Central Queensland’s leading natural resource management group Fitzroy Basin Association Inc. (FBA) coordinated the delivery of more than $30 million in funding under the first five years of Reef Rescue with over 800,000 hectares encompassed by on-ground projects.
FBA CEO Paul Birch said during this time FBA and its delivery partners worked with land managers and the community to adopt better practices, protect and restore sensitive ecosystems, and improve knowledge of the link between water quality and the reef.
“FBA helped hundreds of farmers, graziers, irrigators and horticulturalists across the region to change their property layout, management techniques, or upgrade farm machinery to reduce erosion and improve water quality”, Mr Birch said.
“Over 1,400 kilometres of fencing was constructed, resulting in improved ground cover and the protection of over 1,600 kilometres of stream banks from erosion.
“Further to this, over 1,000 kilometres of pipeline watering systems were installed, as well as over 600 off-stream watering points, tanks and troughs to keep cattle off creek banks”.
“Workshops were held across the region, with almost 1,800 land managers receiving training in computer mapping, GPS and pasture budgeting”.
“FBA also initiated the establishment of a continually operating reference station (CORS) network in the region which allows central Queensland farmers to adopt cutting edge precision agriculture techniques”.
“Sensitive areas of native vegetation and wetlands were managed and restored by volunteer groups and private landholders with support from FBA and the first best management practices program for the grazing industry was established,” he said.
Central Queensland land managers contributed an additional $24.3 million from 2008-2013 to support the development of projects through cash and the value of labour and project management.
FBA has welcomed a $12.5 million investment over the next 3 years as part of a five-year extension to Reef Rescue through water quality grants and $3.6 million over the next 5 years to protect and restore wetlands and waterways.
With 20,000 kilometres of streams and creeks flowing through the Fitzroy Basin and out to the reef, continued investment through Reef Rescue will ensure FBA can build on previous efforts to improve land management and water quality in the region.