Resilient landscapes. Strong communities.

Investing to Sustain the Natural Assets in the Southern Gulf Region

The Southern Gulf region is made up of five catchments which drain into the southern part of the Gulf of Carpentaria as well as Wellesley Island. The region is prone to prolonged dry seasons and intense monsoonal rains which often result in floods. These natural weather patterns are being exacerbated by climate change which has a significant impact on the region’s economy, primarily driven by agriculture and mining.

Southern Gulf NRM’s purpose is to empower the community to sustainably manage our natural assets for current and future generations.

We are on the ground delivering services to land managers and local governments to help them balance nature with sustainable food production. With 12 staff who live and work in the region, and a head office located in Mount Isa, Southern Gulf NRM has been delivering strategic, on-ground, whole-of-landscape programs for more than 22 years.

Over that time the organisation has developed genuine, robust and trusted relationships with land managers as well as Traditional Owners, local councils, pastoral and resource companies, research and conservation organisations. These stakeholders have also collaborated to develop a new Natural Resource Management Plan for the region.

Every dollar invested in NRM in the Southern Gulf region supports our regional economies, ensuring land and water management experts are on the ground in regional towns where they are most needed. This network of professional staff facilitates outcomes for threatened species, sustainable agriculture, weed and pest control and disaster resilience, building relationships with the people who live and work in some of the most remote, yet economically significant parts of the state.


Return on Investment

  • NRM in Queensland generates $180 million to the Queensland economy with a further $70 million value-added.
  • For every dollar currently invested in NRM in Queensland we leverage an additional $4.20 cash and in-kind.
  •  This includes co-investment by land managers and corporations, private investments and markets and government and philanthropic grant programs.

Regional Economies

Southern Gulf NRM employs 12 FTEs who are all based in the region. Our projects contribute significantly to economic activity in the region, through supply chain and consumption effects as well as through outsourcing to local businesses. 

Investment in Southern Gulf NRM contributes to the local economy and creates revenue and rural, regional and remote jobs in North West Queensland.



Regional natural resource management boasts significant co-benefits, many of which are a win-win for both the regional economy and sustaining the region’s natural assets.

  • Increasingly, First Nations people are actively engaged in NRM planning as well as project development and working on Country.
  • We strive to increase natural capital at a whole-of-landscape scale We build cohesive and resilient communities.
  • We build cohesive and resilient communities.
  • We deliver projects that contribute to the net zero emissions target.
  • We drive long-term socio-economic and social and cultural outcomes.
  • We improve community perceptions and attitudes around conservation and the environment, including understanding of government policy and legislation.
  • We focus on continually improving peoples’ capacity to manage the natural environment.
  • We are reducing threats to productivity through weed and pest management.
  • We are delivering measurable change to our special plants and animals and iconic landscapes.

Measurable On-Ground Outcomes

Through one State funding program alone (Natural Resources Investment Program), Queensland’s NRM sector has achieved significant on-ground outcomes. 314,933ha of land condition has been improved, along with 158,167ha of vegetation condition.

Southern Gulf NRM contributed 88,000+ hectares of land management change projects on 20 properties, and monitored 192 land condition sites to these outcomes.

Projects include:

  • Installing watering points to spread the distribution of grazing pressure and allow cattle to utilise pastures across the entire paddock.
  • Splitting paddocks to improve rotational grazing practices.
  • Fencing to land type to control grazing pressure on selected land types.
  • Fencing off riparian zones to control grazing along creeks and rivers to prevent erosion.
  • Install whoa boys to reduce soil erosion.
  • Controlled burning program.


  • Southern Gulf NRM maintains a strong track record of project delivery in the region. Our organisation is well engaged with the community and has close working relationships with local governments and many regional landholders.
  • Southern Gulf NRM utilises their extensive technical capacity across a wide range of natural resource disciplines, extension and education skills and effective project management and administration systems.


Carpentarian Grasswren Project

Read more about how we’re managing fire to help secure a future for the endangered Carpentarian Grasswren with nearly 50,000ha of prescribed burning in the past five years and some 8,800 volunteer hours conducting bird surveys.

Disaster recovery after the monsoon

Read more about how we’ve been working with land managers to restore riparian areas following the 2019 monsoon event, which so drastically impacted North West Queensland. We’ve restored riverine systems across 5 sites and 5,440m of riverbank and planted 4,843 trees, preventing the ongoing export of fine sediment to the Gulf of Carpentaria.

Investing to Sustain the Natural Assets in the Southern Gulf Region

2024 & Beyond

Southern Gulf NRM is seeking to ensure longevity of its programs so that we continue to drive disaster resilience, the protection of special plants, animals and ecosystems, and sustainable food production in the region. Through consultation with our partners, we know what is needed across the region, and we know we have support as well as skills on the ground to deliver outcomes. We’re seeking support for 14 flagship programs to ensure Queensland’s Gulf Country and Mitchell Grass Downs grazing country continues to thrive.

$300,000 per RE for three REs over five years | Many Regional Ecosystems in western Queensland have not been described. This means we do not have a benchmark of the species that make up those REs, no means of assessing biodiversity condition of those habitats, no way of understanding the impact of agriculture or other developments and no way of assessing potential for environmental markets.

$550,000 annually | With complementary engagement, education, monitoring and incentives, develop a regionally-based threatened species plan that strategically deals with common threats for a wide range of species across all of the region’s Regional Ecosystems, improving effectiveness of management actions and coordinating engagement of key organisations across the region.

$800,000 per year for 5 years | Improved land condition through changing grazing land management practices. Assist landholders to plan and implement on ground works and practice changes that directly lead to improved land condition.

$280,000 per year for 5 years | To facilitate access to the carbon and environmental assurance programs. Support landholders to reduce emissions and diversify their income through carbon abatement options and demonstrate environmental credentials to the marketplace. 

$200,000 annually | Deliver an annual, region-wide report card on river health and water quality, coordinating water quality and river health monitoring by industry, local government and research institutions.

$350,000 annually | Focussed both on-farm (grazing and cropping) and town systems and involving surface and ground water, this program will result in a reduction in water waste for agricultural enterprises as well as improved management of water supply and reliability.

$1.4m | Despite our soils being a fundamental natural asset, the region has limited data about the region’s soils, particularly Mitchell Grass Downs and Gulf Plains soils. Cropping in the region is increasing. We’ll undertake a regional soils assessment and produce a regional land systems manual and educational material for industry and local government.

$450,000 annually | Floods, wind erosion and sparse ground cover at the start of the wet season have created huge areas of soil erosion in the region, particularly on the highly productive Mitchell Grass Downs and Gulf Plains soils. We’ll work with landholders to restore bare ground, stabilise gully erosion and reduce sedimentation of waterholes in creeks, rivers and wetlands.

$3M annually for 5 years | Delivered in partnership with local government and focussed on improving the region’s resilience to future biodiversity threats. This project will deliver outcomes for threatened species and natural assets while increasing agricultural productivity by strategically controlling pest plants and animals. The project will employ a works team to support landholders who lack on-farm labour to implement strategic biosecurity actions.

$200,000 annually for 5 years | We’ll work with Traditional Owner organisations to document aspirations in cultural heritage to progress effecting management agreements for working on Country. This will include support and strategic planning around business structure arrangements.

$120,000 annually | Facilitate cultural assessments for on-ground works and improve cultural asset management and protection.

$160,000 annually | Develop a closer working relationship between Southern Gulf NRM and Traditional Owner organisations. This will result in a wide range of opportunities for the participation of First Nations people in NRM project development, design and implementation.

$600,000 annually | Facilitate property-level planning focussed on natural disaster risks, map the risks for each property and plan and implement infrastructure measures to avoid or reduce the impacts of climate change and extreme weather events. We’ll reduce the impact of natural disasters on the region’s natural assets and on business disruption and recovery costs to the community and governments.

$1.3M annually for 5 years | Delivering win-win outcomes for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture and rural businesses, reducing the cost of doing business in the bush while also ensuring the supply of reliable electricity at a low cost through renewables. We’ll achieve this through energy efficiency audits, improved electricity use monitoring, electrical trades skill-building and strategic installation of renewables.

$350,000 annually | Delivering increased community understanding, engagement and action to reduce waste going to landfill, contributing to a reduced greenhouse emissions footprint for the region. We’ll focus on community waste, green waste, food waste and coordinated resource recovery and re-use.

$240,000 annually | Pro-actively engage schools in a range of environmental and sustainable agriculture activities – both in the classroom and in the field. We’ll help young people develop understanding, appreciation and respect for the natural environment and to explore potential career aspirations for both agriculture and conservation in Outback Australia. We’ll also develop a university placement program to entice graduates to live and work in our region post-study while delivering real-world experience in natural resource management.

Our regional work is guided by our Southern Gulf Regional Natural Resource Management Plan 2022 - 2032

Each of these strategic projects implements parts of the Regional NRM Plan for the Southern Gulf, which was developed in consultation with the people who live and work in the region.

Southern Gulf NRM is committed to preserving our natural resources for future generations and we strive to continuously enhance our own environmental and social performance through the implementation of our Environmental, Social and Governance Policy across all projects in the region.    

These programs cover the building of NRM capacity in the region, the vitality of its natural resource based enterprises, managing threats and protecting its assets