Farm­ers sign up to save reef

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS - by PAUL MIL­TON BUT­LER

MOSS­MAN and Dain­tree farm­ers are lead­ing the way in help­ing pro­tect the en­vi­ron­ment.

Eight of the nine ap­pli­cants who ap­plied for Wa­ter­ways grants in the Moss­man/Dain­tree area were suc­cess­ful as part of the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment’s fi­nal round of Reef Res­cue pack­age.

The grants were given to farm­ers and gra­ziers in a bid to help them to stop ero­sion on their land, to plant trees and help pro­tect the rivers and wa­ter­ways on their prop­er­ties and stop any chem­i­cal run- off from their land and mak­ing its way to the ocean and the reef.

Dain­tree farmer Willy Davis, from Dou­glas Creek, said he had been given a grant to help with shoring up the ero­sion on his prop­erty by plant­ing trees.

Moss­man cane grower Brett Coulthard, a third-gen­er­a­tion farmer, said he would also plant trees to help stop ero­sion.

“We also have a ready sup­ply of rock on our prop­erty and so when we get a chance we will be cart­ing truck­loads of rock to help keep the soils in place too,” he said.

“We al­ways try to con­trol our land and look af­ter it the best way we can and so these grants are quite use­ful.”

Dou­glas catch­ment co- or­di­na­tor Steve Bai­ley, from Ter­rain, said farm­ers and gra­ziers could ap­ply for the Wa­ter­ways grant and get a max­i­mum of $150,000 per project, but they had to keep in mind that they too had to pro­vide 50 per cent of the project in cash or in-kind.

“Four of these farm­ers were ad­ja­cent to cane land and four were ad­ja­cent to graz­ing land and seven of the of the eight projects in­volve ero­sion hotspots on rivers and one is the re­in­state­ment of a small wet­land on Doug Crees’ cane farm near Cooya Beach,” he said.

“Earth­works have been com­pleted on Mr Crees’ farm and the wet­land will be planted out with na­tive wet­land species be­fore the start of the 2012/13 wet sea­son. With all of the eight wa­ter­ways projects in our re­gion, the farm­ers are work­ing with Peter Lo­gan and his team from the Cairns Re­gional Coun­cil based in Moss­man, who grow the na­tive trees re­quired for the spe­cific ar­eas and as­sist by pro­vid­ing ex­pert ad­vice for plant­ing and main­tain­ing the reveg­e­ta­tion.

“I am also work­ing di­rectly with a num­ber of the land­hold­ers to im­ple­ment tri­als of new bank sta­bil­i­sa­tion meth­ods rather than just the tra­di­tional method of us­ing large rock, and we are look­ing at do­ing some small scale tri­als us­ing dif­fer­ent sta­bil­i­sa­tion meth­ods as the con­ven­tional meth­ods are usual cost­pro­hibitive to a lot of our farm­ers.”

The ma­jor­ity of the wa­ter­ways projects are fo­cused on ero­sion hotspots to re­duce the amount of sed­i­ment and nu­tri­ents be­ing lost, par­tic­u­larly dur­ing large rain events. The eight Wa­ter­ways grants given out to Moss­man/Dain­tree farm­ers by Ter­rain NRM has been $117,000 in to­tal.

PROB­LEM AREA: Willy Davis on his Dain­tree prop­erty

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