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Erosion / Land Degradation

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The Technical Report to the Springvale Station Erosion Management Plan was produced as part of the Springvale Erosion Management Plan (EMP) Project in 2017.

The Springvale Erosion Management Plan Project was funded through the Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (now known as the Department of Environment and Science (DES)) and produced two final reports: 

Three large projects to repair riverbank sites severely damaged by the 2019 monsoon trough will commence on the Endeavour River at the beginning of the 2021 dry season.

Rehabilitation of the sites will be aided by the use of proven techniques such as bank battering, rock armouring, and revegetation with appropriate riparian plants.

One large river bend located at Scrubby Creek will be rehabilitated using lines of timber piles vertically driven into the reshaped bank to reduce the velocity of water as it moves around the bend.

Cape York NRM’s Community Action Plan (CAP) team will soon be heading to three communities in the south-east Cape to run workshops to develop the Cape York CAP.

The Great Barrier Reef Foundation will compile input from six Queensland regions to create the state’s overall Plan that will identify shared goals for community Reef protection.

Cape York NRM’s Healthy Farming Futures project is working closely with Cape York’s pastoralists to help their businesses become more sustainable.

Co-led by Cape York NRM’s Regional Agriculture Land Facilitator Andrew Hartwig, the project sees graziers in western flowing catchments in Central Cape York increase the amount of ground cover on their properties to help reduce erosion, sediment run-off and improve water quality in the Gulf.

It also provides a pathway towards business sustainability.

Words and photo Robyn May

Abbey started work as Cape York NRM’s Sustainable Industries Officer in December 2018 after graduating with an Environmental Management degree specialising in Coastal and Marine Environments.

As Sustainable Industries Officer, Abbey’s work is focused on encouraging the adoption of best management practices with agricultural and grazing land managers.

Gully remediation works are plowing ahead across the Normanby catchment through the Reef Trust IV Program.

Some great things have been happening on the land in Cape York during 2019–2020. Projects continued to roll out across the Cape despite the disruption of COVID-19 border closures and travel restrictions.

Cape York NRM’s Sustainable Agriculture and Water Quality team supports Cape York people to enhance agricultural practices and improve the quality of fresh and marine water. The team and its partners have worked across a variety of projects during 2019–2020 including hazard reduction burns, gully remediation and streambank stabilisation.

Cape York NRM’s Healthy Farming Futures project is supporting a Cape York Wildlife Sanctuary which has so far received over 2,500 mm of rain this wet season, to stabilise the landscape to protect critical habitat.

Words and photo Robyn May

Rubber vine has been treated in the Laura region by Cape York Weeds and Feral Animals (CYWAFA) Inc. with support from Cape York NRM.

Cape York NRM Gully and Grazing Project Officer Michael Goddard said the project was all about restoring native ground cover and reducing erosion.

‘The Laura River Rubber Vine Control Project is reducing the amount of rubber vine growing along the waterways, allowing the return of native grasses and minimising soil loss during rain events,’ he explained.

The day’s task is to push a lot of dirt around. The end result, however, will be a complete transformation of the landscape.

At Beefwood Park, a 102-hectare property 20 kilometres west of Lakeland, Cape York NRM has supported the land manager’s challenge of turning an eroding mass of gullies into a productive landscape.

Why? To restore the country to a healthy condition, to further the owner’s land management skills, and to keep the soil where it is supposed to be—on the land and not muddying up waterways.

Cape York NRM hosted a Soils and Weed Solutions Field Day in Cooktown on 29 February.

The hands-on event, aimed at growers and graziers, explored the latest thinking on sustainable solutions to the ongoing challenge of weed and soil management.

The event brought together members of two Cape York agriculture and grazing networks—the Endeavour and Normanby Mixed Farming and Grazing communities.

The Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) is conducting a survey on pest animal and weed management. They are seeking assistance from owners/managers of agricultural properties to provide vital information about pest animal and weed management in Australia. 

You are invited to complete the survey by 15 July 2019.

Simply go to www.agriculture.gov.au/PAWsurvey to complete the survey. 

Graziers across Cape York’s Joint Management Area (Palmer, Mitchell and Alice River Catchments) are busy delivering all sorts of exciting projects to improve native vegetation and soil health on their properties.

Since the program began in 2018, graziers have been partnering with Cape York NRM and Gulf Savannah NRM to plan and deliver projects across 16 grazing properties in the region, spanning more than 2.3 million hectares.

Cape York NRM has joined over 70 natural resource management, farming and conservation organisations in a call for a $4 billion stimulus package for the land management and conservation sector.

Gully remediation projects in the Laura basin will stop over 700 tonnes of sediment entering the northern Great Barrier Reef


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.

Welcome to our first newsletter for 2021. Some people will be glad to see the back of 2020, but there were many good things to come out of the previous 12 months. During 2020 Cape York NRM was able to restructure its operations and program support so that we are able to deliver the best on ground projects possible and we have an incredibly busy year planned for 2021. We welcome four new staff to the team and the Cooktown office is now bursting at the seams.

Normanby catchment ‘Peer to Peer Grazing Group’ activities may have stalled during the coronavirus travel restriction period, but its Focus Farm initiative is going strong.

The Focus Farm initiative aims to assist land managers to achieve their goals with the assistance of a peer support group of farmers, and specialist service providers.

‘This project aims to substantially reduce the amount of sediment flowing into the Normanby, and as a result, improve water quality in the Northern Great Barrier Reef,’