LDC project set to continue with new funding

A large-scale gully on Havilah Station, near Collinsville, pictured right, will be the first large gully remediated under Great Barrier Reef Foundation (GBRF) funding. It was identified as a priority site in the Griffith University prioritisation report that was commissioned by the LDC project. Landholders, scientists and industry representatives visited the site in September last year, pictured right, during the LDC annual community feedback day.

The LDC project will continue to roll out at series of workshops to landholders in the BBB to help build knowledge and skills about best land management practices.

Maintaining momentum in grazing support and gully repair

The Landholders Driving Change project for 2021 is up and running.

LDC has been extended for a further three years thanks to a $5 million funding injection from the Great Barrier Reef Foundation (GBRF). 

This funding has been made available through the Water Quality Improvement program funded by the partnership between the Australian Government’s Reef Trust and the GBRF.

The aim is to continue to roll out on-ground activities that will help improve water quality outcomes for the Bowen, Broken, Bogie (BBB) catchment, and the Great Barrier Reef lagoon.

The three-year program will maintain momentum in delivery of:

  • Accelerated grazing support (extension) to encourage adoption of improved land management practice, and;
  • Large-scale and small-scale gully remediation.

The project overview

Sediment savings for land management practice change will be delivered through:

  • At least 30 extension, training education and field events held over the life of the project; and
  • A minimum of 30 land management agreements on property, targeting land management practice change.

Sediment savings for Gully Type 1 works (small-scale gullies and erosion features), delivered through:

  • As part of the 30 land management agreements, remediation works on 15 small gullies will be completed; and
  • A medium scale landscape rehydration demonstration site targeting sediment savings will be completed.

Sediment savings for Gully Type 3 works (large-scale gully), delivered with our partners Alluvium and Verterra, operating as an Unincorporated Joint Venture, through:

  • Completion of the Strathmore gully site (Stage 2), located near the Bowen River Hotel; and 
  • Design and implementation of a large-scale gully remediation project at Havilah Station.

The GBRF funded component of the LDC overlaps with the finalisation of the current phase of the LDC project which is funded by the Queensland Government.

NQ Dry Tropics is working hard to manage transitional staffing, and monitoring and reporting arrangements.

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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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