Five activity areas in the Landholders Driving Change Project

BBB Grazier Support

More than 90 per cent of land in the BBB is used for grazing.
The BBB Grazier Support program aims to support local graziers with education, training, technical support and incentives to help them adopt improved land management practices.

Landscape remediation

Gully erosion causes about 65 per cent of the fine sediment load that comes from the BBB.
The Landscape remediation program aims to develop fast, effective and economical approaches to gully remediation.
Demonstration sites will be established to showcase different methods of treating large-scale features, as well as smaller scale features.

Influencing other land managers

A key aim is to develop a successful model for effectively engaging with non-agricultural land managers that could be used in other catchments.
Although 92 per cent of the land in the BBB is used for grazing, other areas include national parks, state forests and coal mines.
Four local councils operate in the catchment which also features major infrastructure such as power transmission lines, local and main roads, and rail lines.

Exploring new incentives

LDC will work closely with landholders to investigate incentives to reward good practice.  Incentives could include market-based approaches such as grants, concessional loans, insurance mechanisms, stewardship payments, or rate rebates.

Click here to read the Landholders Driving Change: Exploring New Incentives report, commissioned by NQ Dry Tropics, and funded by the Queensland Government, to support the trial and evaluation of new incentive approaches as part of the Landholders Driving Change (LDC) project in the BBB.

Policy engagement

This program aims to support BBB landholders to cut through regulatory red tape that may be preventing them from adopting practice changes.
Aligned with the Exploring New Incentives program, it will work with landholders to identify the most relevant and feasible regulation and policy issues to pursue.
It will also support graziers to comment on regulations during public consultation opportunities and will coordinate engagement between government and landholders on policy and regulatory issues.

LDC has a plan

LDC is tackling erosion, improving land management and improving the quality of water flowing to the Great Barrier Reef from the ground up.

Strong and ongoing local participation is the cornerstone of the project to ensure it is grazier-focused.

The Landholders Driving Change project design summary outlines the proposed actions to be delivered, all of which were developed from initial ideas suggested by local graziers during an intensive engagement process involving the Bowen, Broken, Bogie (BBB) community.

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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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