Reef Trust Phase IV – Riparian revegetation & rehabilitation in the Mary River Catchment –
The Australian Government’s Reef Trust Phase IV funding is focused on riparian revegetation activities in priority catchments of the Great Barrier Reef which includes the Mary River catchment. In 2017 the MRCCC successfully applied for Reef Trust Phase IV funding for a project called “Great Barrier Reef Riparian Zone Management – a Mary Catchment Project”. This project will operate until 2022. The concept of the MRCCC Reef Trust Phase IV project proposal was to build on the successful work completed during the past 6 years of the Biodiversity Fund project implementation – particularly targeting riparian revegetation activities in core reaches of the Mary River & tributaries.
In July 2017, two members of Reef Trust visited the Mary River catchment; Peter Hairsine (MRCCC Technical Advisor) and Giles West, for a start-up meeting for the MRCCC Reef Trust Phase IV Project.
Following this meeting the MRCCC conducted an audit of existing riparian rehabilitation projects along the main trunk of the Mary River noting their position eg. outside bend, inside bend etc. With this information the MRCCC prepared a project plan that identified a series of potential project sites for on-ground works that incorporated existing riparian rehabilitation project sites.
During 2018 the MRCCC prepared concept plans to enable implementation of four target reaches, which are:
|Reef Trust Phase IV target reach||Mary River & Tributaries Rehabilitation Plan reach|
|Mary River, Kenilworth to Moy Pocket||MAR 6 & MAR 7|
|Mary River, Traveston Crossing to Dagun||MAR 8 & MAR 9|
|Middle Amamoor Creek||AMA 2, AMA3, AMA4|
|Middle Kandanga Creek||KAN 2, KAN 3, KAN 4|
The Amamoor and Kandanga Creeks have been selected for inclusion in the Reef Trust IV project as these tributaries are identified as high sediment load contributors according to the QLD Government “Source” catchment modelling program, and are also valuable as riparian vegetation seed sources into specific reaches of the Mary River. The Mary River has very few remnant rainforest areas remaining that can provide seed for regeneration. Consequently maintaining the condition of the tributaries with good remnant riparian rainforest is critical for the replenishment of seed into the Mary River.
Incorporated into the concept plan for each reach is identification of project sites where on-ground work can occur, the types of on-ground work, an indicative budget for each site, estimates of rate of bank erosion and an engagement strategy for each of the target reaches. To prepare these concept plans the MRCCC has relied heavily on information contained in existing reports and strategies such as the Mary River & Tributaries Rehabilitation Plan, fluvial geomorphic studies of specific reaches e.g. the Kenilworth, Mary River fluvial geomorphic plan and unpublished reports from the QLD Government. Each of these concept plans is required to be reviewed and approved by the MRCCC technical partner, Peter Hairsine, before implementation of on-ground works can commence.
Implementation of these concept plans will commence before December 2018. The MRCCC has been consulting with prospective landholders that are willing to be involved in the implementation of the Reef Trust Phase IV project. Some of these landholders are known to MRCCC, while others are new landholders. Over the past 12 months the MRCCC has proactively buit capacity in the new landholders through invitations to field-days and workshops to broaden their understanding of the nature of the current and planned Reef Trust activities in the catchment. By improving their understanding and awareness of these activities landholders are much better informed of the complexities of implementing these projects on their own properties.
A key aspect of the Reef Trust projects is a strong monitoring program. A monitoring program has been developed that will incorporate some elements of the Biocondition monitoring that the MRCCC has pioneered for riparian rehabilitation site into the formal Reef Trust toolbox monitoring method.
A program and calendar of pre-implementation monitoring sites has been prepared, and an MRCCC monitoring team has been established. The monitoring team (Bec Watson, Belinda Wedlock) has prior experience using the toolbox monitoring program, based on their experience gained from monitoring the Reef Trust II Gully Erosion Control Program sites managed by MRCCC.
Reef Trust III, Grazing Lands in the Mary Catchment
The MRCCC Reef Trust Program works with grazing landholders to adopt grazing land management practices that achieve Reef Trust outcomes in terms of nutrient and sediment losses to the reef. The project team will provide graziers with extension support, technical advice, training and financial incentives to implement eligible on-ground projects using best land management practices.
A key component of the new Reef Trust #3 Program is the use of the Grazing BMP self-assessment tool to allow graziers to benchmark their own grazing practices against Beef Industry standards. Interested graziers will first need to register for the Grazing BMP component. This can be completed on-line or at a local workshop.
The Reef Trust #3 Program will focus on the Mary Valley sub-catchments, the Widgee, Glastonbury and Wide Bay Creek sub-catchments, and southwards including the Upper Mary sub-catchment of the Kenilworth and Conondale districts. Click on the link for a map of the priority areas. The Mary River is the southern-most of these reef catchments, with the grazing sector being the largest single land manager ie about 70% of the catchment area.
Improved grazing land condition leads to greater pasture productivity, improved resilience to climate extremes and enterprise profitability, by reducing the loss of valuable sediments and nutrients from our grazing lands. Wetland systems such as riparian zones, billabongs, marshes etc will be a particular focus due to their key function of filtering out nutrients and sediments from the grazing landscape, before they reach the river systems.
Click on the link to see examples of projects and to download an Expression of Interest form EOI 2016-2017 or contact the MRCCC to be mailed a copy.
Reef Trust Gully Erosion Control Program in the Mary River Catchment
This project involves gully management in highly erodible sub-catchments of the Mary River Catchment, predominantly in the Western Mary Catchment grazing lands. This includes the districts of Kilkivan, Kinbombi, Woolooga, Widgee, Glastonbury, Brooweena, Boompa, Aramara, Miva, Mungar, Yengarie etc.
The objective of the project is a long term reduction in sediment and nutrient runoff from highly erodible gullies in grazing lands. On ground projects will focus on both hillslope and alluvial gullies on fragile duplex soils. These soils have a known high erosion risk and currently export significant fine sediments to the Great Barrier Reef. The Western Mary Catchment Grazing Land Type booklet identifies these high risk soil types in each Landscape Unit.
Examples of eligible on-ground gully control projects could include;
Fencing to protect all gully stabilisation works, to remediate early stages of gully formation, to manage cattle access to drainage lines with a high risk of gully formation.
Stock watering points: installing tanks and troughs to provide alternate water supply to drainage lines, positioning tanks and troughs high in the landscape away from drainage lines to reduce nutrient losses from the property.
Stabilisation methods such as building leaky weirs etc to trap sediments and stabilise the lowering of the gully floor, revegetation and direct seeding of stoloniferous grasses and lomandra to trap the fine silts and nutrients and hard-walling gully heads to check gully advancement up the slope.
Click on the link to download an Expression of Interest form for the project.