Protected and repaired freshwater and marine systems


Cape York has vast, connected and highly valuable aquatic and marine systems that need protection from multiple climate change impacts. This pathway will include improving knowledge on water systems through engagement with community, monitoring and improving models, supporting Indigenous groups access to country, coordinating across catchments and promoting agricultural planning for the sustainable management of water resources.

The pathway aligns with the east and west Cape York Water Quality Improvement Planning processes.

How was it identified?

Cape York is characterised by water - from the marine and coastal systems, fresh water systems and wet season deluges. The activities in this theme were identified during engagement with community for the Regional Investment Strategy, Your Climate engagement and development of the Water Quality Improvement Plan. Aquatic and marine systems also feature heavily in the Stream 2 reports.

  • Document the values of water systems with Indigenous and non-Indigenous landholders.
  • Synthesise monitoring and research results to understand the systems, including water quality, soil quality, erosion and flood plumes.
  • Conduct workshops and 'walking the landscape' project.
  • Synthesise science and systems conceptual models to inform the management of these sytems.
  • Conduct catchment-level and subregional planning for water quality, use and biodiversity conservation.
  • Use the Water Quality Improvement Plan and targets as a guide to engage people and seek funding and resources.
  • Support a Cape York Catchments to Coral Partnership with a structured approach with five working groups for urban, roads, grazing, agriculture and nature and cultural conservation.
  • Run condition assessments of pastures, wetlands, rivers, coastal and marine systems.
  • Document species diversity, condition and knowledge of the northern section of the east coast catchments.
  • Collectively implement catchment-level actions to maintain the health of waterways and catchments, including managing pasture condition, gully erosion, fire management, feral animals, weeds, soil health, chemical application and waste treatment.
  • Establish a small grants program that supports land managers and groups to implement activities for improved management practices.
  • Use a staged approach to implementation by focusing on high priority actions that make best use of local capacity and resources in the north, central and southern sections of the east coast catchments.