CURRENT PROJECTS - Southern Gulf Catchments NRM
17779
page-template,page-template-full_width,page-template-full_width-php,page,page-id-17779,page-child,parent-pageid-17014,ajax_fade,page_not_loaded,,qode-child-theme-ver-,wpb-js-composer js-comp-ver-5.0.1,vc_responsive

CURRENT PROJECTS

CURRENT PROJECTS


Better Fire Management to protect the Carpentarian Grasswren

Listed as nationally endangered during 2016, the Carpentarian Grasswren is an iconic species of the Southern Gulf Region.  With logistical support from Southern Gulf NRM, Birdlife Australia volunteers conducted surveys for the bird during early 2016, confirming that the majority of populations exist in long-unburnt spinifex grasslands, to the north and west of Mount Isa.

Fire is the key to the future of the Carpentarian Grasswren.  Adapted over millennia to an Indigenous-managed fire regime of frequent, patchy and low-intensity fires, Grasswrens moved from patch to patch to find suitable unburnt habitat.  With the decline of Indigenous fire management practices, modern fires tend to be less frequent, but much larger and more intense.  This can lead to the removal of suitable Grasswren habitat over very large areas and has been implicated in the decline of the species.

Large fires are a problem for pastoralists too, destroying extensive areas of vital cattle grazing pastures.  Grasswrens and pastoralists share an interest in best practice fire management.

In this project, Southern Gulf NRM is building partnerships to implement fire management practices that benefit both Grasswrens and pastoralists.  After planning and training activities are completed, our aim is to implement improved fire management practices over 100,000ha of vital Grasswren habitat during 2017.

Project partners: Birdlife Australia, Kalkadoon Traditional Owners, Property Managers, Bush Heritage Australia, Department of Environment and Energy, Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage Protection, Queensland Parks and Wildlife and Queensland Fire and Emergency Services

Project funding:  Australian Government National Landcare Program


Improving Management of Gulf Wetlands

The enormous estuarine wetland complex that lines the southern coasts of the Gulf of Carpentaria is the largest of its type in Australia.  Listed as nationally-important wetlands, the wetlands are of particular cultural importance to the traditional owners of the region, who have made them their home for tens of thousands of years.

Formal conservation reserves in the wetlands are scarce although the declarations of the Thuwathu/Bujimulla and Nijinda Durlga (Gangalidda) Indigenous Protected Areas are positive steps towards the conservation of an important portion of the wetland systems.  Traditional Owners have also supported the process of ensuring the significance of these wetlands is recognised through their listing as migratory bird flyways under the East Asian-Australasian Flyway Partnership.

The majority of the wetland system falls within extensive cattle grazing leasehold land.  Conservation of wetland values depends on the cooperation and support of the pastoralists responsible for management of this landscape.

In a partnership with the Carpentaria Land Council Aboriginal Corporation, Southern Gulf NRM is working with pastoralists to implement measures that will enable them to improve management of cattle in relation to the wetlands.  Spelling sensitive wetland environments during the wet season is one important way to protect values, but this requires fencing and other management investments.  With support from Southern Gulf NRM and the Carpentaria Land Council Aboriginal Corporation, cattle properties will be able to play their important part in protecting these sensitive and precious wetlands.

Project Partners: Carpentaria Land Council Aboriginal Corporation – and relevant Traditional Owners; Property Managers

Project Funding: Australian Government National Landcare Program; Carpentaria Land Council Aboriginal Corporation


Protecting the Southern Gulf Landscape from Prickly Acacia infestation

Prickly Acacia is the scourge of the Southern Gulf pastoral industry.  Introduced originally as a shade tree and for drought fodder, it has proven to be all too successful in the Southern Gulf environment, infesting millions of hectares of valuable grazing country.  Left unmanaged, Prickly Acacia will form dense thickets, completely eliminating valuable pasture grasses and modifying the habitats for the native species that rely on grassland ecosystems.  Prickly Acacia spreads through paddocks in the gut of cattle that graze on the nutritious seed pods.  Cattle transport is a major risk of regional-scale spread of the weed.

Prickly Acacia management has been a priority for Southern Gulf NRM for many years.  Our work follows the Weeds of National Significance Prickly Acacia Strategic Plan 2012-2017.  Recognising that parts of the region have heavy, long-established infestations and other parts, while vulnerable to infestation are now free of the weed, the principles of the strategy can be summarised as:

  • Prevent the spread of the weed into currently un-infested areas
  • Monitor the landscape to enable early detection of any new infestations
  • Give priority to eradication of newly established infestations where this is feasible
  • Support land managers with information, technical advice and financial assistance in managing established infestations.

Southern Gulf NRM supports land managers with grants to control prickly acacia infestations in keeping with the Strategic Plan.  During 2015/16, Southern Gulf NRM Prickly Acacia projects treated more than 150,000 ha in partnerships with 10 properties who each co-invest at least 50%.

Project Partners: Biosecurity Queensland; Local Government; Land Managers

Project Funding: Queensland Natural Resource Management Program


Regional Landcare Facilitator

Building capacity for sustainable land management lies at the heart of Southern Gulf NRM’s Regional Landcare Facilitator project.  Our RLF project contributes to developing a skilled and capable Landcare and farming community within the Southern Gulf region. It aims to increase community engagement and participation in NRM, building capacity, knowledge and skills to better manage natural resources. There is a strong focus on promoting the Landcare ethic and sustainable grazing practices to graziers. Landcare, production and community groups are assisted to seek funding, membership and resources for NRM activities and to build their capacity and skills. The Regional Landcare Facilitator is an “enabler” who supports the regional community to achieve these outcomes.

Highlights of the RLF project during 2016 including organising well supported soil erosion field days to build knowledge and skills about road drainage and other practices that reduce the risk of soil loss and damage to infrastructure.  A well-attended field day at Richmond focussed on innovation in weed control.  Building community capacity in grant applications was the focus of a series of regionally-based workshops organised by our Regional Landcare Facilitator.

Project Partners: Partnerships are developed in the context of each activity

Project Funding: Australian Government National Landcare Program


War on Western Weeds

Southern Gulf NRM works in partnership with the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries on the War on Western Weeds project (WoWW).  WoWW is a 5 year Queensland Government initiative, that aims to reduce the incidence and spread of prickly acacia in western Queensland.  The project focus is on the Mitchell grass downs where prickly acacia has a significant impact on land condition and productivity as well as strategic areas in central Queensland and the lower Gulf. Under DAF’s leadership, some the WoWW project activities that Southern Gulf NRM has supported are:

  • Establishment of a second Good Neighbour Program case study in collaboration with Barcaldine Regional Council.
  • Research trials on spray misters leading to the securement of a Minor Use Permit issued by APVMA.
  • Production of seven factsheets outlining the outcomes of WoWW led research projects and implications for grazier consideration.
  • Studies of prickly acacia seedling and pasture response to mechanical control.
  • Thomson River Weed Control Project targeting strategic prickly acacia, parkinsonia and rubbervine.
  • Central West Pest Management Technical Group bellyache bush control.

War on Northern Invasive Weeds (WONIW) project funded by the Australian Government and led by DAF has commenced and will run concurrently with the WoWW initiative. This project with assist in further refining  the Good Neighbour Program, spray misting, scattergun and the weed sniper through additional research trials. A Community Based Social Marketing case study will also be undertaken to better understand and address barriers to community led weed control initiatives.

Project Partners: Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hughenden Shire, Barcaldine Shire

Project Funding Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Australian Government War on Northern Invasive Weeds project


Pasture Partners for sustainable grazing land management

The Southern Gulf Beef Industry lies at the heart of the regional economy.  One of the top 10 beef producing regions in Australia, the industry is based almost entirely on the native rangelands pastures of the region.  Prominent among these are the extensive Mitchell Grass downs.

Southern Gulf NRM’s focus is on the sustainability of the native pasture resource.  A healthy pasture base protects soil and water and recovers more quickly from drought.  It yields an economic dividend, with the carrying capacity of good condition pastures much higher than those which have become degraded.

In the Pasture Partners project, we are supporting producers to systematically monitor the condition of their land using the Land Condition Guide published by Southern Gulf NRM during 2016.  The Guide draws upon many years of research and practical experience in the cattle industry and Queensland agriculture research to provide a simple way of consistently assessing pasture condition.  Pasture partners will provide participating landholders with tools and information to promote better pasture management.  It will allow them to track condition over time and to benchmark their pastures with others in the region.

Workshops, field days and publications form part of the Pasture Partners project.  Importantly our work is designed to complement the work of the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Meat and Livestock Australia and other service providers.

Project Partners: Pastoral industry, Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Meat and Livestock Australia, AgForce Queensland

Project Funding: Australian Government National Landcare Program


$avannah Plan

Southern Gulf NRM and our neighbours Northern Gulf Resource Management Group collaborate in the Tropical Savannah Grazing Program.  A key deliverable of this program is the $avannah Plan project, delivered under a funding agreement by the Beef Extension Team in the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries.

Under $avannah Plan, the extension team works closely with cattle producers at the property level to develop property management plans that sustain the economic and environmental viability of the pastoral enterprise.  This involves consideration of property infrastructure – watering points, fencing and other assets, herd management practices to maximise herd efficiency and labour inputs and other aspects that contribute to a viable and productive enterprise.

Project Partners: Northern Gulf RMG, Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries

Project Funding: Queensland Natural Resource Management Program


Property Mapping

Despite the enormous size of Southern Gulf cattle properties, producers know their properties like the back of their hand.  But the back of the hand is not a very convenient mapping system so Southern Gulf NRM works with producers to develop property plans using our geographic information systems.  These plans map property infrastructure and key landscape features that provide the basis for sound property management.

Technology is providing new approaches to mapping, bringing mapping tools direct to farmers via the internet.  Through the Rangelands NRM Alliance, Southern Gulf NRM is an investor in the development of the very popular Spatial Hub mapping tool.  Increasingly our mapping services will shift towards supporting property managers undertaking their own mapping using the Spatial Hub tool.

Project Partners: Spatial Hub

Project Funding: Southern Gulf NRM