Burdekin Major Integrated Project – Landholders Driving Change

Since 2017, NQ Dry Tropics has led the delivery of the Landholders Driving Change (LDC) project in the Bowen Broken Bogie (BBB) catchment in the Burdekin region, near Collinsville. The LDC project brings together local graziers, other landholders, scientists and the government to design and deliver activities that accelerate progress towards water quality outcomes through empowered communities.

The LDC is one of two Major Integrated Projects evaluating the combined effectiveness of a range of tools and innovative approaches at a hot spot location. The project, which is funded at over $16 million, focuses on working primarily with graziers and reducing sediment loads to local waterways, through five areas:

  • landscape remediation (gullies)
  • grazing support
  • policy engagement
  • influencing other land managers
  • exploring new incentives.

Projects completed during the LDC have prevented an estimated 10,600 tonnes of fine sediment reaching the Great Barrier Reef. Approximately half of the sediment savings are due to grazing land management changes on hillslopes and streambanks. The other half is due to gully remediation. The project has improved management on around 65,000 hectares.

As of July 2021, the LDC project has delivered 150 events to more than 2,500 attendees, with 76% of BBB grazing properties participating. More specifically, 91% of large grazing properties have been engaged covering an area of over 1 million hectares. An external evaluation identified that 86% of project delivery stakeholders reported a moderate to substantial improvement in strengthening knowledge, attitudes, skills and aspirations. This result has more than doubled from the baseline observed in year one. Additionally, a survey of 54 landholders within the BBB catchment identified they:

  • were positive about the LDC project’s contribution to water quality outcomes
  • valued trialling new activities
  • were positive that the LDC had helped improve their land management practices
  • had improved their skills and knowledge, one of the major barriers to adoption.

Together these findings support an improvement in the culture of stewardship among graziers in the BBB catchment.

Highlights of the key stewardship outcomes from this project include:

  • 77% of stakeholders felt the project has made a significant contribution towards achieving long-term water quality and stewardship outcomes.
  • Actions: 400 property visits, 2500 attendees and events, 84 landholder contracts.
  • 76% of landholders believed the project supported peer-to-peer learning.
  • 89% of landholders supported the large-scale gully remediation trials.
  • 75% of landholders were positive about trialling something new.
  • 84% of stakeholders highly agreed that longer-term water quality and stewardship outcomes will continue.
  • 1,100,000 ha (92%) of Bowen Broken Bogie grazing land engaged.

The first phase of this project from 2017-2021 was funded by the Queensland Government’s Queensland Reef Water Quality Program. The Australian Government Reef Trust Partnership with the Great Barrier Reef Foundation is providing funding towards the initiative from 2020-2023. More information can be found on the NQ Dry Tropics website or by watching these videos highlighting the success of the Scottville Cluster group).