Erosion Management

Reef Rescue: Improving farm efficiency

Thirty years ago, Isis cane farmer Mark Mammino’s father told him that there wasn’t much more they could be doing to improve their farming efficiency. That was before the widespread adoption of green cane harvesting. While the farming business has long enjoyed the associated benefits of trash retention, much like most of the district, these days Mark and his wife Deran continue to look for any opportunity available to improve their farming efficiency and management of their 300 ha of cane land around Childers. Continue Reading…

Big outcomes for largest catchment draining to GBR

Central Queensland’s leading natural resource management group Fitzroy Basin Association Inc. (FBA) coordinated the delivery of more than $30 million in funding under the first five years of Reef Rescue with over 800,000 hectares encompassed by on-ground projects.

FBA CEO Paul Birch said during this time FBA and its delivery partners worked with land managers and the community to adopt better practices, protect and restore sensitive ecosystems, and improve knowledge of the link between water quality and the reef. Continue Reading…

Walkway and viewing platform to protect hidden gem

Tucked away on the North West side of North Stradbroke Island, is a hidden gem known as Myora Springs, which has long had a cultural significance for the Traditional Owner group here, the Quandamooka people, who locally refer to this site as Capembah Springs, which refers to the big hill just south of the Spring.

With a nationally endangered littoral rainforest on one side, and sheltering mangroves on the other, the unique natural beauty of these springs has made it a popular water hole, frequently visited by some of the local schools and universities.

To ensure preservation of this unique spot for future generations, a need was identified to help manage some of the unintentional erosion and a loss of vegetation, including mangrove dieback, that was occurring due to a high number of visitors walking across the area.

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Hard work heals the landscape on ‘Wahroonga’

Repeated flood events have left a legacy of scars across Queensland’s farming landscape but you would have to look pretty hard to find any on Robyn Brosnan’s Millmerran cattle property.

During the past two years Robyn has been working alongside QMDC’s soil conservation officers and Millmerran Landcare to remove all trace of a six-metre deep gully which rapidly progressed on ‘Wahroonga’ after the January 2011 flood. Continue Reading…

Dairying Better ‘N Better on YouTube

The Dairying Better ‘N Better team is showcasing a range of the industry’s successful Reef Rescue projects through a new YouTube channel.

The videos showcase the high level of work undertaken by farmers along the Queensland coast and highlight the high value of the projects – both to the environment through improved water quality and to farms and farmers via improved management.

The channel has already had hundreds of views and the Dairying Better ‘N Better team (which is a partnership between the Queensland Dairyfarmers Organisation and Subtropical Dairy) sees it as an effective means of telling the good stories associated with Reef Rescue and general dairy farmer stewardship of the land.

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Keeping soil on farms and out of rivers

Life as a primary producer isn’t easy, no matter where you live. For primary producers in the dry tropics however, there are some unique challenges.

Dry tropics producers may endure long periods without rain and when it does arrive, it comes in monsoonal downpours. A big wet season can destroy fencing, remove topsoil and cause the loss of nutrients and seeds.

As Sustainable Agriculture Officer, Josh Schwarz, says, “Those soils represent your earning potential because pastures love to grow in them. Soil erosion leaves subsoils behind and unfortunately, the subsoils in our region are often of poor quality and they dissolve easily.”

That’s why helping farmers minimise sediment loss and maximise water quality is a priority for NQ Dry Tropics. NQ Dry Tropics staff meet station owners, listen to their plans and try to work with them to achieve their goals.

“All landholders have a dozen things they’d love to establish on their property if money wasn’t a limiting factor. It might be fencing, it might be returning vegetation to a stream bank or restoring soil health. If we can help them, we do,” Josh says.

Staff work with landholders by providing technical expertise, extension activities, training and grants. Landholders are consulted throughout and projects are tailored for each property.

We’ve been here for 20 odd years and we’ve always wanted to improve our fencing and water infrastructure so we can better manage our pastures. NQ Dry Tropics has made this feasible and we’re really happy with the result and the input we’ve received.

Wayne Shadforth, Lincoln Springs Station

Cane growing brothers keen for change

Greg, Jamie and Brian Dore are well-known cane farmers in the Euramo region just south of Tully and have received Reef Rescue funding for a zonal offset discing project. This means that only 42% of the total area of their property is being tilled, significantly reducing the amount of soil that is worked.

Including their own farm, the Dores manage over 1,000 hectares of cane land in the district and are keen to participate in industry information sharing events, such as ‘farmers teaching farmers’ days as well as innovative projects like Project Catalyst, which supports cane growers to develop and test new practices in sugarcane production.

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Improving water quality through watering points

Farmers in the Fitzroy Basin, the largest catchment draining to the Great Barrier Reef, have been working to construct fences and watering points to keep cattle away from streams and creeks.

Central Queensland’s leading natural resource management group, Fitzroy Basin Association Inc. (FBA) CEO Paul Birch said these measures reduce the erosion of creek beds and improves the quality of water that flows from our basin to the reef.

“In the past year FBA has worked with farmers, landholders and community groups to fence over 400 kilometres of streams and creeks,” Mr Birch said.

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Protecting the River’s neck

The North Johnstone River is threatening to change course across a narrow neck of land on a farm in Far North Queensland potentially affecting water quality and availability of productive land over a large area. A low cost solution is being attempted to tackle what could be a large and expensive problem.

Not only is one of the paddocks under threat, but the breakthrough of the river could cause erosion and bank slumping for kilometres upstream. Weeds are trapping sediment and pushing water towards the erosion face which is enhancing the likelihood of the breakthrough.

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Reducing sediment loss in cyclone clean-up

In the Wet Tropics, the Australian Government’s Reef Rescue program is not only helping farmers to improve their land management practices so as to reduce sediment, chemical and nutrient runoff, but it is also reducing sediment loss in the clean-up of forestry blocks that were left almost completely destroyed by last year’s devastating cyclone.

Forestry Plantations Queensland (FPQ) Pty Ltd has been successful in acquiring a Water Quality Incentive Grant to minimise environmental impacts whilst replanting trees that were destroyed by Cyclone Yasi.

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