North Queensland Flooding Causes Sediment Pollution to Great Barrier Reef

Sediment pollution from the north Queensland floods washed into the waters of the Great Barrier Reef.

In a media release, James Cook University’s TropWater department said the Burdekin River’s flood plume had hit the delicate reef system.

“The images show the sediment laden waters of the Burdekin River flood plume extending out to Old Reef on the midshelf of the central Great Barrier Reef, approximately 32 nautical miles (or 60km) offshore. More recent satellite images show the plume moving beyond these mid shelf reefs to offshore areas approaching the outer shelf reefs.”

The University said it was monitoring water quality in the flood aftermath.

“The potential impacts of the plume in the short term include reduced light from both sediment particles and increased algal growth from nutrient enrichment which is detrimental to health of seagrass and coral reef ecosystems, and in more severe circumstances, potential smothering of ecosystems on the bottom depending on the depth and conditions.” Credit: Tropwater JCU via Storyful