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Endeavour River on the mend

Some 635 tonnes per year of fine sediment will be prevented from spilling into Cooktown Harbour and the surrounding Great Barrier Reef following restoration works on the banks of the Endeavour River in June. 

Completed by Townsville-based engineering firm Neilly Group Engineering and with revegetation and project management assistance from Cape York NRM, the $1.2 million Riparian Recovery Project aims to alleviate run off into the Great Barrier Reef by stabilising eroded banks, reducing sediment loss, restoring ecological value and minimising the risk of future erosion. 

At Mt Olive, an eroding bank in front of the homestead was reshaped and the toe of the bank was armoured with rock to prevent further erosion. The whole site was topsoiled, seeded and planted out with over 1200 native trees.

At Scrubby Creek, a near-vertical, 13m eroded river bend was regraded, the upstream reaches were covered with rock and timber pile fields were built. These are lines of timber piles driven into the bank to divert flows away from the bank and stabilise the site during the recovery stage. 

The site was topsoiled, seeded and planted with over 500 native trees and will be watered regularly through to the wet season. 

As well as protecting the health of waterways heading to the Reef, the work also helps restore connectivity of riparian vegetation along the river. 

“The work was a great success,” Cape York NRM Grazing and Water Quality Project Officer Harry James said.

“We got washed out once or twice with some late wet season rains, and Neilly Group had to make a couple of adjustments to the original designs to make it work on the ground, but we are really happy with the results.”

Harry said the landowners were also very supportive throughout the process.

“We can't wait to see the sites recover and revegetate over the next couple of years.”

The Project was supported by The Australian and Queensland Governments through the Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements.