Inspecting a series of actively eroding gullies in sodosol soils at Todsure, from left, Graham Gordon, DAF’s Bob Shepherd, Carl Groocock, LDC’s Adrienne Hall, LDC’s Matt Miles, LDC’s Rodger Walker, Leanne Groocock and Barry Collett. All the pasture following great rain early in the year doesn’t change the fact that underneath, there are actively eroding gully features.

Inspecting remediation sites at John Robinson’s plot on Corduroy Creek Road, from left, LDC’s Matt Miles, Barry Collett, Queensland Solar Maintenance, Graham Gordon, Two Mile, DAF’s Bob Shepherd, LDC’s Rodger Walker, Glencore’s David Gullo and Carl Groocock, Todsure.

David Gullo, Glencore, and Graham Gordon, Two Mile, inspect proposed landscape remediation sites on Two Mile.

Bob Shepherd, DAF, and grazier Stanley Fordham inspecting the eroded by-wash of a dam on Emohruo.

Following Stanley and Judy Fordham to a proposed gully remediation site on their property Emohruo.

Grazier clusters – working together to achieve more

DAF principal extension officer (grazing land management) Bob Shepherd is providing expertise to help the Scottville cluster group develop cost effective designs to remediate gullies and other property erosion features to reduce soil erosion.

Bob visited the properties in November 2018 to complete an assessment to help inform a recommended course of on-ground works for each property.  He returned last month to discuss recommendations and designs for works with the graziers.

The landholders plan to use local contractors and share resources to help reduce costs.  

Glencore has also committed to providing in-kind support to the group.  David Gullo, of Glencore, also attended the cluster group’s roving tour of each of the properties to learn what the group wants to achieve.

The aims of the Scottville cluster group ‘roving tour’:

  • Q and A with Bob Shepherd and local landholders on proposed designed works, fitting priorities into budget, risk minimisation and broader grazing land management.
  • Outline steps and timelines to ensure contracted works can start, including a rundown of site works Land Management Agreements (LMA).
  • Discuss pre and post works monitoring and quality assurance steps.
  • Discuss access to land management technical support, extension, education, knowledge and on-ground learning opportunities for small landholders and the surrounding Scottville-Collinsville community, for example, post works site visits and field days.

Projects undertaken by cluster groups are crucial for the LDC project because they link to improvement in water quality leaving the properties.  

Remediation of erosion features, along with improvements in grazing land management and surface water management on-property will reduce erosion and sediment entering local waterways.

Four LDC cluster groups

FOUR geographically-based cluster groups are currently involved with the LDC project, located at Scottville, Normanby Road, Bowen River and Little Bowen.

They formed because members saw the value in working together and sharing knowledge, skills and experiences.

Cluster groups are self-directed, and supported by LDC  extension staff. Click here to read more about cluster groups.

Carl Groocock and Isabel Sloan on site at Hillview.

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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
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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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