Reef Aid

Fixing eroding gullies at Landers Creek

Greening Australia worked with the landholders at Landers Creek Station to restore two eroding gullies and re-establish vegetation cover, reducing sediment run off into the Burdekin River and helping improve water quality for the Great Barrier Reef.

Landers Creek Station is a 15,900 ha property with a long history of grazing, located approximately 23 km south of Clare, in the Burdekin River catchment. These are the traditional lands of the Yilba, Yangga, Biri, and Gugu-Badhun nations.

Greening Australia has worked with the landholders, the Tudehopes, to fix two eroding gullies on the station leading into Landers Creek, which flows into the Burdekin River, and to help the land recover and thrive.

The Challenge

Next to climate change, poor water quality is the greatest threat to the Great Barrier Reef. Fine sediment flowing from eroding land onto the Great Barrier Reef smothers coral and fishes, creates algal blooms and weakens the Reef’s ability to recover from the impacts of climate change like coral bleaching.

Ninety percent of the fine clay particles that end up in the Great Barrier Reef lagoon come from the land, predominantly from eroding gullies and stream banks. The Burdekin River Catchment is estimated to deliver almost 50% of the total sediment that makes its way to the Reef, making it a high priority for restoration.

The two eroding gullies that were on Landers Creek Station flowed into Landers Creek, which flows into the Burdekin River, so they were a priority for restoration.

Due to the extended drought, there were large areas of bare ground or relatively low grass cover on the property, meaning the site was even more vulnerable to erosion than usual during major rainfall events. There were also invasive weeds on the property; for example, patches of Rubber Vine (Cryptostegia grandiflora) and denser thickets of Chinee Apple (Ziziphis mauritiana).

The Solution

We can make a big impact on water quality and the long-term health and survival of the Great Barrier Reef by reducing the amount of sediment flowing off the land.

We worked with the landholders at Landers Creek Station to fix some of the major sediment loss and erosion issues on the property.

We used the latest scientific and practical gully remediation methods to ensure lasting reductions in the amount of sediment flowing to the Reef from Landers Creek, regrading, reshaping and slowing water flow in the gullies.

The restoration actions we undertook with the landholders also included:

  • fencing to control grazing stock, allowing time for vegetation to re-establish
  • installing watering facilities to encourage livestock away from stream banks
  • weed control at the project sites
  • revegetation of the gullies with native perennial grass species to help stabilise the soil and control erosion.

To help maintain the outcomes from the gully restoration works, the landholders also adjusted their grazing management practices for approximately 40 ha of land, including the fenced project area, aiming to retain approximately 70 per cent groundcover.


What we achieved

Remediation of the two Landers Creek sites was completed in 2020. A total area of 2.2 hectares of erosion was remediated and revegetated. Follow up monitoring has found remediating these sites is saving a total of 548 tonnes of fine sediment from reaching the Great Barrier Reef each year. Vegetation has successfully established across the sites and the fencing that was installed will increase the likelihood that the grazing pressure is managed in a way that maintains optimum ground cover.

This project was funded by the Australian Government’s Reef Trust, and delivered through Greening Australia’s Reef Aid program. For more information, please send us an online query.