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Rebuilding eroded gullies to reduce sediment run-off

To help improve water quality on the Great Barrier Reef, we are working with landholders to reduce sediment run-off by rebuilding eroding land. We’re trialling innovative techniques and stimulating fresh thinking to tackle erosion and facilitating engagement with local landholders and Traditional Owners.

To improve water quality on the Great Barrier Reef, we are working with landholders to reduce sediment run-off by rebuilding eroding land. We’re trialling innovative techniques and stimulating fresh thinking to tackle erosion and facilitating engagement with local landholders and Traditional Owners.

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.

The Burdekin River Catchment is estimated to deliver almost 50% of the total sediment that makes its way into the waters of the Great Barrier Reef. 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. Research indicates that the gullies targeted have exported on average 956 tonnes per ha since 1945. That’s a staggering 550,000 tonnes sediment over that period with 65% capable of being suspended and delivered to the Great Barrier Reef.

In partnership with the Queensland Government’s Great Barrier Reef Innovation Fund and Department of Environment and Heritage Protection, Greening Australia is trialling and evaluating different gully restoration techniques, building on existing research and initiatives.

As of August 2019, 17.4 hectares of gullies have been remediated on the flagship demonstration site – Strathalbyn Station in the Burdekin catchment- now the largest gully remediation program in Queensland to date.

Trials have shown that restoring gullies can reduce sediment on the Great Barrier Reef by up to 80% in less than three years.