Improving water quality through watering points

Farmers in the Fitzroy Basin, the largest catchment draining to the Great Barrier Reef, have been working to construct fences and watering points to keep cattle away from streams and creeks.

Central Queensland’s leading natural resource management group, Fitzroy Basin Association Inc. (FBA) CEO Paul Birch said these measures reduce the erosion of creek beds and improves the quality of water that flows from our basin to the reef.

“In the past year FBA has worked with farmers, landholders and community groups to fence over 400 kilometres of streams and creeks,” Mr Birch said.

“123 watering points were also installed to reduce cattle access to creek beds and over 200 kilometres of pipeline was funded for watering systems that protect waterways,” he said.

Central Queensland graziers Bruce and Jane Cosh have contributed to the above total having upgraded their existing watering points using modern polythene pipe, tanks and troughs enabling a change in management practices to occur on their property that will reduce erosion and result in less sediment flowing into the nearby Dawson River.

The Coshs have lived on their grazing property Oakwells, located 35 kilometers west of Injune at the headwaters of the Dawson River catchment in the Fitzroy Basin for over 30 years.

Pictured (L to R): Bruce Cosh, Charisse Edwards, Andrea Beard.

Pictured (L to R): Bruce Cosh, Charisse Edwards, Andrea Beard.

Bruce and Jane were keen to make the most of advancements in farming equipment to help them improve their management techniques and discovered that Reef Rescue water quality improvement grants were available through Fitzroy Basin Association’s local sub-regional group, Dawson Catchment Coordinating Association.

Modifications have also been made to paddock layout thanks to the funding that will see watering points placed in the high country on Oakwells, encouraging cattle to graze the landscape more evenly.

By redesigning their watering systems to encourage use of the mountain coolabah country and draw cattle away from preferred pastures on the lower country, the Coshs can employ a seasonal grazing system to maintain sustainable ground cover levels that will protect the landscape from erosion.

Cattle access and therefore padding along the fragile river banks will also be reduced because cattle can access water in the high country.

Bruce and Jane were already keen to make these changes on their property but like other Central Queensland farmers were motivated to take action due to the Reef Rescue grant, as well as support from Fitzroy Basin Association and their local catchment group.