Whoa boy project to include Darryl Hill video lessons

  • August – October
  • BBB catchment
  • Contact: Brendan Smith (brendan.smith@nqdrytropics.com.au)

Never before has a whoa boy project rolled out across the BBB catchment. Every landholder in the catchment is invited to be involved.  Hurry to  be a part of it contact Brendan Smith – 0417 408 587.
LDC is hosting landcare specialist and plant operator Darryl Hill to deliver erosion control grader training to the project’s pool of plant contractors and landholders from the first week of September before delivering the project from September through to November.
A goal of LDC is to provide information that would not otherwise be available, so that land managers can make well-informed decisions.  Individuals and farm businesses need information and tools to support effective adaptation decisions.
That is why we are working with Darryl Hill to produce an informative video about using whoa-boys for erosion control.  It will provide a practical step by step guide on how to identify where to place whoa boys, how to construct whoa boys and maintenance tips.
We are also collating Darryl’s theoretical and practical handouts into an easy to read reference. These resources will be developed over the coming months and will be made available to all BBB graziers.
Whoa boys are a simple method for controlling erosion on unsealed roads, tracks and fire lines.
They are strategically placed to catch water and divert it off the road reducing flow concentration and erosion risk.
Darryl Hill’s training will expose plant contractors and landholders to practical, alternative approaches to prevent water erosion on station roads, tracks, firebreaks and fence lines.
It will also provide participants with:

  • a better understanding of the cause of water erosion problems on station tracks and fence lines;
  • an overview of traditional versus alternative ways of dealing with water erosion problems;
  • basic surveying principles;
  • on-ground experience in basic surveying skills and the use of a dumpy level; and
  • a demonstration of grader techniques for erosion control.

The whoa boy project fits in with the LDC’s project aims to tackle erosion and improve land management, productivity and water quality flowing into the Great Barrier Reef lagoon.

IF you need whoa boys constructed, or existing ones maintained, contact Brendan Smith on mobile 0417 408 587 or email brendan.smith@nqdrytropics.com.au .

 

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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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