Reef Catchments, along with 52 other Regional NRM organisations across Australia, has received funding from the Federal Government to update their regional NRM Plan in light of climate change. This process will be aligned with the Principles for the NRM Planning for Climate Change Fund http://www.environment.gov.au/cleanenergyfuture/regional-fund/about.html
The three principles are:
- Plans identify priority landscapes for carbon plantings and strategies to build landscape integrity and guide adaptation and mitigation actions to address climate change impacts on natural ecosystems
- Planning process is logical, comprehensive, and transparent
- Plans use best available information to develop actions and are based on collaboration with government, community and other stakeholders
Reef Catchments have already commenced the process of collating spatial datasets to assist in identifying parts of the landscape that would benefit from carbon plantings or strategies (e.g. weed control) to improve the integrity and resilience of ecosystems in the Mackay Whitsunday Isaac region. Existing carbon stores (soils, terrestrial and marine vegetation) will be examined to identify trends to date and where there is potential to increase carbon storage. Areas at increased risk under projected climate change scenarios (sea level rise, increased intensity of extreme events etc.) will also be identified. Natural systems provide ecosystem services but can also mitigate the impacts from extreme weather events such as cyclones, flooding and storm surges; this will be an important component in updating the NRM Plan.
Once the datasets are compiled, this information will be provided to the community for their input and to capture aspirations for the future of the region.