LDC work doesn’t stop for a pandemic

Training at the Learning Hub, Mt Pleasant Station, Collinsville.

Landholders Driving Change project Manager Rod Kerr

Feedback on what people thought about the bus tour and the progress of the LDC project.

On track, on budget

IT may have been a transformative year, but I am delighted to say that during 2020, the Landholders Driving Change (LDC) project continued to progress and remains on track, and on budget.

On-ground projects will be completed by the end of this year and the final report is due 31 July 2021.

It is testament to the hard work and commitment of the BBB community, and the LDC team alongside LDC’s collaborators and delivery partners.

COVID-19 temporarily paused a number of project activities, mostly field days. However NQ Dry Tropics, and the LDC team took swift steps to maintain business continuity while minimising COVID-19 risks for clients, contractors and the general public.

Where possible, meetings and briefings moved to an on-line platform, which worked well.

In September, under COVID restrictions, we were fortunate to be able to hold the annual bus trip to showcase LDC on-ground projects, followed by the celebration dinner.

In 2020 we still managed to deliver: 15 events to 365 participants and 3 properties were represented for the first time at LDC activities.

It has been a pleasure working with the LDC team this year. In December I am stepping down as project manager of the LDC project. I will continue to project manage NQ Dry Tropics’ Stomping Out Sediment in the Burdekin – Livestock Impact for Gully Remediation project, and look forward to seeing you around the traps.

LDC Project Manager Georg Wandrag

The new LDC project manager is Georg Wandrag. Georg has more than 20 years of experience in conservation, including leadership experience in working with teams and multiple stakeholder groups in remote and regional areas. 

Georg is based in Bowen and started in the position in early November to ensure a smooth transition. 

The NQ Dry Tropics team and I warmly welcome Georg to the region, and we wish him all the best. Click here for more information about Georg.

I also take this opportunity to wish you all a very Merry Christmas, and let’s hope we’ll be toasting a terrific wet season.

Be sure to check out the short slideshow below that illustrates the wide range of extension work carried out in the BBB since March.

Rod Kerr, outgoing LDC project manager

Host of the ABC’s iconic Landline program Pip Courtney enthralled the crowd as guest speaker at the event.

Click on the photo to view the galleries of images from the LDC in the field this year.

Mick Shannon

And Goodbye to Mick

We also farewell Grazing Team Leader Mick Shannon.

Mick has been a valued staff member for a little more than 12 months, but he has landed his dream job.

He’s going to manage Springfield Station near Mt Surprise.

We wish Mick and his family all the best. 

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KEQ #1

Figure 1. Total fine sediment reduction by project type and erosion source. Inset shows the proportion of the total project area for each project type.

These estimates have been calculated using two methods: 

1) The pollutant reduction component of the Alluvium/Great Barrier Reef Foundation (GBRF) investment tool for hillslope and streambank erosion management projects; 

2) The Reef Trust Gully Toolbox method for gully erosion management projects. The LDC Water Quality Report 2020 (Waterhouse et al., 2020) highlights that a number of assumptions underlay these calculations, therefore these figures should be treated as the best available estimate of sediment reductions to date.

Preventing sediment from reaching the Great Barrier Reef

Each wet season sediment is washed into local waterways and out to the Great Barrier Reef (GBR). 

Most sediment is very fine, and can stay suspended for a long time and can travel great distances. Valuable topsoil is lost from production, and increased concentrations on the reef can be harmful to seagrasses and corals. 

Landholders in the BBB have completed 69 on-ground water quality practice changes, and it is estimated that these have contributed a fine sediment reduction of 6,154 tonnes per year from reaching the GBR. 

Of this, approximately half of the sediment savings are attributable to grazing land management changes on hillslopes and streambanks, and the other half as a result of gully remediation treatments across a broad range of scales, as shown in the graphs above. 

The table below also highlights the relatively small area of intervention in the gully management projects compared to the large sediment savings that these can achieve - 60 per cent of the sediment savings over only 4 per cent of the project area.

Table 1. Estimated sediment reductions (tonnes) from projects completed in the LDC Project to date.

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*GLMWW = Grazing Land Management Wire and Water

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*The Exploring New Incentives activity area has provided an opportunity for graziers to adopt improved land management practices through a range of activities. For some of these properties, it was the first time they signed contracts for on-ground works.

KEQ #4

The LDC project monitors four gully sites (represented in this table) with gold standard equipment and analysis, carried out by CSIRO.

Results have been compiled in a preliminary report from Bartley et al (2020), with the final report expected to be released by the end of 2020. The preliminary report shows all four sites have indicators of improvements, notably the Strathbogie and Mt Wickham sites.

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Reef regulations - grazing, standard conditions

  1. For land in good or fair condition (more than 50 per cent ground cover at 30 September), continue using measures to maintain land condition.
  2. For land in poor condition (less than 50 per cent ground cover at 30 September), steps must be taken to improve land condition.
  3. For land in degraded condition (less than 20 per cent ground cover at 30 September), steps must be taken to improve land condition OR prevent areas from further degrading or expanding.
  4. Keep records of measures taken and also of agricultural chemicals, fertiliser and mill mud or mill ash applied to land.
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