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Q&A with South Cape York Catchments Jessie Price-Decle

Jessie is delivering Cape York NRM and Northern Gulf Resource Management Group’s Joint Management Area project which aims to improve the soils and waters of the Mitchell and Palmer Catchments.

Cape York NRM caught up with Jessie to find out more.

Tell me about yourself

I've lived in Cooktown since 2004, and I've worked and studied on Cape York since 2007. I'm passionate about sustainable agriculture, and ensuring we can support Cape York communities and families to look after their country into the future.

You will be working in the Joint Management Area - have you spent much time in that part of the Cape?

Only recreationally! I've spent a lot of time fishing on the beautiful Palmer River, but never had the opportunity to work out that way - most of my work has been centred around waters that drain to the Great Barrier Reef. I'm really excited to work over the other side of the Cape! 

You have years of experience working with the grazing community, tell me about it

I've been very lucky to work with graziers from the eastern side of Cape York over the last few years. I have learnt that graziers are absolutely focused on looking after the land – there are not many who would purposefully run down their home. 

What are the key things you will be working on when the rains stop?

When the rains stop, I'll be full swing into supporting the land managers involved in the project to get their on ground activities under way. I'm hoping I can do that in person, but if the Coranvirus situation doesn't ease before then we'll be thinking up new ways to engage as extension officers! 

The JMA project is looking at a range of ways of reducing erosion on grazing properties – tell me more.

The on ground activities supported through this project are all aimed at reducing sediment loss. So gully remediation; road erosion control; actions that improve ground cover such as spreading grazing pressure and reducing late season fire impacts; weed control. We're trying to be really flexible and design projects that will be worthwhile for the land managers, and that fit into their overall property plan. 

How much travel will the JMA project work involve?

Lots hopefully! 

What's the best thing about working with graziers?

I really enjoy getting out to properties, and then being taken to see something. While that something is always interesting and relevant to the project, the stories I get told as we drive across paddocks are the real treat. They can be hilarious (crazy bull catching stories), unusual (stories of springs that only flow while there's a full moon), and sometimes heartbreaking. I always learn something incredible. 

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