Wet Tropics Major Integrated Project
Between December 2016 and June 2017, Terrain NRM organised a series of workshops with landholders and consortium members to design the Wet Tropics Major Integrated Project (WTMIP). The design stage was completed in July 2017.
The WTMIP program design encompasses a variety of ideas and solutions that are tailored to the Johnstone and Tully catchments, integrating the needs of cane and banana communities with the needs of the local landscape and the Great Barrier Reef.
Key components of the program design include:
- Installing, trialling and monitoring catchment repair and treatment systems, including wetlands, bioreactors, high efficiency sediment basins and riparian buffer zones, to improve quality of water entering the GBR systems
- Increasing support services for growers by investing in five extension staff, and providing performance-based incentives and technical support for landholders
- Local scale water monitoring in key locations to better understand the links between land management and water quality
- Engagement activities to support a collaborative, whole-of-catchment effort to improving water quality
- Influencing activities to reduce barriers for change, including trialling of innovative finance options and investment opportunities such as trialling Reef Credits
Monitoring and evaluation
The WTMIP has developed a Monitoring, Evaluation, Reporting and Improvement Plan to support the program design. This plan outlines how activities will be monitored to evaluate improvements in stewardship, land management and local water quality and inform adaptive management throughout the implementation stage. Funds have been set aside to set monitoring and evaluation for the WTMIP.
A component of the WTMIP includes establishing and trialling a Reef Credits scheme to improve water quality in the Great Barrier Reef.
The Reef Credits trial will function like other voluntary environmental markets around the world with an independent crediting body that will issue Reef Credits to landholders that have implemented projects that comply with approved methods for reducing nitrogen, sediment or pesticide losses. Under this trial, landholders can generate and sell Reef Credits to buyers including government, industry and not-for-profit organisations.
Reef Credits will be trialled initially in the Wet Tropics, and if successful, this scheme could expand into other catchments and attract private investment into water quality improvement projects. The trial will include establishment of an overarching framework for Reef Credits and how it could be applied across all GBR catchments, including setting the value of Reef Credits in terms of tonnes of sediment, nutrient and pesticide saved.
Credits will only be issued for projects that have been independently verified to have complied with methodologies approved under the Reef Credit framework.
Visit the Terrain website for more information on Reef Credits.
On 2 and 3 March 2017, Terrain NRM held creativity workshops in Mourilyan and Tully. Over 230 people attended the workshops, a third of which were local landholders. The impressive turnout generated more than 500 community-driven ideas for improving water quality in local waterways.
Read more about the creativity workshops.
Terrain NRM collated the community driven ideas generated through the creativity workshops into over 90 concepts to inform the technical prioritisation workshop, held on 20 and 21 March 2017. This workshop was about bringing together technical knowledge and community suggestions to underpin the MIPs design process. Terrain NRM used knowledge from key experts, industry representatives, and local landholders to assess those concepts and decide if they needed further development. Terrain considered each concept for its potential to garner community support, as well as location, feasibility, cost-effectiveness, socio-economic factors and level of innovation.
In order to complete the WTMIP program design, further engagement and consultation was required with partners and broader community in the Tully and lower Johnstone.
Solutions workshops were held on the 27 and 28 April to discuss the most promising concepts and enable input and refinement of the Draft Program Design from stakeholders and the broader community. This was an important opportunity for everyone to be part of the final program design by providing on-the-spot feedback opportunities.
The WTMIP will now move into the implementation phase by beginning work on the themes outlined in the program design— catchment repair and treatment systems, farm services, local scale monitoring, our catchment – our community, and influencing.