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Reef Aid

Fixing eroding gullies at Landers Creek

Greening Australia is working 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 is working 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.

Water running down from the two eroding gullies on Landers Creek Station flow into Landers Creek, which flows into the Burdekin River, so they are a priority for restoration.

Due to the recent extended drought, there are large areas of bare ground or relatively low grass cover on the property, meaning the site is even more vulnerable to erosion than usual during major rainfall events. There are 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 are working with the landholders at Landers Creek Station to fix some of the major sediment loss and erosion issues on the property, and to help the land recover and thrive.

We are using 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. Trials have shown that the gully restoration techniques we use can reduce sediment run-off by more than 80% in less than three years.

The restoration actions we are taking together with the landholders also involve:

  • 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 that will help stabilise the soil and control erosion.

To help maintain the outcomes from the gully restoration works, the landholders will also adjust their grazing management practices for approximately 40 ha of land, including the fenced project area, aiming to retain approximately 70 per cent groundcover. A rotational grazing strategy will be used to improve pasture and soil health as well as productivity.
 

Progress

The construction on the project commenced July 2020 and was completed in August 2020. By restoring the gullies at Landers Creek, we’ve stopped 460 tonnes of sediment from entering the Great Barrier Reef per year.

We will continue to monitor how our plantings are responding to rainfall, and the condition of the gullies following rainfall events.

 
This project is 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.

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