Doing their bit support the reef
THE Mary River Catchment Co-ordinating Committee has been successful in obtaining funding through phase three of the Federal Government’s Reef Trust program.
Landholders located in high priority areas of the Mary catchment are eligible to apply for financial assistance with on-ground projects that will contribute to a reduction in sediment run-off onto the Barrier Reef.
The MRCCC’s Brad Wedlock told a large group of graziers attending a Gympie and District Beef Liaison Group field day on the Viner property at Upper Glastonbury that applications were now open.
“There has been a change,” Mr Wedlock said. “This time graziers will have to have completed a Grazing BMP (best management practice) workshop or online self assessment.”
He said BMP allowed graziers to benchmark their own management practices against beef industry standards.
Mr Wedlock said the Mary was the southernmost river that affected conditions on the reef and the grazing industry was carried out on 70% of catchment land area.
“BMP allows an honest look at pasture and grazing land condition,” he said. “Good, well-covered ground reduces the amount of sediment and nutrients that can be washed into streams.”
Mr Wedlock said the biggest weapon in reducing sediment and nutrient run-off was strategic fence placement.
He said fenced areas allowed better animal management that could restrict over-grazing and keep a good vegetative cover on the ground.
The new program will focus on Mary sub-catchments, the Widgee, Glastonbury and Wide Bay sub-catchments, and south including the Kenilworth and Conondale sub-catchments.
“A key to the project will be filtering out nutrients and sediments before they can reach the river system,” Mr Wedlock said. “As such wetland systems such as riparian zones, billabongs and marshy areas will have a particular focus.”
The registration process for graziers starts with the BMP assessment, after which the MRCCC team will have a one-on-one meeting and make additional assessments of the property.
This will be evaluated and a decision reached on granting assistance approval.
A brief run-down of project types include fencing to exclude riparian zones, off stream water points, fencing according to soil type and topography, and fencing to help stabilise gullies or help re-established forested ridge lines.
Lower Wonga grazier John Crossley, who had participated in previous programs, said off stream water points meant cattle were directed to increase grazing away from the creek.
He said it gave much more efficient pasture utilisation and easier mustering.
Brian Heck, of Bryvonlea Droughtmasters, Upper Glastonbury, said putting water tanks on the highest points took cattle to areas they did not previously graze.
Other graziers made similar comments and all agreed that they should have organised their fencing like this years ago.
Grant applications can be made through the MRCCC Gympie office.
FOR THE REEF: Pasture agronomist Graeme Elphinstone (left) with Theebine grazier Donna Woodward, Lower Wonga grazier Yvonne Crossley and Mary River Catchment Co-ordinating Committee operations manager Brad Wedlock.