Bowen region gets direct access to support, skills and funding for better environmental outcomes
The Bowen region has improved access to priority projects and expertise to better manage the diverse region’s water, land, animals and vegetation with natural resource champions NQ Dry Tropics now having a permanent presence in town.
The leading natural resource management body for the 146,000km² Burdekin Dry Tropics region – dominated by agriculture, with extensive horticulture, grains, sugarcane and beef production systems – has expanded from its Townsville base to better support the Bowen community.
“NQ Dry Tropics is running a number of projects in the Bowen-Broken-Bogie and Don catchments that focus on supporting farmers and graziers to improve land management practices for improved environmental and economic outcomes,” NQ Dry Tropics CEO Scott Crawford said.
“It made sense to have a dedicated office here so we could best support the agricultural community to keep making crucial gains in the sustainable management of land and water.”
With assistance offered in various formats from expert advice and training, to workshops, forums, field events and financial support through community grants; the scope of NQ Dry Tropics’ work includes everything from dune stabilisation and targeting pest species to helping landholders improve soil health on-property and linking community members with valuable networks and contacts.
“We link individuals and community groups with funding opportunities to carry out vital projects, and we advise and support landholders who want to introduce more sustainable practices on their properties,” Mr Crawford said.
“We put on events to share expertise and best practice solutions and we strengthen and empower community groups and landowners by building their skills, knowledge and overall capacity to more effectively look after our natural resources.”
Barry and Leanne O’Sullivan run Glenalpine Station; a 23,374 hectare property 80km south-west of Bowen that’s predominantly a breeder operation with about 5,500 head of cattle. The progressive family have worked with NQ Dry Tropics on a number of projects since taking over the station in 2003, which had low plant species diversity, low pasture productivity and quality, and active soil erosion.
Through projects like the Reef Programme Water Quality Improvement Grants, Protecting Biodiversity, the Building Resilience in the Burdekin Grazing Industry, Leanne and Barry have implemented riparian and land type fencing, new water infrastructure, a holistic management plan to improve business performance, and have adopted ultra high-density grazing.
“We could see that the property had huge potential when considering the capital investment, soil types, landscape, location and existing watering system, so we set about equipping ourselves with knowledge”, Mr O’Sullivan said.
“Our pasture composition and ground cover has since greatly improved, and soil health is improving, therefore improving pasture health and vegetation.
“We’ve got an excellent relationship with the people at NQ Dry Tropics. They’re friendly and helpful and I couldn’t speak more highly of them.”
Mr Crawford said producers could see first-hand what support was available at the official opening of NQ Dry Tropics’ 6/36 Powell Street office on Tuesday, October 4, 5pm-6.30pm.
“We’d like to let the local community know what opportunities are out there for supporting sustainable management practices,” Mr Crawford said. “In-turn, they’re helping to safeguard our natural environment while reducing wastage and boosting business productivity.”
The opening event will also include a barbecue, giveaways and an opportunity to network with fellow graziers and key community decision-makers. RSVPs are required by COB Monday, October 3 to www.nqdrytropics.com.au/bowenl
The opening is followed by a hands-on gully remediation field day at Strathbogie Station on Wednesday, October 5 where attendees will use hay bales, netting and other materials for cost-effective gully repair under the guidance of soil conservation expert John Day. Find more information about the session here.
Main photo: NQ Dry Tropics’ Grazing BMP coordinator Lisa Hutchinson and Grazing Land Management field officer Brendan Smith at the new Bowen office.