Payne’s Lagoon, a cattle property at the top of Hervey’s Range owned by the Nicholas family, will host a field day on Tuesday, April 26, from 10.30am until 12.30pm for Upper Burdekin landholders wanting to see gully rehabilitation in action.
Work is underway to rehabilitate an actively eroding gully on David Nicholas’ property in a joint effort between the landholder and the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF), with funding assistance from NQ Dry Tropics through the Australian Government Reef Program that supports the reduction of sediment from grazing properties impacting on the Great Barrier Reef.
The gully is adjacent to Herveys Range Road, making it an ideal location for a demonstration site.
DAF principal extension officer Bob Shepherd said gullies mean different things to different people.
“To graziers they are an eyesore that can threaten fences, access tracks, stockyards and watering points,” he said.
“To irrigators in the lower Burdekin the sediment reduces the recharge of aquifers in the delta.
“To those who rely on the oceans for an income or recreation – either fishing or tourism – sediment from gullies stresses the coral reefs, seagrass beds and fish life.
“There are many good reasons to prevent new gullies forming and repairing existing gullies.
“The gully on Paynes Lagoon is representative of hundreds of gullies, particularly on the red goldfields country across approximately 60 properties in the Upper Burdekin catchment.”
The gully is 300 metres long and has lost an estimated 10,400 cubic metres of soil over at least the past 100 years.
There are several approaches to controlling gullies, including stock exclusion to allow pasture cover to increase, high density stocking to establish a layer of cattle dung to encourage plant growth and stick-raking logs and brush into gullies to trap silt and encourage grass growth.
“For this gully we have elected to take an approach that does two things – treat the contributing catchment to reduce the volume of runoff water being generated and treat the gully itself.”
The eight hectare catchment area will be fenced to allow grazing to be managed, then contour deep ripping and seeding will be done to maximise infiltration of rainfall.
Any runoff that does occur will be diverted to an adjacent ridge where it will spread over a wide area before safely entering a drainage line downstream of the gullied area.
The plan for the gully is to stockpile topsoil from the gully margins, reshape the subsoil and spread a topsoil blanket over the area and sow a grass pasture seed mix.
Graziers are invited to visit and inspect the gully rehab site during the field day by which time (weather permitting) the works should be close to completion.
“This approach is costly, but it is a demonstration of what can be done with the type of machinery that many graziers have on their properties.
“It’s not saying that this is the only way to treat a gully, but it is in the mix for some soil types.”
For information and to register for the field day phone Kate Brown on 0457 520 457.