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One Reef

Mobilising community to make a tangible and practical difference to the health of the Great Barrier Reef

Why the Great Barrier Reef?

In 1981 the Great Barrier Reef was recognized for its outstanding universal value, and listed as a World Heritage Site.

A Wetlands & Catchment Approach

Reinstating priority wetlands and catchments within the Great Barrier Reef will make a tangible difference to the health of the Great Barrier Reef.

The Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest coral reef, home over 3000 coral reefs, 1600 species of fish and 600 types of soft coral. It is one of the most diverse and remarkable ecosystems in the entire world. The Great Barrier Reef is facing increasing pressures from declining marine water quality, influenced by land-based run-off. This is one of the most significant threats to the long-term health and resilience of the Great Barrier Reef.

ONE REEF provides on ground solutions in line with the recommendations of Queensland and Australian governments and Natural Resource Management groups.

Together we can act now to help make a tangible and practical difference to the health of the Great Barrier Reef.


Healthy Wetlands

10-year outcomes: Significant wetland systems are re-established, water quality is improved and coastal connectivity is re-established across the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.

Target by 2020: Volunteers undertake annual maintenance, rehabilitation and ecological monitoring at 10 regionally significant and priority wetlands within the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.

Wetland Waterlily


Healthy Catchments

10-year outcomes: Critical catchments are restored within the 35 Great Barrier Reef Catchments.

Targets by 2020: Engage 3,000 community volunteers to restore and monitor 10 priority catchments.

Cape Tribulation Mangroves


Engaged Communities

10-year outcomes: Through Community Conservation Hubs attract and manage volunteers to undertake priority conservation activities, undertake training, and build capacity and community resilience.

Targets by 2020: Establish four Community Conservation Hubs to undertake priority conservation activities, and manage one million volunteer hours.

Volunteer group


Training and Capacity Building

10-year outcomes: Communities and landholders are appropriately trained, aware and engaged, and can proactively respond to the challenges facing the Great Barrier Reef.

Targets by 2020: Establish a ONE REEF Training certification that assists landholders, community volunteers and NRM professionals in the management of priority conservation activities in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.

CVA Workers


Healthy Communities, Healthy Reef

10-year outcomes: Community nurseries are operating throughout the Great Barrier Reef Catchments, and are inspiring change by connecting community with nature.

Targets by 2020: Establish four community nurseries to collect, propagate, grow and sell plants to individuals, groups and organisations to increase whole of community involvement in conservation activities.

Native Skink


ONE REEF Projects in Action

Conservation Volunteers Australia works with landholders, community members and government to provide practical, measurable and tangible difference to the health and resilience of the Great Barrier Reef. Here are just a few examples of our projects:

Barratta Creek and Bowling Green Bay Ramsar Site, QLD

We’ve worked with local partners to revegetate this critical habitat with over 30,000 local native plants. The project has improved the connectivity of wildlife corridors, increased diversity of species, and protected stream-banks from erosion. This project is assisted with funding from the Australian Government.

Great Barrier Reef Wetlands & Coastal Ecosystems, QLD

Conservation Volunteers Australia has partnered with Greening Australia, BirdLife Australia, the Department of the Environment and the community to improve wetland and coastal ecosystem health and connectivity. Through on-ground conservation actions, community and school education programs and support, we’re improving water quality entering the Great Barrier Reef in the West Haughton and Palm Creek Catchments.

Townsville Town Common, QLD

The Town Common is filled with deep-water lagoons, seasonal wetlands, coastal woodlands and sheltered beaches. Up to 280 bird species have been recorded in the area. Magpie geese, brolgas and many others gather here to feed and nest, particularly as the wetlands dry out and food sources become concentrated in the remaining lagoons. Volunteers revegetate wetlands to improve water quality and manage invasive weed species to foster natural regeneration.

Why we need to act

Without exception, all of the 35 catchments draining to the Reef have wetlands in poor condition, and a significant number of wetlands have been lost entirely to development across the floodplains. This situation must change for the health of the Reef to improve.

ONE REEF is an initiative that harnesses the strength of partners, communities and volunteers to repair and reinstate priority wetlands and catchments of the Great Barrier Reef. These restored wetlands will absorb pollutants, trap sediments and cycle nutrients before they enter the creeks and rivers that would otherwise deliver these detrimental substances to the Reef. Only a range of varied and healthy wetlands and catchments have the ability to filter the vast influx of water leaving the 424,000km2 of coastal Queensland that drains into the Great Barrier Reef.

Conservation Volunteers is taking action

Partnerships: Work in partnership with site managers, Councils,community “care” groups, government agencies, and corporate sponsors

Assessment and planning: Undertake wetland and waterway assessments and prepare site action plans for rehabilitation

Citizen Science: Monitor water quality, vegetation condition, marine debris, shorebird indicator species

Education and Engagement: Educate local communities to value and protect wetlands. Recruit, train and manage volunteers in practical on-ground
conservation activities

On-ground restoration: Weed control, erosion control, rubbish removal, nutrient and pollution control, revegetation

Training and Technology: Accredited and non-accredited training via our Registered Training Organisation. Smart phone and tablet data portals for site monitoring and reporting

ONE REEF Community Hubs

ONE REEF Community Conservation Hubs bring together like-minded organisations and groups invested in working together to the mutual benefit of all, and the Great Barrier Reef.

ONE REEF Hubs will boost existing delivery and capacity – we believe that more can be achieved together than alone and acknowledge the value of collaboration in achieving outcomes beyond those that can be achieved by any single agency or organisation.

To discuss wetland partnership opportunities please contact our ONE REEF Manager

Together we can ensure the wetlands supporting the Great Barrier Reef continue to survive.


Contact your nearest Conservation Volunteers Australia office to find out about local volunteer opportunities.


Would you like to give Australia’s Wildlife a wild future? You can do so by donating through our secure online system.


By volunteering on one of our field projects, you can make a practical contribution and help .