Collinsville washdown facility up and running

THE region’s first community washdown facility has been installed in Collinsville to prevent the spread of weeds.

Designed for 4WDs, it’s at Darby Munro Park, Davidson Road. LDC, in partnership with the Whitsunday Regional Council (WRC) funded the facility, worth $10,000.

Washdown facilities are an important tool to help manage the spread of weeds, and defend the region against weed seed spread to protect the viability of the local agriculture industry.

The Collinsville washdown facility came about as a result of the LDC and Burdekin Dry Tropics Regional Pest Management Group’s Pest Advisory Forum held in Collinsville in March, where graziers raised concerns about biosecurity risks associated with outside bodies accessing grazing lands.

In the interests of working with the whole Bowen Bogie Broken (BBB) community to achieve long-term economic, social and environmental benefits, the LDC project team saw this as a much needed facility. It has also allowed the WRC to plan for a second washdown facility for larger vehicles.

The facility is 8 metres long and 3 metres wide so 4WDs can drive on top of a pad that is free draining with dirty water trapped in a catch pit. The simple design of the facility also demonstrates a low-cost effective washdown which can be replicated on rural properties.

Council is organising a grand opening and we will inform the community once a date has been confirmed.

The washdown facility in Collinsville is now operational

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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.

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*GLMWW = Grazing Land Management Wire and Water

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*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.

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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.

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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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