and water pumps are scheduled for 2022.
KPI: The volume of grey water utilised annually.
No action during 2021 due to restricted funding.
Other examples of how we demonstrated our commitment to sustainability
- The DFM Sustainability Team purchased 8 x 25,000 litre water tanks and pumps to collect and store water for future use.
- New buildings will be fitted with 5-star energy rating appliances.
- Smart water meters (utilises water metering) capture daily water usage across the Rockhampton Campus. This data forms part of an investigation to further analyse and reduce our potable water consumption across the campus.
- Baseline water consumption monitoring by DFM continues to quantify our water use and further investigations towards reductions in water use are ongoing.
Our Sustainability Framework outlines the short and long term goals to achieve our Sustainability Goals. These are broken into nine elements with the following elements relating to SDG 14 Life Below Water:
- Research (Page 7)
- Waste (Page 8)
- Water (Page 11)
- Biodiversity (Page 14)
In 2019, the Fitzroy Basin Association commissioned a review of the previously written Fitzroy Water Quality Improvement Plan (WQIP:2015) reports ensuring the plan utilises the best available science and data. The update ensures the Fitzroy Region’s project management continues to maximise the public benefits of investment and maximise the reduction of both sediment and nutrient runoff to the Reef.
The WQIP:2015 shows how we can improve regional water quality to protect our waterways and ultimately the Great Barrier Reef. WQIP:2015 sets out the priorities for improving water quality, including describing the coastal and marine ecosystems and species that are at risk from poor water quality; identifying catchment ‘hot spots’ of soil erosion and nutrient run-off that are the source of water quality problems; understanding how land management practices and habitat restoration can reduce the risk of water quality problems; and finding the most cost-effective ways to reduce water quality risks.
Our university was a Delivery Partner/Consultant in the following studies for the WQIP.
Status of catchment, coastal and marine ecosystems
- State of the coastal and marine environment review
Scoping and risk assessment of water quality issues
- Synthesis of water quality influences in ports of the Fitzroy region, Queensland
- Bioeconomic modelling and Neighbourhood Catchments prioritisation
- Synthesis of science for future prioritisation approaches in the Fitzroy Basin
- Extension and Impact
The Code of Conduct for Research in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park outlines our ongoing commitment to improving practices and standards in all activities undertaken in the Marine Park to help protect the Great Barrier Reef. This document establishes the minimum requirements for the proper conduct of research within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. This Code of Conduct is also supported by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Operating Procedure.
The Contractor Occupational Health and Safety Management Procedure outlines the determinants all individuals must take to minimise environmental harm associated with all activities they undertake including the potential pollution actions may incur (Refer Clause 3.8). This outlines that all individuals must take reasonable steps to minimise environmental harm associated with all activities they undertake. To determine what measures should be taken, a person should consider:
- the nature of any potential pollution
- the sensitivity of the environment where the pollution may end up
- financial implications of the actions
- the current technology available
- the likelihood of success of the implemented actions.