Eleven creeks protected in CQ’s best coastal project

Trudy and Lachlan Mace’s property near Stanage Bay in central Queensland encompasses more than ten thousand hectares of magnificent marine plains, estuarine wetland and freshwater creeks.

Fencing erected this year on Toorilla Station is giving greater protection to 11 freshwater creeks, which supply 285 ha of wetland, from the effects of erosion from cattle grazing on the property.

The Mace family

The Mace family

Trudy and Lachlan were funded to complete the work by Fitzroy Basin Association (FBA), through the Reef Rescue component of the Australian Government’s Caring for our Country.

FBA provided $28, 290 towards the improvements, and the Maces contributed in-kind to the value of $37,000 as well as adding 1.25km of extra fencing off their own back.

They applied for the funding with help from local group Fitzroy River and Coastal Catchments (FRCC), which recently named the project as ‘Best Coastal Project 2011-12’ at their annual awards event.

Lachlan Mace said the project has made a big difference to land condition already, allowing a safer carrying capacity and more sustainable production.

In total almost seven kilometres of fencing was erected on Toorilla Station to divide larger paddocks, and enable the Maces to better control stock movement. Paddocks were split according to land type, separating the marine plains from melaleuca and eucalypt woodlands.

The capacity to move stock between different land types to control the rate at which native pastures such as marine couch and forest mitchell grass are grazed down means ground cover can be maintained at good levels, which results in less erosion, especially during the wet season.

Not only does this mean healthier creeks and wetland ecosystems on Toorilla Station, it’s great news for the Great Barrier Reef lagoon, which is fed by waterways in the Stanage Bay region.

The work builds on a previous project funded by FBA in partnership with FRCC and the Maces to improve their grazing practices, supported by new fencing and watering points that protected about 4000 ha of marine plains.

Collectively, the two projects have improved grazing land management across 6939 ha of Toorilla Station, most of which is estuarine wetland.

The work demonstrates how sustainable production and protecting special waterways go hand-in-hand in the largest region draining to the reef lagoon.