Finalists in Reef Champion Awards

Jamie Gordon and Garlone Moulin, Mt Pleasant Station – finalists in the Reef Conservation Champion Award

Barry and Leanne O’Sullivan, Glenalpine Station – finalists in the Prince of Wales Environmental Leadership – Reef Sustainability Award

Bob Harris, Glencoe Station finalist in the Reef Sediment Champion Award

CONGRATULATIONS to local graziers who have been announced as finalists in the 2018 Reef Champion Awards. Barry and Leanne O’Sullivan, (Environmental Leadersip – Reef Sustainability Award); Bob Harris (Reef Sediment Champion Award); and Jamie Gordon and Garlone Moulin, (Reef Conservation Champion Award) are all in the running for their respective awards to be announced on 21 November.

The outstanding achievements of individuals and organisations working to improve the quality of water entering the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) are recognised through the annual Reef Champion Awards run by the Reef Alliance with support from the Australian and Queensland governments.

Cane growers Frank Mugica and David De Franciscis, part of the NQ Dry Tropics “family” are also finalists in the Prince of Wales Leadership – Reef Sustainability Award and the Reef Nutrient Champion Award respectively.

It is important to recognise and acknowledge the commitment and efforts of land managers, extension officers, industry and members of the community who are working to reduce their impact on the Reef.

Landholders continue to improve farming and environmental management practices and upgrade on-farm infrastructure to reduce runoff.  These actions are improving the quality of the water leaving the farm and contributing to the health of the reef.

The Reef Champion Awards are supported by the Reef Trust: Reef Alliance – Growing a Great Barrier Reef project, which is funded by the Australian Government’s Reef Trust, and the Queensland Government’s Reef Water Quality Program.  These programs have been successful in supporting and delivering mutually beneficial outcomes for landholders and the environment.

NQ Dry Tropics delivers projects under both programs, including the Landholders Driving Change (LDC) project that is funded through the Queensland Government’s Reef Water Quality Program.

The LDC project is focused on the high-priority Bowen, Broken, Bogie (BBB) catchment near Bowen and Collinsville because the BBB produces almost a quarter of the total fine sediment load that end up on the reef.


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
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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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