Collaboration | Landholders Driving Change

Collaboration to get maximum results – it’s a no-brainer

Darryl Hill workshop participants watch as the theory is put into practice at the Collinsville event

Tackling sediment control on rural roads

LEVERAGING cross team collaboration is a no-brainer, it leads to deeper insights, fresher perspectives and delivers results. Staff from our LDC and Sustainable Agriculture teams teamed up with Darryl Hill to deliver erosion control training at multiple sites across the BBB.  

Through its LDC project, NQ Dry Tropics is working hard to promote and facilitate cross-sector collaboration in the Bowen Broken Bogie (BBB) catchment to support a culture of stewardship that enables all land managers (grazing and non-grazing) to be effective custodians of the land.

Graziers, along with non-grazing land managers including councils, utility businesses such as Ergon Energy, Powerlink, Aurizon, mines, specifically Glencore, National Parks and Wildlife and machinery operators, are focusing on one particular challenge – erosion and sediment control on rural roads.  

The LDC believes that each sector has a valuable role to play to build a partnership model that will create shared value, and be long lasting, scalable and transformative. There is a real opportunity to develop new approaches to partnering that will unleash innovative ways of working, mobilising expertise and resources, and creating shared accountability to adopt best practice when constructing and maintaining the BBB’s rural road network.

It was excellent to see graziers and non-grazing land managers commit to this process by attending Darryl Hill workshops, and utility provider forums held in March, to discuss how best to move forward to achieve cross-sector collaboration.  Click here for more information on the forum.

Darryl Hill is one of only a few qualified instructors who runs workshops for soil conservation in Australia.

A total of  31 participants including  graziers, representatives from local councils, mines, utility businesses and machinery operators attend Darryl Hill workshops at Eungella Station and Collinsville.

Land managers gained correct knowledge, skills and management tools to understand the causes of soil erosion, how to avoid triggering additional erosion and how to ameliorate existing erosion.

Topics covered included:

  • understanding  the cause of water erosion problems on station tracks and fence lines;
  • traditional versus alternative ways of dealing with water erosion problems;
  • basic surveying principles;
  • on-ground experience in basic surveying skills and the use of a dumpy level;
    and
  • a demonstration of machinery techniques for erosion control.

Please note:  Darryl Hill is also working with the BBB Grazier Support team to roll out the whoa boy project across the BBB catchment. For further information, click here.

Precision driving, perfect teamwork

WHILE Darryl Hill has the gruelling task of presenting workshops day after day, he relies on his hosts – NQ Dry Tropics during the swing through the Burdekin Dry Tropics – to get him to where he should be, and to provide food and water fairly regularly.

It takes a bit of coordination and planning, sometimes involving early starts and long stints behind the wheel but, most times, it comes together with a precision the military can only dream about.

Grazing Field Officer Eilis Walker had to have Darryl on the road from the motel in Bowen at 4.40am in order to rendesvous with Grazing Field Officer Josh Nicholls who would be taking over at the Woodstock-Giru Road intersection with the highway at 6am.

While Eilis struggled to find some caffeine to start the day, she found Darryl already at the car, pipe already billowing and enjoying the morning air.

She and Darryl passed the time on the road the way Darryl nearly always does – by pointing out the good and the bad V-drains, flat drains and eroded drains associated with each part of the highway.

And,as she pulled into the layby nominated for the handover, she could see Josh turning across the highway to arrive about 20 seconds later.

Even Darryl – a hard marker in the punctuality department – was impressed.

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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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