It’s raining smiles at the Learning Hub

You little ripper!

LOOK at the Mt Pleasant Learning Hub.

The rain came and the small-scale, low-cost interventions installed at the Hub did what they were designed to do…. hold water in the landscape.

The photograph (left) shows work just beginning on one of the earth weirs. Hover the mouse over it to see the end result, making everybody smile so broadly. The pictures were taken when construction began in September, then 10 days after rain in February.

These interventions, engineered by the Mulloon Institute, are expected to restore landscape function through increasing rainfall infiltration and improving water tables (landscape rehydration), while recognising that ground cover and productive pastures are key to maintaining land and gully condition.
Four log and rock weirs were constructed on site, as well as an earth weir and level sill bywash.

The works were carried out in September and October and took five and a half weeks to complete.

Build it and they will come…

SINCE 100mm of rain in February, and with water lying about, a profusion of life has appeared on site at the Mt Pleasant Learning Hub.

Sharp-eyed Nature photographer, Mt Pleasant grazier GARLONE MOULIN, enjoys taking beautiful photographs of the welcome newcomers.

Here is a small selection.

 

The aim of the landholder-driven Hub is to implement and ground-truth techniques that support the restoration of landscape function for efficient farming practices.

It is also a meeting place for landholders, scientists and industry to come together to learn about building healthy soil, the importance of microbial activity in the soil and grazing management practices to enhance those aspects of the environment.

For further information about the Learning Hub, read earlier Grit stories:

  1. Mt Pleasant demonstration site
  2. The Learning Hub

 

 

 

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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.

KEQ #2

*GLMWW = Grazing Land Management Wire and Water

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 #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 #5

KEQ #6

KEQ #7
KEQ #8

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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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