Reef Guardian Council


Rockhampton Regional Council is part of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority’s Reef Guardian Council program, which involves 18 councils along the Queensland coast working to support a healthy and resilient Reef through local government and community actions.

The Rockhampton Region includes extensive wetlands, creeks and river systems covering some 407km2 or 6% of our total area. The Fitzroy River is the region’s major waterway and the largest river catchment flowing to the Great Barrier Reef lagoon.

The Reef Guardian Council stewardship program recognises the good environmental work councils and communities are doing to help the Great Barrier Reef. Each year, Council reviews its activities to identify potential improvement opportunities. Council’s progress is monitored via the Environmental Sustainability Strategy annual action plan and reported via the annual Sustainability Highlights Report.

Recent Reef Guardian Highlights

Drain Buddies - What's down our drains project

The ‘What’s Down Our Drains?’ project has seen a total of 27 at-source litter traps, known as Drain Buddies, installed in litter hotspot locations around three Local Government Areas (LGAs) within the Fitzroy Catchment. The purpose of this project has been to prevent and identify land-based sources of marine debris polluting Rockhampton, Gladstone, and Yeppoon’s waterways and the Great Barrier Reef. The project was initiated as part of the Local Action Community Reef Protection Grant ($30,000), funded by the partnership between the Australian Government’s Reef Trust and the Great Barrier Reef Foundation and delivered collaboratively by local community organisations. Overall, the 27 Drain Buddies prevented 27,191 pieces of litter, 721 kg of pollutants and 13,828 cigarette butts from entering the Great Barrier Reef.

Environmental Sustainability Strategy

Rockhampton Regional Council has developed an Environmental Sustainability Strategy that provides a vision, shared objectives and pathways to advance sustainability across our region. The strategy delivers on our vision for a sustainable future through four interconnected pathways that together guide our approach to protect our natural environment, empower our community to live more sustainably, enhance the liveability of our region, and ensure we use our resources more wisely. The pathways identified in the strategy are supported by a range of strategic actions that the council will lead during the period 2018-22. 

Biocontrol partnerships to protect our waterways

Council has been developing ways to effectively combat aquatic pest plants such as water hyacinth, salvinia and water lettuce. Thanks to a collaborative partnership between Council and Fitzroy Basin Association, Council's biocontrol program has been expanded and made available to local landholders. Biocontrol weevils help to control the growth of pest plants that damage native ecosystems, reduce fish habitat, affect water flow and block access to water for stock and wildlife. The expansion gives Council the opportunity to share technique and samples with private landholders facing this issue and to develop targeted approaches for their particular waterways.

FRW achieves 100% reuse of biosolids

Biosolids are a major by-product of the sewage treatment process. By implementing new operational arrangements and obtaining regulatory approvals, Fitzroy River Water is now making biosolids produced at its sewage treatment plants available to end users, which avoids disposal of this beneficial resource to landfill. The approach has achieved 100% reuse of biosolids on an annual basis, with most of the material used to amend soil on agricultural land south of Gavial Creek in the Port Curtis part of our region.

Riparian Corridor Management Study

The Riparian Corridor management Study assessed the geomorphology, aquatic ecology and terrestrial vegetation to develop a holistic restoration strategy. The study recommended a number of interventions, including revegetation, structural works and stormwater management measures to restore the creeks. These recommendations have been prioritised to allow Council to phase the implementation of these works.

Partnering for river health

Council continues to participate in the Fitzroy Partnership for River Health - a collective of government, agriculture, resources, industry, research and community interests across the Fitzroy Basin in Central Queensland. Through funding, resources and data-sharing arrangements, the partnership works together to provide a more complete picture on river health. As part of the partnership, Council continues to support the popular annual Tilapia Terminator and Wetland Care Day, assisting with local community education activities, water quality monitoring, fish assessment and a waterbug blitz. View the Fitzroy Partnership for River Health Report Cards.

View the Rockhampton Regional Council 2018-2019 Sustainability Highlights Report
View the Rockhampton Regional Council Reef Guardian 2017-18 Highlight Report(PDF, 576KB)  
View the Rockhampton Regional Council Reef Guardian 2016-17 Highlight Report(PDF, 754KB)
View the Rockhampton Regional Council Reef Guardian 2015-16 Highlight Report(PDF, 724KB)
View the Rockhampton Regional Council Reef Guardian 2014-15 Highlight Report(PDF, 323KB)