An overview of Monitoring and Evaluation for the LDC project

Gully system split into two to slow water flow

THE Glen Bowen site was selected as the LDC project’s second major gully remediation project in the Bowen Broken Bogie (BBB) catchment.

Dubbed “Gully 1”, it had an actively eroding footprint of about 3.36ha. The perimeter was about 1.1km and the banks of the gully scarp were, on average, 2 – 2.5m high.


Treatment included reshaping the complex gully network into two stabilised free-draining basins by battering banks and reshaping land features using cut and fill techniques and compaction earthworks.

Three smaller gullies and six scalded areas were reshaped and compacted to protect the works.

Two rock cut-off walls were also constructed downstream of the reshaping works as well as rock check dams along the contours at one metre intervals in the basins, and in the reshaped, incised linear gullies.

As added protection to the site, the existing earth bund wall around the head of the gully was reinstated where necessary, and reinforced to manage any overland flow.

Gypsum was added to the soil in all of the works undertaken at the project site to aid the stabilisation.


Gully remediation was carried out in 2019 so there has only been one wet season of monitoring post treatment.

Early indicators are positive, showing rehabilitation on the treatment gully is working effectively. 

This is evidenced by improved vegetation and biomass cover. 

Runoff samples were triggered on the control gully and not the treatment gully. This is a good sign that the treatments applied are capturing the rain that is falling on the treatment and also shows that almost no water and no sediment left the treatment gully during the 2019-2020 wet season. 

The LDC project will continue to monitor this site. In the short-term improvements in vegetation, cover and biomass, and soil condition, and reductions in erosion and gully retreat rates are expected.

In the long term, improvements in runoff and sediment loads are expected.

Data collected on the adoption and effectiveness of landscape remediation techniques and farm management practices is used in the annual Reef Water quality Protection Plan report card as well as to enhance the catchment models. 

This is facilitated through the Paddock to Reef integrated monitoring, modelling and reporting program.

*Information sourced from the CSIRO report.


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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