We're looking after our region - Natural Resource Management 

Message from Rob Cocco, CEO

Welcome to the latest e-newsletter from Reef Catchments - this edition continues to highlight the positive actions undertaken by those in our region to sustain our natural landscape.

At the time of drafting this edition, the region has been battered by Cyclone Debbie, leaving a trail of destruction throughout the region and with many homes and properties still without access to power and running water. Our thoughts are with the many people impacted and we hope to see you all back on your feet as soon as possible. 

Preliminary surveillance of the regions natural landscapes highlights a significant level of damage to coastal foreshore areas, and riparian areas and water ways within the region. Reef Catchments is actively exploring options with state agencies and local government to ensure the recovery and restoration of these natural areas is undertaken. 

I would also seek to offer a grateful thanks to the all those that have and continue to be involved in the clean up and recovery actions, while frustration are evident  in regard to time required to undertake recovery, the efforts from these individuals and groups in restoring the region should be commended. 

I hope you enjoy this latest edition of the e-newsletter.

Mackay Sustainable Grazing Forum
March 1, 2017, Harrup Park Country Club 

The 2017 Grazing Forum attracted over 80 landholders and 30 industry representatives. Many of the speakers were actual graziers', who discussed land management techniques to improve soil health, soil moisture holding capacity, pasture ground cover and ultimately water quality. The event enhanced grazier’s knowledge of how to be more sustainable, both in business and from an environmental perspective.
Attendee feedback was positive, stating their interest in keeping up to date with latest innovative practices, particularly drainage management and erosion control measures at the next event.  One local grazier noted, “A lot we are already doing, but the speakers information attracted a lot more positive credibility to these practices”.
If you were unable to attend, many of the presentations were recorded which you can view on our Youtube channel. Read more.

Millions available for Great Barrier Reef ideas 

Expressions of interest are now open for innovators to share their ideas on water treatment system technology and agricultural management. The Office of Great Barrier Reef is offering $2.25 million for trialling water treatment systems, such as wetlands, bioreactors and algae treatment to reduce nutrients and pesticides in agricultural run-off. A further $950,000 will be available to support the development and trialling of innovative farm practices, new tools and technologies and novel ecosystem repair.   The expressions of interest are open to all individuals and groups and will require proponents to offer matched funding (in-kind or cash) equivalent.   Expressions of interest opened on Monday 27 February and will run until Friday 7 April 2017.

Clean up Australia Day - Conway and Wilsons beach 

Young volunteers enthusiastically sorting their treasure from other peoples trash  

Volunteers at Conway & Wilsons beach Clean Up Australia event on March 5th, collected a huge amount of waste including over 50 thongs, over 60 various types of plastic bottles and over 1100 hard plastic fragments.  This demonstrates that it is often common items are ending up polluting our coastlines and the plastic is breaking up not down and accumulating in huge amounts.   Thanks to all the fantastic volunteers that came along and put in a huge effort cleaning up.  Thanks to Barry Nolan (QPWS), Bren Fuller (WRC) and Cath Campbell (WCL) for their involvement in the event.  The presentations provided an insight into why cats are an issue in Australia and how the community can assist by managing their cats appropriately.  

Whitsunday's witnessing avian invasion
Reports of an unwelcome avian invader have increased across the Whitsundays over the last six months. Sightings of Indian Mynas (Acridotheres tristis) have been reported in Cannonvale, Bredalbane, Blacks Beach and at other sites around Mackay and the Pioneer Valley. Large flocks of more than 20 birds have also been reported flying over Proserpine. Read more.

Catchment Loads Monitoring  

The Great Barrier Reef (GBR) Catchments Loads Monitoring Program, monitors the annual loads of pollutants (sediments, pesticides and nutrients) generated from terrestrial runoff in the GBR catchments. The monitoring is undertaken at 26 sites across 14 drainage basins. The data is then used to model annual loads across the 35 drainage basins which is used in the development of the annual Paddock to Reef report cards which measure and report on progress towards Reef Plan (2013) targets.  
In the Mackay Whitsunday region there has been an increase in the number of sites being monitored in 2016/17. Previous monitoring has been undertaken on the O’Connell and Pioneer Rivers and on Sandy Creek. In 2016/17 this has been increased with three new sites including a new site on the Proserpine River, an additional site on the O’Connell River and a (to be established site) on Plane Creek. Read more.

Head for the Hills 

Integrated forestry and grazing  at a property in Eungella

The forestry plantation, Wanemya, in the Eungella Highlands will be the site for the Reef Catchments Forestry Field Day which will include a walk through a plantation forest, and will also include a demonstration of tree felling and milling. Learn how plantation forestry helps develop properties for both short term and long term gain. Read more. 

Organic treat for horticulturalists 

Produce from Mt Alma Fresh  

Horticulturalists are invited on a free bus trip to visit one of the leading organic producers in North Queensland. Mt Alma Fresh is a Certified Organic vegetable, fruit and herb grower in The Burdekin. There is a lot to discuss with cane, cattle, mangoes and seasonal vegetables on the 364 hectare property. Integrated systems, biological fertilisers and direct sales are just part of the Gary & Angela’s success.  

To entertain and educate us on the journey, guest speaker Luke Hargreaves, Growcom will discuss innovations in water quality, ground cover maintenance, reduction in nutrient run-off as well as opportunities in export markets and current biosecurity issues in the industry.   Dates are to be confirmed however we anticipate this event to be held in May.

To register your interest for this event, please contact Sophie via phone on 0408 904 036 or email sophie.glasser@reefcatchments.com.  

Grazing Field Day 

Spray nozzle demonstration at the Grazing Field Day 2017

45 graziers ventured to the Trimble’s cattle property on the O’Connell River for a day of hands on learning, at the 2017 Grazing Field Day in March. The 114 hectare property is a showcase for what can be achieved through effective management practices. Read more. 

Tilapia found in Bowen 

Some of the tilapia found in Mullers Lagoon, Bowen 

Native fish in Mullers Lagoon are vulnerable to the noxious Tilapia species. The pest was identified in the Bowen waterway by our Catchment Solutions water sampling team in December.   Tilapia displace and prey on local species and have been observed to spread disease in waterways. The Whitsunday Regional Council has plans to remove the pests, ensuring the eggs are destroyed and cannot repopulate. It is a timely reminder on why it's so important to monitor and address pest fish in our waterways. Increasing awareness of the threat Tilapia pose to our native species and ecosystems is on the council’s agenda however you can help too. Share this photo on social media with your fishing fan friends to do your bit.  

Up to $6,000 in agronomic advice available 

Over 30 farmers in the region have taken up the offer of $6,000 in agronomic support and advice in the Reef Trust 3 programme. 

One-on-one consultations help farmers develop management plans for nutrients and herbicides, specific to their property. Read more.

Fish Monitoring

Reef Catchments Staff 

We would like to welcome our new staff to the Reef Catchments team. 

Project Officer Sustainable Agriculture, Sophie Glasser grew up on a cattle property near Goondiwindi where the family business involves breeding, fattening and processing of branded beef through their family owned an abattoir. Sophie completed a Bachelor of Business Management through UQ, St Lucia and a Master of Agriculture through UNE, Armidale.

As Communications and Media Officer, Tegan combines experience as a professional communicator, in government and the advertising industry, with an interest in the natural environment. Tegan holds a Bachelor of Business (Marketing) and post graduate qualifications in Regional and Community Development.

In February 2017, Juliane Kasiske took on the role of the Regional Landcare Facilitator for the Mackay Whitsunday region where she will continue to support sustainable production within the five industries. Her focus will be on advising, facilitating, and coordinating various stakeholders in the planning and implementation of strategic projects and the promotion of NRM activities.

CQSHS 4th Annual Soil Health Field Day  - Marian 

Thursday & Friday April 6-7: An annual event not to be missed. This year speakers include Professor Susanne Schmidt (UQ), Walter Jehne, Soil Microbiologist and Simon Mattsson, Farmer, Nuffield Scholar.

Goodbye Waders - Illawong Drive, Mackay 

Saturday April 8: Join us to improve your bird ID skills and meet fellow bird lovers over a free BBQ lunch. 

RegenAG 3-Day Biofertiliser Course - North Eton 
Tuesday May 23 - Thursday May 25: Join RegenAG's own Kym Kruse for a three-day workshop on how biofertilisers can drastically increase your on-farm fertility and save you tens of thousands of dollars a year on inputs. Representing the pioneering work of Latin American based organisation Mashumus,  Kym will lead you through the why and how of making your own organic fertilisers out of easily available ingredients.
Copyright © 2017 Reef Catchments (Mackay Whitsunday Isaac) Limited, All rights reserved.

Our address is:
Reef Catchments (Mackay Whitsunday Isaac) Limited
Suite 1/85 Gordon Street 
PO Box 815
Mackay, QLD 4740
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