Glenn Dale (Verterra) presenting to visitors at the Mt Wickham gully remediation works.

Glenmore Station grazier and dozer operator Jim Hillier checking some erosion control banks with a dumpy level.

LDC project granted an extension

THE Queensland Government has granted the Landholders Driving Change (LDC) project more time. 

The new completion date is September 2021. This is great news because LDC has established solid foundations for further success.

The LDC project is addressing complex issues for improving water quality outcomes from the Bowen Broken Bogie (BBB) catchment. Complex issues, by their nature, are characterised by uncertainty and unpredictability, with the ‘answer’ often only emerging after detailed testing, analysis, review and adaptation.

An extension of time allows NQ Dry Tropics to:

  • Increase project confidence on where the largest sediment savings are likely to be realised from within the BBB by way of:
      • Longer-term monitoring and evaluation of large-scale gully remediation works;
      • gully characterisation and prioritisation; and
      • community water monitoring results. (These activities will be informed by science collaborations that are currently underway).
    • complete more large-scale and small-scale gully remediation projects to help achieve the point stated above;
  • establish and further strengthen peer to peer learning, cluster groups, demonstration sites and focus group activities, and to show cost effectiveness of these activities;
  • enable ‘larger-scale’ land management and practice change activities to roll out that will lead to more hectares of practice change and further improvements in water quality results;
  • show the progress of participating landholders from engagement through to stewardship and improved management practices;
  • demonstrate the strength of established frameworks that have driven community engagement and participation, delivery capability and skilled contractor pool and appropriate governance; and
  • inform the development of a cost-effectiveness tool to enable a range of designs and locations to be compared prior to investment decisions.

LDC is one of two Major Integrated projects (MIPs) recommended by the Great Barrier Reef Water Science Taskforce.

The other MIP, which aims to reduce nutrient and pesticide runoff from cane and banana farms in the Wet Tropics region, has also been granted an extension.

Erosion control expert Darryl Hill conducts another workshop hosted by NQ Dry Tropics in the BBB.

Gully remediation at Emohruo Station, as part of work across the Scottville cluster.

Havilah Station grazier Rebecca Lathwell learning how to collect water samples.

LDC established a Community Water quality Monitoring Group, with local graziers. Pictured are LDC team members and TropWATER scientists taking graziers to a watercourse to teach them correct water sampling techniques. 

Graziers, officials from the Department of Environment and Science, Landholders Driving Change team members at a meeting convened at the Grandview Hotel, Bowen, by the Office of the Great Barrier Reef to discuss the minimum standards for the grazing industry in the Great Barrier Reef catchment.

Big year ahead for LDC

As part of an integrated program the LDC team, in conjunction with project partners, is delivering a series of workshops and supported activities across the project’s five activity areas throughout 2020.

Keep an eye out for “On The Horizon”, the calendar of events included in every edition of The Grit. The LDC team will also keep you informed.

BBB Grazier Support

A wide range of training and field day opportunities will roll out in the following areas:

  • Property planning
  • Managing grass
  • Animal production
  • Financial management
  • People (human dimensions)
  • LDC is partnering with Meat Livestock Australia (MLA) to develop two Producer Demonstration Sites (PDS) to improve business productivity and profitability outcomes. One is focused on regenerative grazing practices, and the other on an integrated approach to weed control. 

Landscape Remediation

  • Field days will be held to demonstrate remediation treatments for large-scale erosion features at Mt Wickham and Glen Bowen.  Ongoing maintenance of these trials will be conducted.
  • A third large-scale gully remediation site will be completed this year.
  • Tailored treatment options for smaller scale erosion features will continue to roll out across the BBB catchment.
  • Guidance for strategic investment in landscape remediation in the BBB will continue to be developed.

Exploring New Incentives

  • A series of ‘walks and talks’ will be held at the Mt Pleasant Demonstration and Learning Hub.
  • Additional New Incentives grants will be awarded for projects that tackle a wide range of grazing land management challenges.
  • Capacity-building and knowledge and skills training workshops will be held as identified.

Policy Engagement

  • A policy roundtable with government departments, following on from last year’s event, will be held.
  • Community forums to discuss specific policy issues that affect the BBB, with a view to provide recommendations to government on changes to institutional arrangements, will be held.
  • Continue to facilitate dialogue between government representatives and land managers (graziers and non-graziers).

Influencing Other Land Managers

  • A joint field day in collaboration with Glencore on completion of the Scottville Cluster Group small gully works is being planned.
  • Continue to engage with other land managers (councils, solar, linear infrastructure) and technical specialists to establish a set of standards for common erosion mitigation techniques consistent across the BBB.
  • Continue to host capacity building workshops, for example accredited washdown training to help land managers meet biosecurity obligations.


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.
KEQ #8

KEQ #7
KEQ #6

KEQ #5

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 #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 #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

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