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Each year more than two million people visit the Great Barrier Reef. For many Reef users, the public face of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park’s management effort is the field officers they meet when they’re out on the water or on an island.

Field officers are crucial to the management of the World Heritage Area. This includes making sure there is up-to-date regional and site-specific information for visitors, education groups and commercial users on how to enjoy the Reef responsibly.

Facilities such as public moorings, reef protection markers, campgrounds, picnic areas and amenities, walking tracks and lookouts are there to ensure everyone can have a great time out on the Reef and its islands while looking after them for future visitors.

The Field Management Program maintains 127 reef protection markers where there is no anchoring allowed and 128 public use moorings. This infrastructure protects the Reef where anchoring would otherwise damage the fragile reefs visitors come to enjoy and facilitates use at sites where visitation is high.

They also look after 163 kilometres of walking track, 111 campgrounds, 21 boardwalks and lookouts and 15 kilometres of public roads. These well-constructed visitor facilities provide safety and enjoyment to visitors and help protect the environment from human impacts.

Further information about island national parks is available at the Queensland Department of National Parks, Sport and Racing. Here you can obtain information about the natural and cultural values and the facilities of the island you are visiting.

Some islands in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area are Commonwealth Islands that are subject to private lease arrangements, Department of Defence activities or are managed by a caretaker. These islands have additional management arrangements in place.

Building the resilience of the Great Barrier Reef is central to the long-term future of this great natural wonder. Given the Reef’s size and complexity, we need to ensure environmental protection while allowing people to benefit through its sustainable use.

Through the Great Barrier Reef Intergovernmental Agreement, the Australian and Queensland governments have been working together for the long-term management of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

Keeping the Reef healthy requires a collaborative effort. Reef protection and management is a partnership between many government agencies, Traditional Owners, stakeholders and community members, with activities both on the water and in the catchment.

 

Out on the water, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and the Queensland Department of Environment and Science, through the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service, operate a joint field management program for the marine and island national parks, encompassing the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and the Great Barrier Reef Coast Marine Park.

The field team delivers practical on-ground actions to protect and maintain well-functioning marine and island ecosystems that support the Great Barrier Reef's economic, traditional and recreational uses.

  • Their work involves:

  • conservation and monitoring
  • incident response
  • welcoming visitors
  • upholding compliance.

Find out more about the Reef Joint Field Management Program’s direction and activities for 2020–21 by reading the Annual Business Plan Summary.

More than 348,000 square kilometres of coral reef and its surrounds make up the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area — an area the Reef Joint Field Management Program has been protecting for more than 40 years in on-ground, practical ways.

The Program is run jointly by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and the Queensland Department of Environment and Science, through the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service.

We strive to bring the work of this program closer to partners, stakeholders and the community. We invite you to view the first issue of Insight Stories — a biannual magazine featuring exciting case studies of the Reef Joint Field Management Program. Enjoy the read!

Find out more about the Reef Joint Field Management Program’s five-year strategic direction by downloading the Business Strategy summary 2021–25.

Previous summaries:

Compliance and zoning with the Reef Authority and Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service – Australia - © QPWS - Photographer: Victor Huertas
Bird surveying with the Joint Field Management Program – Australia - © QPWS - Photographer: Victor Huertas
Reef joint field management program divers – Australia - © QPWS - Photographer: Victor Huertas
Compliance management – Australia - © QPWS - Photographer: Victor Huertas

Field Management Program video

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Created Tue, 2022-08-23 14:13
Updated 24 Aug 2022
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