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The influence of a season of extreme wet weather events on exposure of the World Heritage Area Great Barrier Reef to pesticides
journal contributionposted on 06.12.2017, 00:00 by K Kennedy, M Devlin, K Martin, Alison Jones, R Packett, J Mueller, C Bentley, K Lee-Chue, C Paxman, S Carter
The 2010–2011 wet season was one of extreme weather for the State of Queensland, Australia. Major rivers adjacent to the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) were discharging at rates 1.5 to >3 times higher than their long term median. Exposure to photosystem II herbicides has been routinely monitored over a period of up to 5 years at 12 inshore GBR sites. The influence of this wet season on exposure to photosystem II herbicides was examined in the context of this long-term monitoring record and during flood plume events in specific regions. Median exposures expressed as diuron equivalent concentration were an average factor of 2.3 times higher but mostly not significantly different (p < 0.05) to the median for the longterm monitoring record. The herbicides metolachlor and tebuthiuron were frequently detected in flood plume waters at concentrations that reached or exceeded relevant water quality guidelines (by up to 4.5 times).