Reef Assist 2.0 projects secured in Wet Tropics and Fitzroy regions

Greening Australia has secured $2.3 million in funding across two projects with First Nations partners in the Wet Tropics and Fitzroy regions, through the Queensland Government’s Reef Assist 2.0 program.

The Reef Assist program aims to reduce water pollution to protect the health of the Great Barrier Reef, while also creating regional jobs in the Reef catchments.

Building on the first phase of Reef Assist (from 2020-2022), our projects are two of six funded so far under Reef Assist 2.0.

All six projects share a strong focus on First Nations employment and training combined with on-ground action for Reef water quality, and are being delivered across multiple locations spanning the entire Great Barrier Reef catchment from Cape York to Bundaberg.

Environment Minister Meaghan Scanlon recently announced she is doubling the funding available for Reef Assist 2.0 to $20 million, so more projects will be announced over the next few months.

There’s a strong focus on regional jobs and especially healing-Country enterprises and employment in our Reef Assist 2.0 projects. Photo credit Melissa Mills.

Wet Tropics Wetland and Cane Drainage Water Quality Treatment Systems

We’re working in partnership with Wanyurr-Majay Aboriginal Corporation, Mulgrave Landcare, landholders and other stakeholders to repair and revegetate wetlands and cane drainage systems in the Mulgrave catchment, to deliver improved Reef water quality.

The project aims to share learnings about the ability of revegetated cane drains and wetlands to reduce dissolved inorganic nitrogen and sediment run-off. The restoration works will also create habitat for threatened species, control listed weeds, and store carbon.

Lisa O’Mara, who is leading the project for Greening Australia, said, “We are working closely with the Madjaybana Rangers and Jenagar training company to build on existing Traditional Owner activities with training in conservation management, seed collection, propagation and nursery services, to support ongoing Indigenous employment and leadership in restoration.”

Repairs to wetlands and cane drainage systems, like this project at Fig Tree Lagoon, can deliver improved Reef water quality. Photo credit: Toby Peet.

Wanyurr-Majay Director Jamie Satani said the project will support ongoing work in the Mulgrave catchment to engage and train Madjaybana Rangers, building their skills in caring for ancestral lands and waters.

“The project will support both on-ground and planning activities to restore and nurture the health of the World Heritage valued wetlands of the Mulgrave,” Mr Satani said.

“We look forward to getting started on the project, which will enable our Rangers, Greening Australia and Mulgrave Landcare to work together, sharing ecological knowledge of places on Country and working together to preserve its exceptional values for our future generations.”

Woorabinda Healing Country and Gully Remediation Program

We’re working with the Woorabinda Aboriginal Shire Council on improving water quality by stabilising eroding gullies and streambanks across Woorabinda Council land in the Fitzroy Catchment.

The project is investing in knowledge exchange on healing Country and providing Traditional Owners and the local community with training in best practice erosion control, work health and safety, specialist machinery operational skills and project supervision.

Works like these with Woorabinda Aboriginal Shire Council will remediate eroding gullies and streambanks to improve water quality.

The on-ground works will reduce sediment flowing to the Great Barrier Reef, while also improving soil and land condition and supporting healthy ecosystems and landscapes.

Greening Australia’s lead on the project, Xanthe Willis, said the project is looking beyond short-term local jobs to economic development, aiming to engage and build up Indigenous-led enterprises to undertake further work to heal Country in the region, long after the project concludes.

 

The Reef Assist 2.0 program is funded through the Queensland Reef Water Quality Program.

We are looking forward to sharing more about these projects as they progress. Subscribe to our newsletter to receive monthly updates on our activities across Australia.

For more information about these projects, or our Reef Aid program, please feel free to send us an online query.

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