[Skip to Content]

Reducing sediment run-off

Graziers are changing their farming practices to reduce erosion on farms, hillslopes, gullies and streambanks, meaning less sediment is washed out onto the Reef.

Sediment smothers coral

Sediment run-off, from erosion, flows from catchments into the Reef in plumes. The plumes settle, but the smaller particles of sediment keep flowing out, sticking to each other and to debris and making gluey masses called flocs. When these flocs settle, they cover coral and prevent the coral and underwater ecosystem from receiving the natural light they need to survive.

View the Sediment journey video.

Soil that runs off the land during flood events can end up in waterways that lead to the Reef. The fine sediment from the soil smothers coral by blocking the light.
Soil that runs off the land during flood events can end up in waterways that lead to the Reef. The fine sediment from the soil smothers coral by blocking the light.

Tackling erosion as a team

Dr Scott Crawford, CEO, NQ Dry Tropics discusses the project with Dr Stephen Lewis, Principal Research Scientist, James Cook University
Dr Scott Crawford, CEO, NQ Dry Tropics discusses the project with Dr Stephen Lewis, Principal Research Scientist, James Cook University.

Erosion in Great Barrier Reef catchments didn’t happen overnight and it’s a bigger problem than each farmer can address on their own. So there are a number of programs in place to bring together scientists and graziers to come up with solutions.

Many graziers are taking part in the Grazing Best Management Practice program across Reef catchments. The Grazing BMP is a voluntary, industry-led process which helps graziers identify practices to improve long-term profitability. It also allows the grazing industry to showcase good environmental management to the wider community.

In addition to the Grazing BMP, there are many other projects. One of them, NQ Dry Tropics, has brought together graziers to combine their knowledge with the knowledge of scientists and government to help devise an action plan for the Burdekin. Find out more about the Major Integrated Project - Landholders Driving Change Project.

Technology to track pasture change

FORAGE is a web-based system which generates and distributes property-scale information, helping graziers track ground cover and pasture growth to support management decisions through tailored historical reports about their property, satellite images and comparisons with other properties nearby.

Springvale Station gullies

Enormous gullies are carved through Queensland’s Cape York landscape as overgrazing throughout some areas continues to degrade land condition, unearthing sediments which are then washed into the waterways.

The Queensland Government purchased Springvale Station in May 2016 to add to the State’s protected area network. Work on the property, including the destocking of cattle, will reduce the risk of sediment flowing to the northern Great Barrier Reef.

Erosion and sediment management planning (PDF) at Springvale is now underway.

Rebuilding eroding gullies project

This project addresses one of the greatest challenges facing graziers – gully erosion. Because gullies are a significant contributor to sediment entering the Great Barrier Reef, the Queensland Government and Greening Australia are each investing $2 million to support this important work, located at Strathalbyn Station, 75 km north of Collinsville.

The project will trial restoration of heavily eroded alluvial gullies at a large scale. The outcome will confirm the most cost-effective methodologies for wider gully repair across the across the Great Barrier Reef catchment.

Grains Best Management Practice (BMP)

The Grains BMP is a voluntary, industry-led program managed by the Fitzroy Basin Association in partnership with AgForce and the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries. The program allows grain growers to tap into industry expertise to improve their business and environmental sustainability and their long-term profitability.

You can help to keep our waterways healthy

From the Great Barrier Reef to Moreton Bay, all Queensland waterways are connected. There are things all of us can do to help. For example, avoiding littering, wherever you live, will prevent litter getting into waterways and making its way to the Great Barrier Reef. If you live in REEF catchment areas, you can make sure soil and fertiliser stays on your property.

Find more actions on how to help the reef