Having a say | Landholders Driving Change

It’s all about having a say

LDC Project Manager, Andrew Yates

NEVER before has a project taken such a wide-ranging approach to improving land and water quality at a catchment scale.

Strong and ongoing local participation is the cornerstone of the Landholders Driving Change project (LDC).

As the name suggests, in order for the project to be truly grazier-focused, it was critical to involve landholders from the start of the design process.

As a result, five local graziers who have been there from the very start, sit on the project panel to advise and oversee the project plan.

A sixth grazier is on the panel as the project’s Agforce representative.

Their role is to make sure we focus on land remediation and management activities that are relevant to graziers. Thank you, Bob Harris, the project’s Agforce representative, and graziers Tom Murphy, Garlone Moulin, Jessie Gooding, Buster O’Loughlin and Bristow Hughes, for taking on this important role, and everybody on the panel.

The LDC project is also benefiting from collaboration with the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF), CSIRO, JCU, TropWATER and Glencore.

These organisations offer expertise that will help achieve our project objectives.

An important component of LDC is to foster self-directed peer groups supported by extension staff, to help deliver skills, knowledge and works on ground.

Two grazier cluster groups of neighbouring properties are in the process of being formed.

They plan to undergo landscape remediation and other land management activities through a cooperative effort, and will share resources across boundary activity.

Graziers who are interested in being part of a cluster group can contact the Bowen office.

Landholders are also taking advantage of training opportunities, such as mapping and erosion control grader workshops.
The Dry Tropics Pest Advisory Forum, co-hosted by LDC and the Burdekin Dry Tropics Regional Pest Management Group, was well attended.

To maximise value, quality and efficiency of project works, two pools of local service providers have been established through an Expression of Interest (EOI) process to deliver earthmoving machinery and services, repair and environmental improvement services, and farm-based professional services.

We’re keen to support local businesses, so local organisations make up a significant portion of those pools.

For me, project success will be seeing the BBB community leading the way in implementing a range of innovative tools and approaches for enduring sustainable and productive land management to reduce sediment runoff.

To evaluate project success, we need a starting point against which to measure.

In part, this will be done through surveys.

Graziers’ participation will help the project team to respond to landholder priorities by adapting existing program areas and designing new areas of support.

I would like to thank the project panel members who helped finalise the survey questions, and thank those graziers who have completed, or have agreed to complete, the survey.

My expectation is that The DIRT, along with other communication initiatives, will highlight project success stories.

I look forward to reading about landholders and what they are achieving.

LDC is an exciting project with big expectations from both the government and the BBB community.

The LDC team is ready to help deliver results.

Call us at any time to discuss any aspect of the LDC.

Contact me any time.on 4799 3500.

Do the survey!

LDC is designed from the ground up.

To ensure our grass roots remain front and centre throughout the implementation phase, all landholders within the BBB are encouraged to ‘have their say’ to help guide the direction of the project.

Having a say also helps guide the best use of available funds.

The Landholder Needs And Opportunities For Support Survey is a key activity to make this happen and the results will help to inform prioritisation activities in the BBB during the next 12 months.

Have a chat with your local field officers who will listen to your property needs and business priorities to ensure the LDC activities we muster up are the best bang for buck!

Contact one of the LDC team members to take part.

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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.

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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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