Beyond the Paddock | Landholders Driving Change

NRMs – Sustaining natural resources for generations

NQ Dry Tropics supports the Burdekin community to sustainably manage natural resources including land, water and biodiversity. These resources underpin our regional economy and way of life.

Landholders Driving Change

NQ Dry Tropics’ Landholders Driving Change is testing the benefits of an integrated and targeted engagement model. The project recognises the importance of scale, and the need to align physical and social elements.

It will evaluate and communicate the environmental, economic and social cost-benefits of this innovative approach.
It has been designed from the ‘ground up’ with actions to support landholders in a flexible and tailored way, to improve the productivity of grazing enterprises and decrease the impact of sediment and particulate nutrients on wetlands and the Great Barrier Reef.

MORE INFORMATION
Watch videos about LDC:

Visit the LDC website.

Read the Project Design Summary.

Grazing projects

We work with the grazing industry to help producers transition to industry-led best practice underpinned by profitability, productivity and stewardship of the land.

We do this by bringing graziers, scientists and technical specialists together to identify priorities and design solutions to improve the productivity of grazing land while reducing sediment runoff into local waterways and the Great Barrier Reef.

Saving Our Soils stories:

Read some stories of Women in Grazing.

Sugarcane projects

We work in partnership with industry specialists in support of sugarcane farmers to reduce nutrient runoff by using fertiliser and water more efficiently, boosting their profitability and improve the quality of water flowing into the Great Barrier Reef lagoon.

We use innovative tools to ensure projects deliver environmental benefits that also provide a positive outcome for farmers.

Watch a short video:

Read stories about:

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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.

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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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