How Can We Help Great Barrier Reef?

Great Barrier Reef Foundation

The Great Barrier Reef is an irreplaceable ecosystem, home to thousands of species of marine life including fish, dolphins and six of the world’s seven species of marine turtle.

But our Reef and coral reefs around the world are facing a growing combination of threats. Climate change and rising water temperatures, poor water quality from sediment run-off and pollution, as well as more severe cyclones and crown-of-thorns starfish outbreaks, are just some of the threats creating a perfect storm for our Reef and the marine life that depend on it.

Protecting our Reef is a huge task, but by working together, there is hope.

Discover more about our work and how you too can join the fight for a healthy, thriving Reef.

Protecting our ocean habitats

The 1,050 islands and 2,300km of coastal wetland ecosystems along the Great Barrier Reef support some of the highest biodiversity on the planet and store carbon up to 50 times more efficiently than tropical rainforests.

But we’ve lost half our coastal wetlands since European settlement, and our islands are under increasing pressure from climate change.

We must work to protect these vital habitats, through restoration and regrowth. Projects focused on revegetating islands with native tree species, establishing seagrass nurseries and monitoring the ongoing health of vulnerable species are critical steps in this restoration journey.

Landholders within Reef catchments also play a crucial role in Reef health. Improving the quality of water entering our Reef from inland and coastal rivers systems is one of the biggest impacts we can make locally for the health of our Reef. Our regional water quality programs are helping to reduce the amount of nitrogen, sediment and pesticides reaching our Reef from priority catchments by restoring catchments and improving farming and land management practices.

Restoring our existing reefs

Coral reefs are the beating heart of our oceans. They provide nurseries and food for a quarter of all marine life and sustain a billion people worldwide. But coral reefs are the most vulnerable ecosystem on the planet. If ocean temperatures rise as predicted, we could lose them in our lifetime.

Finding solutions that protect and safeguard the corals themselves is critical. That’s why we’re investing in the science and the scientists to build a world-leading toolkit of coral restoration solutions. The goal is to plant healthy, heat toelrant corals at unprecedented scale. This will help to both build the resilience of what we have and also restore reefs that may already be damaged.

We can also help corals by keeping their predators – like crown-of-thorns starfish (COTS) – at bay. In normal numbers on healthy coral reefs, COTS are an important part of the ecosystem. However, when the coral-eating starfish appear in outbreak proportions, the impact on coral reefs can be disastrous. We work with our partners to manage any current COTS outbreaks and find innovative and scalable ways to address this key threat into the future.

Building resilient reef communities

We’ve been working to engage more than 30,000 community members in over 46,000 volunteer hours as part of Australia’s largest community Reef effort. And it’s just the beginning.

We know that genuine co-design and co-delivery partnerships with Traditional Owners and Reef communities result in better, stronger and more enduring outcomes. Reef Traditional Owners have been caring for land and sea Country for more than 60,000 years, using Traditional Knowledge passed down through ancestral lines for millennia.

We simply cannot achieve our ambitions if we do not walk in step with Reef Traditional Owners and other communities who rely on the Reef for their livelihood.

Play your part in the fight for our Reef

It’s not too late to protect coral reefs and the marine life that calls them home, but our window to act is closing.

This is the critical decade for bold, decisive action. We’re already making an impact, but there is a lot more work to be done. We encourage all Australians to join the fight and discover more about our projects, visit the Reef and even spearhead your own fundraising initiative.

Your support can help save endangered marine species, find solutions to major threats facing our Reef like coral bleaching and crown-of-thorns starfish and enable vital research that helps managers protect our Reef.

Donate today

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