Reef Aid

Rebuilding eroding land at Strathalbyn Station

To help improve water quality on the Great Barrier Reef, we are working with landholders to reduce sediment run-off by rebuilding eroding land at Strathalbyn Station in Queensland’s Burdekin River Catchment.

Through the ‘Innovative Gully Remediation Project’ which forms part of Reef Aid, Strathalbyn Station is being used as a site for showcasing and trialling innovative techniques to restore eroding gullies, stimulating fresh thinking about effective ways to tackle erosion and facilitating engagement with local landholders.

The Challenge

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.

The Solution

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. Trials have shown that restoring gullies can reduce sediment on the Great Barrier Reef by up to 98% in less than three years.

Greening Australia is leading this critical project in the Burdekin area and Bowen in North Queensland, restoring 150 hectares of gullies. The project is trialling restoration of heavily eroded gullies on a large scale, providing valuable data to inform the restoration of other areas and give wildlife a helping hand.

Greening Australia is also working with landholders to implement treatment techniques based on the latest scientific and practical methods to achieve lasting reductions in the amount of sediment flowing out to the reef to help it recover and thrive.

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The gully remediation trials at Strathalbyn Station represent one of the largest projects ever undertaken to reduce fine sediment export to the Great Barrier Reef Lagoon. Over 8,500 tonnes of fine sediment has been stopped from reaching the Reef each year from this site alone.

Dr Lynise Wearne, Reef Aid Program Director


These communiques outline works in progress and results from monitoring the gully remediation treatments trialled:

For additional information about the project:

The Innovative Gully Remediation Project is a collaborative project jointly funded under Greening Australia’s Reef Aid program and the Queensland Government’s Reef Water Quality Program.

Works at Strathalbyn Station were also funded by the Australian Government’s Reef Trust IV: Gully restoration and priority reaches to improve water quality on the Great Barrier Reef.

A third phase of works at Strathalbyn Station is being funded by the partnership between the Australian Government’s Reef Trust and the Great Barrier Reef Foundation.

If you are interested to know more, or want to join the mailing list for the communiques, please send us an online query.