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Reducing sediment run-off

Reducing sediment run-off to protect the Great Barrier Reef.

Duration 00:01:56

Farmers, scientists and industry experts are leading the way to reduce sediment flowing into local waterways and out into the waters of the Great Barrier Reef.

Sediment run-off, caused by erosion, washes into the Reef area in large plumes. There, the fine sediment combines with debris making gluey masses (flocs) which land on and cover coral, preventing the coral and underwater ecosystem from receiving the natural light it needs to survive.

Producers are making changes to their practices, including improving grazing management and addressing hillslope, gully and streambank erosion, a major contributor to sediment loads in waterways. Cattle movements, poor vegetation and changes to drainage lines are just some of the contributing factors to the formation of gullies.

Best practice management approaches, scientific studies and locally designed solutions underpin a significant program of works, funded through the Queensland Reef Water Quality Program, to improve farming practices and water quality in Reef catchments.

Highlights

With a significant investment, intensive focus and a ground up approach, the Major Integrated Projects (MIPs) are a ground-breaking innovation aimed at achieving accelerated water quality outcomes in the Wet Tropics and Burdekin.

Under the Burdekin Major Integrated Project—Landholders Driving Change, graziers and scientists have designed land condition and water quality improvement solutions that will protect the graziers’ productive lands and the Great Barrier Reef.

Key components of Burdekin MIP—Landholders Driving Change—include:

  • trialling solutions to remediate significant erosion features
  • flexible and tailored support services to engage graziers in the Bowen-Broken-Bogie catchment
  • exploring incentives and policy options to support graziers to manage sustainably for long-term results
  • engaging with other land managers to deliver collaborative solutions.

The Grazing Resilience and Sustainable Solutions (GRASS) program supports graziers in the Burdekin, Fitzroy and Burnett Mary regions with areas of poor and degraded land condition to develop and implement a tailor-made action plan for land management. The action plan provides graziers with the latest tools and information to identify, maintain and improve their land condition with a specific focus to improve ground cover and reduce soil loss from their farm. Participating landholders may also be eligible to apply for incentive funding for works identified in action plans such as small-to-medium scale gully remediation and riparian and hillslope fencing.

Many Queensland producers are embracing new technologies and tools to improve their farming practices, bottom line and environmental performance. FORAGE is an online tool which generates and delivers information for land management to graziers so they can make more informed decisions about their properties and the environment.

FORAGE allows producers to access the latest grazing science for property management and track ground cover, pasture growth and climate, using satellite imagery, SILO climate data and the outputs from GRASP and AussieGRASS grazing system models.

The Queensland Government is trialling innovative gully remediation techniques in partnership with Greening Australia at Strathalbyn Station in the Burdekin to identify the most cost-effective solutions and undertaking erosion management work on Springvale Station in Cape York.

Across industry and the Queensland and Australian governments, there are a number of other programs and support tools that help graziers adopt improved farming practices and reduce sediment run-off.

Other resources

How you can help

From the Great Barrier Reef to Moreton Bay, all Queensland waterways are connected. There are things all of us can do to help. For example, avoiding littering, wherever you live, will prevent litter getting into waterways and making its way to the Great Barrier Reef. If you live in Reef catchment areas, you can make sure soil and fertiliser stays on your property.

And regardless of where you live, you can take actions to reduce your carbon footprint to ease the stress on the planet

Find out more about how you can help.