Whoa | Landholders Driving Change

Workshop participants inspect the early stage of Darryl Hill’s work on the whoa boy

Darryl Hill begins to form the whoa boy watched by workshop participants

Darryl Hill shows NQ Dry Tropics Grazing Field Officer Eilis Walker is shown the finer points of operating the staff

Whoa boy project rolls on

across the BBB

 

  • March-December 2019
  • Across the BBB catchment

THE LDC whoa boy project continues to roll out across the catchment in 2019.

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.

The project is expected to provide the following benefits:

  • Catchment wide water quality improvement through improved farm track design and drainage.
  • Improved knowledge, attitudes, skills and aspirations of landholders and service providers (contractors).
  • Demonstrate time and budget efficiencies in service delivery to achieve soil conservation outcomes.

Last year LDC hosted highly-respected landcare specialist and plant operator Darryl Hill to deliver erosion control grader training to the project’s pool of plant contractors. Interested landholders also took part in this training.

Daryl Hill’s training exposed plant contractors and landholders to practical, alternative approaches to prevent water erosion on station roads, tracks, firebreaks and fence lines.

It also provided 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 machinery 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.

The whoa boy project is part of the LDC’s BBB Grazier Support integrated program that is being rolled out this year.  For more information: BBB Grazier Support program.

 

Exevale Station grazier Buster O’Loughlin puts the finishing touches on an erosion control bank

Workshop presenter Darryl, left, guides Greg Lennox QPWS through the intricacies of a dumpy level

Darryl Hill puts Eungella Station Lachlan McEvoy through ihs paces on the dumpy level

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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

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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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