Overview of the BBB catchment

THIS is an overview of the characteristics of the BBB catchment relevant to the design of the Burdekin MIP (BMIP). A Synthesis Report (refer Volume V) provides more detailed information on the BBB catchment. In summary:

  • The BBB catchment covers an area of 11,718 km2, which is 8.3 per cent of the Burdekin River Basin.
  • The dominant land use is grazing (92%). Designated conservation areas, including national park and state forest, exist in the southern ridges of the Broken sub-catchment (8% of total Catchment area). There is significant open-cut mining (coal) operating in the region, particularly around the town of Collinsville.
  • There are 71 grazing properties (either located partially or fully) in the BBB catchment, of which 63 grazing enterprises are more than 2000ha, and of these, five are owned by mining companies (300,000ha) and one by the Indigenous Land Council. Two properties are owned by government (100,000ha).
  • Tenure in the catchment is dominated by leasehold land (73%), with around 16 per cent freehold land.
  • The BBB catchment sits across four regional council areas. A majority of the catchment is within the Whitsunday Regional Council area, with a small proportion of the Bogie sub-catchment in the Burdekin Shire Council area, a small area of the Little Bowen River sub-catchment within the Isaac Regional Council area, and small parts of the Broken River sub-catchment in the Mackay Regional Council area.
  • The BBB catchment includes parts of the Bowen Broken Bogie Geological basin. As at December 2015, there were four operating coal mines in the Pelican Creek and Rosella Creek sub-catchments, and one operating gold mine in the Bogie sub-catchment. There are also seven unidentified operating mines Department of Natural Resources and Mines (DNRM), ‘Mines on line’ accessed, 2015; business.qld.gov.au/industry/mining/mining-online-services/mines-online) and 119 abandoned mines in the catchment.
  • The major population centre is Collinsville/Scottville, with an estimated population of 1,830 people (Queensland Government Statisticians Office, 2016). A sewage treatment plant (<5,000 equivalent persons) services the centre, discharging ~0.33 ML per day of treated wastewater to Pelican Creek. The public water supply is from the Bowen River Weir.
  • The BBB catchment can be divided into seven major sub-catchments including the Bogie River, Bowen River, Broken River, Glenmore Creek, Little Bowen River, Pelican Creek and Rosella Creek. Waterways vary between largely sandy, dry ephemeral creek systems to permanently flowing clearwater rivers and creeks that originate in mountain rainforest.
  • Among the BBB sub-catchments, the modelling indicates that the rate of erosion is particularly high in the Bowen River, Little Bowen, Bogie and Pelican Creek sub-catchments. The estimates for the Broken River sub-catchment are considered to be an overestimate in the model due to limitations in estimating the cover factor in forested areas (C. Dougall, pers. comm.) and should not be ranked as a priority sub-catchment for sediment management.

Scientist Andrew Brooks (left) and Department of Agriculture and Fisheries extension officer bob Shepherd during the design phase of the project

Sub-catchments in the Bowen, Bogie, Broken catchment, the area in which the Landholders Driving Change project operates

Pictured at the Cairns launch of the two Major Integrated Projects are (from left) Exevale Station graziers Darcy and Buster O’Loughlin, then Minister for the Environment Dr Steven Miles, and CEO NQ Dry Tropics Dr Scott Crawford

Gullies more likely in dispersive soilsPress Release - May 10, 2017

Gully expert, Associate Professor Andrew Brooks

A LEADING gully expert working on NQ Dry Tropics’ Landholders Driving Change project says that unstable soils in some areas of the Bowen, Broken, Bogie (BBB) catchment are especially prone to erosion.

Gully expert, Griffith University Associate Professor Andrew Brooks, is working alongside graziers, other scientists and technical experts to design land condition and water quality improvement solutions in the BBB catchment near Collinsville, under the Queensland Government-funded project.

Mr Brooks said: “Gullies are a nuisance for landholders; undermining fences, stockyards and roads – and eventually contributing to reduced available productive land. They are also a major source of sediment runoff into local waterways and the Great Barrier Reef.

“Gullies are a natural landscape process that has been accelerated by human activity over the last 100-150 years.  Some soil types are particularly susceptible to erosion, and some of the soil in this region is highly-dispersive and unstable.

“The problem is that it only takes a small disturbance in the protective top soil for water to get in and expose the subsoils, which literally dissolve on contact, ending up with large expanses of gullies. If left untreated, they will continue to erode until there is no material left”, Mr Brooks said.

He explained that landholders can manage many smaller gullies fairly easily using techniques ranging from increasing ground cover and reducing local grazing pressure, to stabilising with hay bales and rock check dams. But once they get too large they become harder, if not impossible for graziers to manage, and require specialist engineering solutions.

“These larger, what we call alluvial gullies are found on maybe less than 0.2 per cent of the total landscape but could be delivering up to 50 per cent or more of the total sediment load in the BBB region. Most of these big gullies first formed more than 100 years ago when grazing first began in the region. They require specialist management, but have to be addressed to achieve the water quality improvements the Landholders Driving Change project is aiming for.

“This project is different and a great model because all stakeholders groups are coming together around the table at the outset to share knowledge and gain a common understanding of the problem.  During this project, we’ll have the chance to better understand the kind of gullies out there, where they are, how best to fix them, and how much that might cost.

“We’ll be trialling a range of methods to tackle all types of gullies – there is no “one size fits all” strategy. I believe no gully is unmanageable as long as we apply the right techniques. As we get better and more efficient we hope to deliver these solutions at reduced costs. As we set out to repair existing gullies it’s crucial that activities such as road building or inappropriate powerline maintenance don’t create new ones”, Mr Brooks said.

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Internet storiesNQ Register; Queensland Country Life

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Policy Engagement

THE Policy Engagement program aims to support BBB landholders to cut through regulatory red tape that may be preventing them from adopting practice changes.

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BBB Grazier Support

More than 90 per cent of land in the BBB is used for grazing. The BBB Grazier Support program aims to provide all local graziers with education, training, technical support and incentives to help them adopt improved land management practices.


MORE than 20 grazing properties across the BBB catchment are taking part in the whoa boy project. LDC hosted landcare specialist and plant operator Darryl Hill to deliver erosion control grader training to landholders and local contractors who are now undertaking erosion control works across the catchment.
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THE Collinsville small vehicle washdown facility was officially opened in October by Cr Peter Ramage, Whitsunday Regional Council (WRC). The facility, in Darby Munro Park in Collinsville, is available for anybody to use and is designed to reduce the spread of weeds such as prickly pear and lantana across primary production land in the BBB catchment.
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GRAZING practice change is central to the Landholders Driving Change (LDC) project because it is the proven most cost-effective way of improving water quality. Graziers can adopt a wide range of activities to help meet water quality targets.
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Exploring New Incentives

LDC works closely with landholders to investigate a range of approaches that reward good practice, and identify which options to pursue in the BBB. These could include market-based approaches such as grants, concessional loans, insurance mechanisms, stewardship payments, stamp duty relaxation, rate rebates, taxes, levies or market premiums. Some practice changes may only require short-term financial assistance, while others may need additional support to help maintain long-term benefits.


EXPLORING New Incentives is an important component of the LDC project, working with landholders to investigate a range of approaches that reward good practice. LDC engaged CSIRO along with James Cook University and Natural Decisions to research and scope potential institutional arrangements that are realistic in the short term to support ongoing improved practice adoption and landscape remediation over the medium to long term. That report and recommendations is now complete.
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Influencing Other Land Managers

MORE than 90 per cent of land in the BBB is used for grazing. The BBB Grazier Support program aims to provide all local graziers with education, training, technical support and incentives to help them adopt improved land management practices.


LAND access laws for government agencies and utility companies who access properties in North Queensland must be strengthened to safeguard farmers’ best interests, graziers say.
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BURDEKIN graziers are adopting management practices for a more sustainable and productive farming future – and the 2016 results prove it. The estimated annual average total suspended sediment lo
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Landscape Remediation

GULLY erosion causes approximately 65 per cent of the fine sediment load that comes from the BBB. The Landscape Remediation program aims to develop fast, effective and economical approaches to gully remediation.


LANDHOLDERS Driving Change is conducting a large-scale gully remediation project on Mt Wickham. LDC staff walked the landscape with local contractors and representatives from ecological engineering firm Verterra, a principal partner on the project, who developed the gully remediation technical design.
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PROBLEM gullies are the focus of the first Landscape Remediation sites in the Landholders Driving Change project throughout the BBB catchment. Landholders could have possible sites assessed as part of the project. BBB landholders also have available a suite of funded on-ground works.
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THANKS to the landholders who nominated potential gully remediation works, all of which will be  will be assessed and prioritised. The aim is to develop fast, effective and economical approaches to gully remediation, drawing upon the knowledge of graziers and technical specialists.
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ABC interviewAudience - 25,800 (8,800 NQ; 17,000 Wide Bay)

 

Q2 - More than 90 per cent of the NQ Dry Tropics NRM region land is used for grazing, about 6 per cent is government-protected areas (National Parks etc), about 1 per cent is forestry, about 1 per cent is used for growing sugar cane and 1 per cent is other primary production land.

Q3 - There were 1.3m cattle in the area as at the 2015-2016 census. Check it out here.

 

 

 

 

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