An overview of Monitoring and Evaluation for the LDC project

A CSIRO-installed monitoring station at Mt Wickham.

M&E keeps track of the project's progress

MONITORING and Evaluation (M&E) is an important part of the LDC project because it collects data progressively to keep track of milestones and monitor progress towards predefined project outcomes. 

The BBB produces almost a quarter of the total fine sediment load that ends up in the GBR lagoon. About 65 per cent of fine sediment comes from gully erosion, which makes gully management a high priority for investment, and is why gully remediation is a key component of the LDC project.

The LDC is trialling large and small-scale gully remediation approaches to improve water quality, and to determine cost-effective solutions that can be transferred to other projects and catchments.

LDC is working with 19 properties to remediate more than 40 gullies. These systems range in size from as small as 4m wide to as large as 168m wide in places - this is wider than three road trains lined up end to end. 

LDC has partnered with CSIRO to undertake gold standard monitoring at four of the LDC’s remediation sites - Strathbogie, Mt Wickham, Glen Bowen and Mt Pleasant. The monitoring program is being supported by Fruition Environmental who collects the water samples.

Dr Rebecca Bartley, research scientist, CSIRO Land and Water.

Monitoring at these sites is focused on indicators of water quality improvements, and includes vegetation and land condition, water quality and hydrology. 

Led by Dr Rebecca Bartley, CSIRO has compiled a preliminary report from up to four years of data capture, Quantifying the effectiveness of gully remediation on off-site water quality: results from demonstration sites in the Burdekin catchment. 

Results are positive, Strathbogie and Mt Wickham treatment gullies have recorded improved sediment concentrations and sediment loads with high treatment effectiveness results (statistical significance of .95 and .85 respectively). 

The stories on this Monitoring and Evaluation highlights page provides a snapshot of the monitoring results for the LDC’s four sites. 

The final CSIRO report will be available in the coming months.


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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