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Skilling up to fight erosion

Rangers from Normanby, Melsonby and Hope Vale were first in line to take part in a series of training programs designed to combat gully erosion in Cape York.

Held in Normanby and hosted by the Normanby Land Management Group in October this year, the first course focused on learning how to operate machinery which can be used to help mitigate damage caused by erosion.

The first round was “very well received,” according to Cape York NRM Sustainable Agriculture and Water Quality Manager Michael Goddard.

“Interest in the Project has been quite significant and the participants have really enjoyed the training.

“Not only are we improving understanding and mitigation of gully erosion, we're also very excited by the opportunities to increase the capacity of individuals throughout Cape York.”

The 11 participants, five of whom were Joint Management rangers, gained machinery operation tickets following the training. These skills can be used across multiple roles and opens up new work options.

“We may not want to be rangers forever and this gives us the opportunity to go away and work and we can come back and be rangers later if we want,” trainee Ray McIvor said.

Apart from up-skilling, the Project aims to tackle the ongoing issue of erosion in Cape York and its effects on waterways.  It can be caused by a number of factors including fence lines and vehicle tracks, or by cattle moving along the same tracks and creating water channels.

Erosion can also be caused by natural phenomena such as river bank slumping in large wet weather events.

Erosion leads to sediment loss which then clogs waterways and wetlands and eventually impacts coral health on the Great Barrier Reef.

Cape York NRM will run a second round of training in the Lakeland region in late November on a large gully site along the Laura River.

Two more sessions will be delivered by staff from Griffith University's Coastal and Marine Research Centre & School of Environment and Science. They are theory-based and will focus on how to avoid increasing the risks of erosion through better planned ground works, and how to mitigate erosion when it occurs.

Participants completing this training will receive an accreditation through Griffith University for completing the module.

This project is funded by Queensland Government's Natural Resources Investment Program

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