Experts out and about in the BBB

The LDC project would not be possible without the help of its delivery partners and collaborations with other organisations and government agencies.  A number of them were out and about in the BBB in September.

LDC’s partner organisations provide expertise in grazing land management, landholder extension and engagement, water quality science, social science, gully remediation, monitoring and evaluation, and program governance.

Soil sample from Glenbowen, carried out by DAF’s Jim Fletcher.

DAF’s Jim Fletcher conducted soil samples at Glenbowen in September.

Dr Bec Bartley, research scientists CSIRO Land and Water, spoke about water quality monitoring results from the CSIRO monitoring sites in the BBB.

Barry Collett, of Todsure, and John Day, of Emu Ridge.

Glencore’s David Gullo (left) and Whitsunday Regional Council’s Scott Hardy were guest speakers at the LDC Community Bus Tour.

Glenn Dale, of engineeering company Verterra, provided an overview of on-ground works that have been carried out at Mt Wickham.

John Day, of Emu Ridge, Colin Becker, Belmore Downs, and NQ Dry Tropics’ Sheyanne Frisby.

Belmore Downs’ Colin Becker, left, with Emu Ridge technical officer John Day who is providing soil conservation support to the LDC project.

James Allen, in red shirt, of Neilly Group Engineering, was a guest speaker at the LDC Community Bus Tour of the BBB. Neilly Group is the principal delivery partner of the Glenbowen gully remediation works.

John Day collecting soil samples at Todsure.

Jim Lindsay hosted a Low Stress Stockhandling workshop at Strathalbyn.

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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.

KEQ #2

*GLMWW = Grazing Land Management Wire and Water

KEQ #3

*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.

KEQ #5

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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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