Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Protected Area Grows

The protection of the Great Barrier Reef has been further boosted by the addition of 140 islands or parts thereof within the marine park to Queensland’s protected areas estate.

The additional lands, with a combined total of 1,390 hectares, form part of the Great Barrier Reef Island Arks project.

The project increases reef island protection, by acquiring or transferring high conservation value islands, or parts thereof, to add to Queensland’s protected area estate, ensuring endangered and of-concern ecosystems and habitat for important species such as green and flatback turtles, seabirds and shorebirds are protected for future generations.

Lands secured under this project contain significant conservation values, and their dedication as protected area estate ensures their ecological values are preserved.

The additional areas are secured by purchasing leasehold properties, including non-operational leases, and land reserves adjacent to national parks, and by transferring ecologically valuable unallocated state land to protected area estate.

The Great Barrier Reef Island Arks project complements the acquisition of the 1,600ha Spadely Station on Curtis Island late last year.

The purchase of Spadely Station, hailed as a win by the state’s conservation groups, ensures ongoing protection for Curtis Island’s estuarine wetlands, migratory bird habitat, threatened fauna species and nesting habitat for the vulnerable flatback turtle.

Queensland’s terrestrial protected areas currently cover more than 14.5 million hectares or 8.39% of the state’s total land area.

In addition to dedicating these islands as protected area, the Great Barrier Reef Island Arks project is also funding, where necessary, their rehabilitation.