Building on the success of the LDC project

An active complex gully system at Havilah Station.

THE Great Barrier Reef Foundation (GBRF) BBB project is up and running, and will build on the success of the Queensland Government funded Landholders Driving Change (LDC) project. 

The overarching aim of the three-year project is to continue to roll out activities that will help improve water quality outcomes for BBB waterways and the Great Barrier Reef lagoon.

The project will maintain momentum in delivery of: 

  • accelerated grazing support (extension) to encourage adoption of improved land management practice, and;
  • large scale gully remediation.

Below are some of the activities that will be included.

  • Sediment savings for land management practice change, delivered through:
    • at least 30 extension, training, education and field events held over the life of the project; and 
    • a minimum of 30 land management agreements on property, targeting land management practice change.
  • Sediment savings for Gully Type 1 works (small-scale gullies and erosion features), delivered through:
    • as part of the 30 land management agreements, remediation works on 15 small gullies will be completed; and
    • a medium scale landscape rehydration demonstration site targeting sediment savings will be completed.
  • Sediment savings for Gully Type 3 works (large-scale gully),  delivered with our partners Alluvium and Verterra, operating as an Unincorporated Joint Venture, through:
    • completion of the Strathmore gully site (Stage 2), located near the Bower River Hotel; and
    • design and implementation of a large-scale gully remediation project at Havilah Station.

Jason Carter, Principal Project manager, Alluvium, one of the partnering organisations that will help continue remediation work in the BBB.

The LDC branding will remain for this project to provide important continuity for the BBB community.

The community will be updated and informed of project progress through The Grit. Two editions of the newsletter will be produced in 2021, a Winter edition in June and a Summer edition in December.

The GBRF BBB project overlaps with the finalisation of the current LDC project. NQ Dry Tropics is working hard to manage transitional staffing, and monitoring and reporting arrangements.

The team in Bowen is always available to answer any questions. They will keep everyone informed about opportunities to get involved with the project, as well as updates on project progress.

In case you missed it in the last edition of The Grit, here are the funding details about the GBRF BBB project.

New LDC Manager Georg Wandrag

New project manager welcomed

Georg Wandrag has taken up the reins as LDC project manager.

Georg started in the role in early November and is based in Bowen. Some of you will have met him, and he has hit the ground running making himself known to the BBB community.

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. 

Originally from South Africa, Georg has been in Australia for the past eight years, working in various roles in Western Australia, Tasmania and Northern Territory. He comes to NQ Dry Tropics from Kakadu National Park where he was Operations Manager for more than 18 months.

Queensland Government continues to support LDC

Through the 2020-2021 Queensland Government budget, NQ Dry Tropics has secured an additional $200,000 to invest in the Landholders Driving Change project to June 2021.

This funding is in addition to the $15 million already committed by the Queensland Government and recognises the progress achieved to date through this community-led project.

These funds will boost activities that are of high interest to landholders, including supporting existing cluster groups, the establishment of two new cluster groups, and a collaborative activity through the Influencing Other Land Managers activity area.

NQ Dry Tropics, the Office of the Great Barrier Reef and the Great Barrier Reef Foundation are committed to working together to support ongoing delivery of the Landholders Driving Change project.

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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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