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Reduction in soil erosion on mitigated sites makes a substantial difference to water quality on the Reef The World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef is the planet’s greatest living wonder.

Producers on the Cape are developing peer relationships as they work together to cultivate advanced farming methods.

Greater engagement amongst the producers on Cape York has been facilitated by Cape York NRM’s Regional Extension Officer, Oliver McConnachie, under the Queensland Government’s Enhanced Extension Coordination in Reef Catchments project.

‘The guiding principle of the project is that practice change is not to do with land—it’s to do with people. By focusing on the people, positive change in land management is being achieved,’ Oliver said.

Working to reduce sediment loss from Country.

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 Abbey Ernst and Robyn May | Photo Kerry Trapnell 

Abbey Ernst started work as Cape York NRM’s Sustainable Industries Officer in December 2018. She will work on the Queensland Government’s Paddock to Reef project, and the Federal Government’s Healthy Farming Futures project.

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

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.

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.

Words Juliana Foxlee | Photo Andrew Brooks

Cape York NRM and Northern Gulf Resource Management Group are working with graziers in the Mitchell catchment to help them develop their knowledge of native vegetation management in a bid to reduce erosion. 

Cape York NRM Acting Principal Program Manager Michael Goddard is managing the project. 

Recently, grade 12 student Ella Hartwig took on a volunteer position with Cape York NRM to help deliver a coordinated burn project on Cape York. Here’s her record of her experience. Ella’s dad Andrew, known to us all as Andy, is Cape York NRM’s Regional Agriculture Landcare Facilitator (RALF). Andy coordinated the multi-property early burning program in partnership with South Cape York Catchments and Cape York Weeds and Feral Animals Inc.

Words Abbey Ernst and Robyn May | Photo Robyn May

2019 marks a decade of successful operation for the Paddock to Reef Integrated Monitoring, Modelling and Reporting Program (Paddock to Reef program). 

It is through the Paddock to Reef program that Cape York NRM has effectively continued its work with landholders in the Normanby catchment of the Great Barrier Reef.