Pictured at the official opening are (from left):LDC Project Manager Georg Wandrag (right) with Whitsunday Shire Council representatives, from left:  Scott Hardy, Melissa Hayes, Cr Michelle Wright and Lynette Clarray.

Full blast…a Whitsunday Shire Council vehicle is given the washdown treatment.

Washdown facility opening

A weed washdown facility, jointly funded by LDC and Whitsunday Regional Council, has been constructed at the Scottville waste transfer station, and is available for anybody to use free of charge.

The automatic washdown facility was officially opened in Collinsville by Cr Michelle Wright, from the Whitsunday Regional Council, in August.

The facility was jointly funded by NQ Dry Tropics’ Landholders Driving Change (LDC) project and the Whitsunday Regional Council (WRC). LDC contributed $16,000 towards the purchase of the facility and WRC covered the installation costs.

The facility, at the Collinsville transfer station, Scottsville Road, is suitable for 4WDs, and is available for anybody to use free of charge. Sensors turn on the water spray automatically once a vehicle enters the pad, and the wash lasts one minute.

LDC Project Manager Georg Wandrag said the facility was an example of NQ Dry Tropics and WRC collaborating to tackle biosecurity issues in the Collinsville and Bowen region. 

“Reducing the spread of weeds, including weed seeds, is vital to good regional biosecurity practice,” Mr Wandrag said.

“It’s the most successful and cost-effective type of weed management because once a weed has become established, high costs can often make eradication impossible.

“Preventing weed spread is everybody’s business which is why I encourage everyone who is travelling the region’s network of rural roads to make use of this excellent facility. That includes utility, contracting and mine companies, council and landholders.”

The LDC has also hosted “Ínspect and clean machinery for plant animal and soil material” accredited training workshops for local contractors and landholders over the past two years, to ensure everyone who worked in the region was working to the same standard of practice to keep vehicles, machinery and plant clean.

 

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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