Good chance to see landscape rehydration at work on Worona

  • Landscape Rehydration field trip
  • Postponed – date to be confirmed
  • Worona Station, near Charters Towers
  • Leave Bowen 7am
  • For more information: Adrienne Hall  m: 0428 158 859

In response to considerable landholder interest, NQ Dry Tropics has become increasingly involved with the concept of landscape rehydration. 

Grazier Chris Le Feuvre, of Worona, is one of these landholders.

He has rehabilitated his property using landscape rehydration techniques to slow water down and hold it in the landscape for longer – to improve drought resilience.

This approach involves improving rainwater retention on the land, while building soil carbon to re-establish the natural function of the landscape.

The anticipated outcomes of this process are a longer growing season, and more areas of green plant material – each of which can be expected to directly improve livestock production in the Dry Tropics rangelands. 

Additionally, the process also makes a valuable contribution to carbon sequestration.

Given that Dry Tropics landholders plan for a non-growing season of up to 270 days, and feed quality declines rapidly during this period, it is reasonable to expect that any increase in green plant availability will boost landholders’ ability to increase beef cattle production.

It should also assist them to reduce direct costs such as supplementation, thereby improving the profitability and economic sustainability of their grazing enterprise. 

Through the landscape rehydration approach, NQ Dry Tropics has also worked on aspects of repair and intervention; such as implementing improved grazing management, and direct intervention in eroded floodplains. 

The interventions and improved practices being implemented by graziers partnering with NQ Dry Tropics — which include landscape rehydration initiatives — aim to reverse this decline.

Worona Station grazier Chris LeFeuvre


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.
KEQ #8

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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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*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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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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