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Wildlife Region

Lady Elliot Island

Eco Initiatives

Operating an island resort 80km out to sea presents a multitude of challenges on a daily basis. The island generates its own power, desalinates seawater for drinking purposes, maintains a waste water treatment plant and recycles the majority of its rubbish. The Resort has gained a wealth of knowledge in these technologies and has set new benchmarks for sustainable tourism on the Great Barrier Reef.

The Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort is dedicated to the preservation of the natural environment of the Great Barrier Reef. Island Management has reduced energy consumption and carbon emissions by introducing a combination of solar and gas technology, water desalination and various strategic behavioural adaptations on the island. 

  • The Eco Resort’s transition to renewable energy was spearheaded by the construction in 2008 of a large Hybrid Solar Power Station, which together with station upgrades, additional solar panels (resulting in over 300 solar panels in total positioned around the island) directly feeding the island’s power grid and ongoing energy efficiency efforts, has reduced the resort’s use of diesel fuel from over 500 litres a day to less than 160 litres a day. This has resulted in a reduction of in CO2 emissions by 70%.

  • The water supply on Lady Elliot Island is created by a Dunlop IBC reverse osmosis desalination system converting sea water to pristine clean fresh water. Originally, the system produced water at a rate of 14 litres per minute, 24 hours per day, however, after a lot of improvement we have managed to consistently achieve 25 litres per minute. Since construction of the Hybrid Solar Power Station on the island, water is now supplied courtesy of the sun!
  • The current management were instrumental in Lady Elliot's waters being declared a designated ‘Green Zone’ (the highest category of protection available). Since that time of declaration in 2005, the marine biodiversity has flourished and is now approaching levels of marine wildlife similar to what it was prior to when fishing and spear fishing were permitted in the area.

  • In conjunction with Great Barrier Reef Marine Protection Authority (GBRMPA), Lady Elliot Island has developed the first dedicated Climate Change Trail and Tour around the island to highlight the impacts that climate change could have on a coral cay eco system.

  • A low-maintenance, efficient wastewater treatment plant was installed in 2012 which produces high quality treated water for vegetation irrigation and is compliant with best practice.


Reef Monitoring Activities

  • One of the easiest ways guests can get involved is to download the Eye on the Reef app and share photos of what was seen out on the Reef.  This can be anything from wildlife (including protected species,) to pests like Crown-of-thorns Starfish or marine pollution, to special events like coral spawning. 

  • Reef users with a little more time and experience may want to get more involved and use an underwater monitoring slate to record more specific keystone species and crucial reef health observations. This is called the Rapid Monitoring Survey and observations can be uploaded through an online webpage for submission to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.
  • All information collected through the Eye on the Reef program is combined in a single data management and reporting system (Eye on the Reef Survey Activity map). This data provides Marine Park managers and researchers with up-to- date information on reef health status and trends, the distribution of protected and iconic species, and early warnings of environmental impacts. The data is available to all registered users.