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Crocodile Welcome Station: Ground zero for gully erosion control techniques

Words Timothy O'Reilly | Photo Robyn May

The Crocodile Welcome Station Gully Restoration Project has resulted in significant reduction of the sediment load into the Normanby River catchment and the Great Barrier Reef.The Normanby Basin in south - east Cape York is the fourth largest river system flowing into the Great Barrier Reef lagoon.

Cape York Natural Resource Management are coordinating the delivery of the Crocodile Welcome Project which sits under the Federally funded Reef Trust Erosion Control Programme. The key objective for the program is a 50 percent reduction in gully erosion from high priority sub - catchments in the Normanby Basin over a four - year project timeframe.

Crocodile Welcome Station is owned and run by the Indigenous Land Council (ILC). ILC Executive Director of Agribusiness Craig North said, ‘The Reef Trust Program is not only providing new employment opportunities for local Traditional Owners from Laura but is also protecting vitally important environmental and cultural values in and around the station and having a positive flow on effect for the water systems which feed into the Great Barrier Reef.’

It is estimated that erosion of stream banks and gullies is responsible for 70 percent of the fine sediment run-off into the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park across all catchments. The work done on Crocodile Welcome Station has resulted in a wet season erosion decrease of 85 percent after two years of project work and monitoring.  

At the same time, a range of techniques are being trialled on different gullies to provide scientists and erosion-control practitioners clear evidence of the most successful gully remediation techniques.

Griffith University have installed water quality monitoring equipment that will be used to quantify the water quality benefits of the erosion control structures in place. Monitoring will assist with further revision of techniques and provide invaluable data to guide future erosion control measures.

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