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Mackay Whitsunday and Fitzroy catchment restoration projects

The Mackay Whitsunday and Fitzroy regions are at the heart of the Great Barrier Reef region. Improving water quality in these regions is a priority to ensure clean water flows to the Reef.

The following on-ground projects are funded through the Queensland Reef Water Quality Program to reduce sediment, nutrients and pesticides in waterways in these catchments.

Delivering tailored solutions to Mackay Whitsunday growers to improve nutrient management (All Mackay Whitsunday catchments)

Proponent: Farmacist

This project is working with 150 sugarcane growers to develop site specific nutrient plans that meet all regulatory requirements and also improves nutrient management to a within block scale. Farmers receive practical hands-on assistance with the project including activities such as calibrating equipment to establishing Action Learning Groups to identify areas of focus, extend learning and increase the adoption of improved practices.

Achieving whole-of-system water quality improvement in the Janes Creek catchment (Pioneer catchment)

Proponent: Reef Catchments

This is a whole-of-system project integrating management practice adoption, system repair and treatment solutions to improve water quality within the Janes Creek catchment. Reef Catchments is engaging with all cane farmers, graziers and harvesting contractors in the catchment to work collectively to improve their practices, conduct system repair and install treatment solutions, and to evaluate and monitor the water quality improvements within the discrete area.

Pathways to water quality improvements in the Myrtle Creek sub-catchment (Proserpine catchment)

Proponent: Sugar Research Australia

This project is working with four grower groups with each targeting 10 growers to identify and implement practice change opportunities to reduce nitrogen and pesticide losses from sugarcane farms. The project will monitor and evaluate end-of-paddock water quality impacts of changed practices. Each group will be supported by a dedicated facilitator with agronomic and group learning experience. The project methodology will use knowledge gained from previous successful projects, particularly in terms of direct grower engagement, peer-to-peer learning, grower-led water quality sampling and growers’ perception about the need for practice change. Demonstration farms with two sets of comparative practices will be monitored for water quality and productivity.

Grassroots project

Proponent: Resource Consulting Services (RCS)

Project Grassroots is working with 25 grazing businesses in the Fitzroy and Mackay Whitsunday regions to reduce soil and particulate nutrient losses into waterways. RCS is providing skills training and tailoring grazing management advice and practices to suit individual circumstances. RCS will work with graziers to identify and implement practices that help improve profitability, facilitate the transition towards ‘A’ class land condition, showcase sustainable grazing businesses to the wider grazing community and help to reduce sediment entering Reef waters.

Fitzroy River catchment erosion gully restoration: reducing the Great Barrier Reef sediment load

Proponent: Greening Australia

Greening Australia is working local landholders in the Fitzroy River catchment area to reduce erosion by restoring gullies and streambanks in high priority areas within the catchment. Work includes gully revegetation with porous check dams, supported by fencing, watering points and reduced grazing pressure. The on-ground gully restoration will deliver water quality benefits with the project’s demonstration and extension activities providing practical support and confidence to graziers to achieve land management practice change. Additional monitoring will be undertaken to understand the effectiveness of different treatments.