To improve the health of the Great Barrier Reef by stopping sediment at its source, Greening Australia is working to restore eroding land and pastoral environment at Minnie Vale Station on the Don River.
On highly erodible soils like those in Queensland’s Dry Tropics region, gullies can form in areas where vegetation is reduced and water runoff is high. Vehicle and animal tracks can also trigger or exacerbate the gullying process by channelling and increasing water flow across the land. Simply removing cattle won’t stop the erosion and landholders lack the resources and expertise to tackle the problem at the scale needed to create real change. With tens of thousands of gullies carving up the Great Barrier Reef, the impact on the water quality of the reef are a cause for local and global concern.
Greening Australia is partnering with Minnie Vale Station through Reef Aid to reshape and resurface the land and then stabilise it by planting native trees and shrubs. This innovative, holistic approach serves to reduce runoff and slows the flow of water within the gullies, helping to stop sediment at its source. Research has indicated that using this method can reduce sediment run-off by up to 75% in some areas.
On-ground work at Minnie Vale includes the installation of check dams to slow water flow and capture sediment within gullies, restoration of gullies with vegetation to increase water filtration, and grazing management to improve pastures and reduce runoff in the wet season.
By learning about ways to improve and rehabilitate pastures and sustainably manage their land, graziers are also able to improve productivity and gain a better understanding of the cost and benefits to achieve better crop outcomes. A win-win for people and nature.
Similar Reef Aid projects to address erosion in ways that work for communities, economies and nature are being rolled out in strategic erosion hotspots across the Great Barrier Reef catchment.
The Minnie Vale Station project is wholly funded by the Australian Government and delivered through the Reef Trust.
Damon came on board to oversee the gully restoration component of Greening Australia’s Reef Aid program in 2017. He has more than 20 years experience in implementing practical on-ground solutions to environmental management problems. Through his career he has specialised in river rehabilitation, estuarine management, biodiversity conservation, bush regeneration, and landholder engagement. Damon is also a passionate woodfired sourdough baker! He lives with his family in Townsville, North Queensland.