Continued funding for regional NRM confirmed

Australia’s 54 Regional Natural Resource Management organisations (NRMs) will share in $669 million to continue their work to enhance and maintain our biodiversity and environment over the next five years through the Australian Government’s Caring for our Country program. This funding will help support natural resource management, planning and prioritisation and brokering partnerships to facilitate the development of, and access to, knowledge and skills to deliver on-ground activities in regional communities and includes support for Regional Landcare Facilitators.
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Continuation of Reef Rescue welcomed by award winning farmers

Farmers and graziers working to improve land management practices in the Great Barrier Reef water catchment areas were last night recognised for their efforts during the inaugural Reef Rescue awards held in Cairns.

Presented by the Queensland Regional NRM Groups Collective and the Queensland Farmers’ Federation, the farmers and graziers receiving the top awards represent just a handful of those working hard to reduce the environmental impact on and potential damage to the Great Barrier Reef. Continue Reading…

Mission Beach banana grower takes out horticulture award

A banana farmer at Mission Beach in the Wet Tropics region of Far North Queensland has been awarded the top prize in the horticulture category of the inaugural Reef Rescue Awards.

Winner Ian Barnes had already made significant farming improvements on the family farm using his own funds but with the help of a well-timed Reef Rescue grant in 2011 (Cyclone Yasi wiped out their entire crop and destroyed their shed in February of that year), Ian was able to make further changes which improved both his soil and nutrient management, thereby reducing the risk of run-off from the property.

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New over-row sprayer and GPS the keys to efficiency on large Tully family farm

By Jasmine Hunt

Towering above the cane fields at Murray Upper, just south of Tully Township, is a contraption that has allowed sugarcane grower Peter Vecchio to save time and chemical use.

This contraption, also known as an over-row sprayer, is going a long way in assisting Peter to save money and precious time on his cane farms, scattered across the Tully region.

Built from the ground up by Peter and employee Kevin O’Kane, the spray rig has its base on a John Deere 6400 tractor, and is fully GPS automated, rate controlled and auto-steer.

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Cane growing brothers keen for change

Greg, Jamie and Brian Dore are well-known cane farmers in the Euramo region just south of Tully and have received Reef Rescue funding for a zonal offset discing project. This means that only 42% of the total area of their property is being tilled, significantly reducing the amount of soil that is worked.

Including their own farm, the Dores manage over 1,000 hectares of cane land in the district and are keen to participate in industry information sharing events, such as ‘farmers teaching farmers’ days as well as innovative projects like Project Catalyst, which supports cane growers to develop and test new practices in sugarcane production.

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Seagrass making a comeback

When you think of seagrass, it probably doesn’t conjure up the same tropical images as if you thought of coral reefs.

It doesn’t have an award winning Pixar movie associated with it or a world famous fish, and sure, it is probably a little less eye catching than the rainbow coloured reefs. But don’t be fooled by its appearance.

Seagrass beds are one of the most important marine environments on earth. They are home to juvenile fish and crustaceans that form the basis of commercial and recreational fisheries. They provide food for dugongs, listed globally as vulnerable to extinction, as well as the vulnerable green turtle.

But according to a scientific study, 58 percent of world’s seagrass meadows are currently declining. There are many factors that contribute to the decline of seagrass, including sediment runoff and algal blooms, but perhaps less known is the damage from block and chain moorings.

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Wet Tropics endangered species gets an $825k boost

Terrain NRM has been successful in securing $825,000 from the Australian Government’s Caring for Our Country initiative for a project to save Mahogany Gliders, Cassowaries and Littoral Rainforest affected by Cyclone Yasi.

The project, Building Resilience for Cassowary, Mahogany Glider and Littoral Rainforest, will increase and improve habitat by supporting on-ground action including revegetation, weed and pig control, fire management and fencing.

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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.

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Improving biodiversity through grazing management in the Southern Gulf region

Southern Gulf Catchments worked with landholders to protect priority habitat areas in the Southern Gulf of Carpentaria catchments, as part of the Back on Track – Actions for Biodiversity project.

Three properties (Barr Creek, Mount Emu, Maiden Springs) received funding to complete four on-ground projects, which assisted in grazing management to protect species and habitat.  The total area of over 17,000 hectares directly benefited from these on-ground works. Each participating property was assisted and encouraged to enter further discussions with the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (EHP) about potential completion of an Nature Refuge Agreement.

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Protecting the River’s neck

The North Johnstone River is threatening to change course across a narrow neck of land on a farm in Far North Queensland potentially affecting water quality and availability of productive land over a large area. A low cost solution is being attempted to tackle what could be a large and expensive problem.

Not only is one of the paddocks under threat, but the breakthrough of the river could cause erosion and bank slumping for kilometres upstream. Weeds are trapping sediment and pushing water towards the erosion face which is enhancing the likelihood of the breakthrough.

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