The Reef Water Quality Protection Plan is a joint initiative of the Australian and Queensland Governments. Its Secretariat produces a regular newsletter. The January edition of that newsletter includes updates on Reef Rescue, tools for landholders, the Scientific Consensus Statement update, Paddock to Reef, Project Catalyst and case studies from across the Reef regions. You can view the newsletter or subscribe online here.
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.
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
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.
The Desert Channels Group (DCG) have recently embarked on an important project to ensure the continued high standard of water quality in the region. Surface water monitoring is happening at a number of locations in the Galilee Basin.
“The regular collection of water samples at some of the most important river systems in the Desert Channels, North Queensland Dry Tropics and Southern Gulf regions will help to determine baseline information about the quality of the water in our rivers” said Christine O’Brien, DC Solutions Project Manager.
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.
Trudy and Lachlan Mace’s property near Stanage Bay in central Queensland encompasses more than ten thousand hectares of magnificent marine plains, estuarine wetland and freshwater creeks.
Fencing erected this year on Toorilla Station is giving greater protection to 11 freshwater creeks, which supply 285 ha of wetland, from the effects of erosion from cattle grazing on the property.
Rainy weather in CQ in the last few years has been a boon for local wetlands, and the fish, birds and other wildlife that rely on them. One local grower is helping protect local natural beauty by reducing run-off from his property.
The Coleman family farm produces a range of foods that appear on the menu for most families including sweet potatoes, sweet corn, zucchini, pumpkins as well as melons. A wetland located downhill from the farm situated on the Fitzroy flood plain at Gracemere, west of Rockhampton, is being protected from stormwater run-off thanks to Reef Rescue funding. Continue Reading…
Fitzroy Basin Association (FBA) is working in partnership with companies and groups to monitor the health of waterways in the Fitzoy Basin and make water quality information available to the public. Other members of the Fitzroy Partnership for River Health include the Queensland Government, local mining companies, Central Queensland University and regional councils.
A first for the Fitzroy Basin and following the successful model established through the South East Queensland Healthy Waterways Partnership, the Fitzroy partnership represents a huge step forward in improving public understanding of water quality issues and confidence in the transparency of water quality monitoring efforts. Continue Reading…
Reef Catchments (Mackay Whitsunday Isaac) Limited staff recently travelled 120 kilometres offshore to find out how the Great Barrier Reef has been affected by fresh water flowing in from the flooded Fitzroy River.
Reef Catchments Water Manager, Carl Mitchell, said the group hoped to detect what had been carried through the flood waters into the Reef and assess the flood’s extent. Continue Reading…