It’s about keeping your topsoil without bankrupting the business
Sick and tired of seeing topsoil disappear down gullies and creeping gully heads gobble up productive land, graziers have been working hard to fix them.
The trick is finding the sweet spot — low cost interventions that stop further erosion and enable grazing land to be reclaimed.
How do you fix gullies in a way that can be maintained with minimal effort for decades with good grazing practices and provide a win-win for graziers and water quality?
Difficult? You betcha.
It’s an issue BBB graziers have been wrestling with for the past six years through the Landholders Driving Change project.
Measuring cost-effectiveness of gully rehabilitation is difficult because there’s so many rehabilitation methods, and many different gullies that include a range of soil and erosion types.
Monitoring is crucial to validate the results being estimated.
The Burdekin Major Integrated Project Gully Maintenance and Monitoring project is enabling longer term monitoring and maintenance of gully sites.
For graziers tackling gully erosion head on, this is an opportunity to showcase their efforts. They’ve been equal partners with technical experts and scientists in designing solutions to repair small-scale gullies.
They were hands-on in fixing the gullies, and took the lead in implementing grazing practices to remove grazing pressure to allow vegetation cover to establish on remediated areas. They’ve been keen observers on how rehabilitation efforts have held up over consecutive years, and have insights into what has worked well, and what hasn’t worked so well.
Under the maintenance and monitoring project, they’re now helping find maintenance solutions that will work well into the future. Graziers are keen to see this information to help graziers in other catchments tackle erosion effectively and efficiently.
They also want to see this information used to help shape future design of landscape repair projects.
Graziers say LDC and the gully maintenance and monitoring project show how the grazing community is taking responsibility for the sustainable use and management of land.
The LDC project created a framework for greater participation and more organised allocation of resources, resulting in stronger alignment between on-ground activities, and ultimately, better outcomes for tackling erosion, land management and water quality.
It’s expected that in time, landholders’ everyday decisions will have positive downstream effects on the Great Barrier Reef.
Graziers view this as advancing community stewardship, specifically delivering outcomes by changing attitudes and behaviours. The concept of cumulative effects is relevant to stewardship — small changes, when combined, can make a big difference.
What the graziers say:
“We’ve learnt a lot about remediating and preventing erosion. Because a one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t apply to fixing erosion problems, it’s been great to speak with neighbours and see what they’ve done. Each property has its own unique issues and therefore what worked on one place wasn’t going to work on another. It’s also an opportunity to discuss grazing land management, and how to best improve pasture and soil health to make sure the integrity of the remediation works remain intact.”
“If you can block a gully and hold that water back in the country, you’re going to keep water and soil on the paddock, and that’s a whole lot better than seeing it run out into the ocean.The work we’ve done is keeping water and soil on the paddock, and that means we can now put more effort into improving pasture and soil health.”
“We were pleased to be able to have input into the remediation design. We’ve carried out similar works on other sites which are working well so we could bring that knowledge and experience to the table. By doing the work ourselves meant we reduced labour costs and as a result we’re proud of our efforts and the results. It’s important to share this information with other graziers and land managers to foster best practice for gully remediation, and to ensure everyone is doing their part to help improve water quality.”