Terrain Natural Resource Management
2019 Innovation Name: Reef Credit Scheme
Awards: 10th Most Innovative Government, Education & Not-For-Profit Company
The Reef Credits Scheme is a JV between Terrain NRM, GreenCollar and NQ Dry Tropics. Reef Credits generate an income for farmers when they change farming practices to reduce pollutants flowing to the Great Barrier Reef. The concept is similar to the Carbon Credit market, but instead of planting trees or preventing deforestation to reduce greenhouse gases, Reef Credits pay to prevent pollution from fertiliser, pesticides and sediment from entering waterways. Farmers’ projects are audited and payment is based on actual achievements. This will diversify farm income over a 10-25 year timeframe.
Reef Credits are an attractive investment option for government, corporate and philanthropists who wish to help protect the Reef. Investors buy verified improvements and a quantifiable contribution toward the water quality targets. Credits are only issued when results are delivered and audited, guaranteeing a credible improvement to the Great Barrier Reef. Reef Credits is an ecosystem service payment – an innovative approach to nature conservation that recognises the need to reward people for making changes for a public benefit. It describes the mechanisms by which beneficiaries, in this case, healthy rivers, good water quality and the Great Barrier Reef, reward those whose lands provide these services. This approach has never been used for reef water quality in Australia.