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Reef Rescue Forum... achievement and success

In this edition, we provide an overview of the outcomes of the Reef Rescue Forum held in August. We would like to thank all Forum participants for making the event such a success. In particular, many thanks to the presenters for putting together and delivering an interesting and informative collection of presentations. All the presentations, along with a selection of photos from the Forum, will be available on our new website before the end of the month. Enjoy the pictures – there are many more to share!

Reef Rescue Forum                             

More than 100 people attended the recent Reef Rescue Forum in Brisbane to share progress and results from the 18 projects which make up the $9 million Reef Rescue R&D program. This event provided a great opportunity for members of several Reef Rescue Programs - the Water Quality Grants program, Reef Rescue R&D and the Paddock to Reef Program - to come together to share knowledge and experiences.The forum also gave Reef Rescue R&D scientists a chance to interact with managers who will use the results to inform policy and investment decisions.

Reef Rescue program coordinator Billy Quinn said the attendance over the three days of the forum was very pleasing. He said it was also satisfying from a program management perspective to see that all 18 projects were on track and expected to deliver timely outcomes.

“The panel discussion about future strategic issues was very thought provoking and gave us some good perspectives to use in our future planning,” he said.

The Forum focused water quality and socio - economic outcomes of land management practice in the agricultural industries in the GBR catchments, with teams building up evidence improved practice can reduce runoff without affecting productivity.

Updates on projects investigating monitoring, evaluation and reporting techniques that will be used to improve the Paddock to Reef Program design over the next couple of years were presented. Other sessions focused on the progress of on -ground works being carried out through the Reef Rescue Water Quality Grants program - presenters providing a positive summary of management practice adoption to date.The workshop participants also reviewed strategies for engaging landholders and considered delivery options for future water quality investments. In a discussion about future investments in GBR water quality, Mike Berwick from the Reef Alliance highlighted a whole of landscape approach  and suggested soil health, common data collections and a single set of targets as areas in need of improvement.

The forum closed with a panel discussion of future strategic issues for GBR water quality management. Some of the key challenges identified were: the need for integrated delivery and holistic approaches, engaging the whole community, building on the success of initiatives to date, and broadening the scope of Reef Rescue without losing focus.

Download the Reef Rescue Forum Collated Notes.

 Forum in Focus                                     

Land managment improvement in the grazing industry

Reef Rescue R&D projects working with the grazing industries are focused on reducing sediment and pesticide load in runoff by improving land management. CSIRO’s Scott Wilkinson and DNRM’s Mark Silburn talked about the impact of improved practices on water quality outcomes. Monitoring practice change using data from 1986 to 2010, combined with the GRASP model, the researchers have shown, for example, that to decrease the level of sediment in runoff by 20%, requires a 20% increase in groundcover.

In other Reef Rescue R&D projects addressing the major issues to improve grazing practice, Andrew Brooks from Griffith University said gullies had been identified as the major type of erosion in the Cape York region, resulting in a revision of sediment load estimates. He said several options were available to manage gullies but whether these are feasible at the landscape scale is uncertain. Undoubtedly, the best management option is preventing gullies developing in the first place.

In a discussion of ‘D’ condition land rehabilitation techniques, Trevor Hall from DAFF said that while results from mechanical intervention were positive, the costs still need to be quantified.

In a project investigating the effect of land use changes on nitrogen loads, Craig Thornton from DNRM has looked at nitrogen in runoff from pasture legumes. The results will provide additional data to improve catchment models. In a ground-breaking study, Craig and his colleagues have also measured the movement of tebuthiuron in pasture. This information is particularly valuable because until now there has been no data on tebuthiuron breakdown into dissolved and particulate forms.

Groundcover is an important indicator of grazing land condition. Terry Beutel from QDAFF spoke about a project to develop better techniques for groundcover monitoring and mapping in GBR catchments. This project is being undertaken in collaboration with a team of remote sensing experts in DNRM and DSITIA under the Paddock to Reef Program who are also completing burnt area mapping, gully mapping and predictive models, land use mapping and higher resolution crop mapping and monitoring.


NRM Climate Change Impacts & Adaptation Research Grants program
The Federal Government is now calling for applications of up to $1 million each under its new NRM Climate Change Impacts & Adaptation Research Grants program. Read more

Irrigation Modernisation Planning Assistance Program
The program will remain open to receive and assess applications until 29 October 2012. Read more

Filling the Research Gap
Department of  Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry: A second round of funding for Filling the Research Gap will be announced later this year. The research strategy for the next round of funding is now available on the website.


Growcom Horticultural Leadership Program  
8 & 25 October, Lockyer Valley
2 & 3 October, Stanthorpe
5 & 12 October Gympie/Sunshine Coast   

Read more

AgForce North Qld Industry Tour
9 October, Normanton
Read more

National Farmers Federation Congress
22-23 October, Canberra
Read more

ABARES Toowoomba Regional Outlook conference
25 October, Toowoomba

Read more

QWater'12 Regional Conference
11 - 12 November, Gold Coast
Read more

2013 AUSVEG National Convention, Trade Show and Awards for Excellence
30 May - 1 June 2013, Goldcoast

Read more

Stay in touch                                                                                        
Please contact Reef Rescue R&D Coordinator Jane Waterhouse with your news, events, images and story ideas.

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