Foundation is complete, it’s time to accelerate

THE Landholders Driving Change project has laid a foundation on which it can accelerate the rate of transformational change in the BBB.

  • Grassroots design developed by locals for local needs.
  • Community-led co-governance model.
  • Strong partnerships between community, scientists, government and industry.
  • Unprecedented levels of interest, engagement and participation by all land managers (grazing, local government, mining, infrastructure and utility organisations).
  • Strong delivery framework established.
  • Strong linkages with a raft of other initiatives and services.
  • An increasing sense of community responsibility for good land stewardship.
  • Sophisticated monitoring and evaluation framework.
  • Explicit focus on transferability and scalability.

As depicted in the graphs below, LDC is working hard to deliver enduring sustainable land management for the Bowen, Broken and Bogie (BBB) catchment and accelerated water quality outcomes for the Great Barrier Reef. The graphs show that if there were future investment in the BBB for grazing land management and landscape remediation, LDC would be able to continue to further deliver against the Reef 2050 targets. The team has modelled what a further five years to 2025 could achieve. The BBB catchment delivers about 50 per cent of the fine sediment load from the Burdekin Basin, and it remains a pivotal catchment for improving water quality outcomes.

Land management projects

Gullies remediated

Pre-LDC

LDC - Year 2

LDC - 2025 (projected)

Pre-LDC

LDC - Year 2

LDC - 2025 (projected)

Area of improved land management

Pre-LDC

LDC - Year 2

LDC - 2025 (projected)

Fine sediment reduction from BBB

Pre-LDC

LDC - Year 2

LDC - Year 8 (projected)

The foundations…

(Data as of September, 2019)

Water quality

  • Year two of LDC, 6,000 tonnes of sediment savings achieved, and a pipeline of gully remediation and land management projects underway.
  • On-ground works completed on 30 per cent of grazing properties.
  • Two large-scale remediated gullies have CSIRO water quality monitoring equipment measuring water quality data.
  • 14 small-scale gully projects completed
  • Integrated mix of projects across grazing land management, gully remediation, influencing other landholders (solar, linear infrastructure, councils) and policy brings sediment savings catchment-wide.

Collaborative integrated delivery

  • 36 partners and collaborators.
  • $2.3M+ leveraged value from collaborations with landholders, scientists, industry, universities and government.
  • Integrated grazier support delivery offered through collaborative delivery partners.
  • 9 properties involved with community water sampling program working with scientists.

Improved land management

  • 40 per cent of grazing properties with on-ground water quality practice change contracts report to the Paddock to Reef Program (P2R).
  • Preliminary cost effectiveness results identified multiple on-ground projects with sediment savings <$10 per tonne. 
  • Individual, peer to peer, cluster groups and sub-catchment approaches to improved land management are being adopted.

Facilitating change and overcoming barriers

  • 65 per cent of landholders say they are now motivated to do more to improve water quality
  • A New Incentives program launched to help accelerate practice change to improve water quality.
  • Facilitated engagement between landholders and government decision makers on relevant policy and regulatory issues:
    • Informed and provided feedback for reef protection regulations.
    • Held vegetation management laws workshops.
    • A roundtable prioritised an on-property trial to better understand and to test the interaction between the reef protection regulations and vegetation management requirements.

Building knowledge, attitudes, skills and aspirations

  • 92 educational and knowledge sharing events, attended by 870+ people.
  • 81 per cent of landholders reported it was ‘likely’ or ‘very likely’ they would use the techniques and information they had learnt through the LDC project. 
  • 18 landholders receiving tailored technical advice.
  • 14 graziers took part in a tailored professional development and leadership program.
  • Rolling out an accelerated research project – Mt Pleasant Hub – an innovative demonstration site and learning hub.

Stewardship

  • 74 per cent of stakeholders have seen a moderate or substantial improvement in the culture of stewardship within the community, more than double from the previous survey.
  • A transferable stewardship reporting framework is being trialed to capture Paddock to Reef social indicator data.
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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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