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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.

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. Some water catchments are a higher priority for targeting sediment run-off reductions than others. The Burdekin River catchment, for example, is estimated to deliver almost 50% of the total sediment that makes its way into the waters of the Great Barrier Reef.

With support from government, philanthropists and businesses, Greening Australia is trialling and evaluating different gully restoration techniques, building on existing research and initiatives.

More than 18 hectares of gullies have now been remediated on our flagship demonstration site – Strathalbyn Station in the Burdekin catchment – making it the largest gully remediation program in Queensland to date. We’ve found that restoring gullies can reduce sediment run-off to the Great Barrier Reef by up to 98% in less than three years.