We are working with the Woorabinda Aboriginal Shire Council (WASC) to improve water quality for the Great Barrier Reef and create employment and training opportunities for community by stabilising eroding gullies and streambanks across WASC land in Central Queensland, Gaangalu Nation Country.

Remediation, repair and protection of the environment has always been at the heart of caring for Country for Traditional Owners. This Reef Assist project seeks to combine modern science and remediation techniques with traditional healing of Country to bring environmental, economic and cultural benefits.

The Challenge

Sediment runoff from the land can impact water quality for the Great Barrier Reef, causing problems for Reef ecosystems such as seagrass meadows and delicate corals which have not evolved to cope with high volumes of land-based sediment and nutrients. Since colonisation, large-scale clearing for agriculture and housing has decreased the stability of soils, particularly during rainfall events, and increased the amount of sediment and nutrients reaching Reef ecosystems.

Repairing sources of sediment, such as gullies and eroding streambanks, can therefore have a significant impact on the health, resilience and survival of the Great Barrier Reef by improving the quality of water leaving rivers and reaching the Reef.

Australia’s Traditional Owners managed the land sustainably for over 40,000 years, but until very recently, much of this multi-generational knowledge around caring for Country and ways of managing land has been overlooked in restoration efforts. This needs to change so we can work together more holistically to repair our fragile and beautiful Australian landscape, benefit communities and economies, and help protect the Great Barrier Reef from further damage.

The Project

Working with the WASC, the Woorabinda Rangers, and technical experts Neilly Group Engineering, we’ve created a plan to repair four gullies and two streambank locations across Woorabinda Shire. This collaboration helps to both repair the land and improve cultural connection with Country.

Traditional understanding of the Australian landscape is invaluable and necessary for providing insights into the needs of Country. Combining this knowledge with modern engineering ensures that the repair works are resilient and continue to support the ongoing repair of gullies and streambanks over time.

The Legacy

The gullies and streambanks will be supported using water diversion banks and rock armouring, and vegetation cover will be re-established to hold the land surface together and help reinstate the natural balance of water movement over land. This work is expected to prevent approximately 20 tonnes of sediment from reaching the Great Barrier Reef each year.

Training offered through this project will allow for the WASC and Woorabinda Rangers to monitor and manage these repaired areas, ensuring ongoing impact and sediment savings well into the future. Additionally, this project will help set up a legacy of knowledge around how to monitor and repair these landscape features into the future, so that those who know Country can continue to care for Country, as they always have and always will.

The Woorabinda Healing Country and Gully Remediation Program is funded through the Queensland Government’s $33.5 million Reef Assist program under the Queensland Reef Water Quality Program and delivered by Greening Australia’s Reef Aid team in partnership with Woorabinda Aboriginal Shire Council.

For more information, please feel free to send us an online query.

Project Partners