Wet Tropics Major Integrated Project

Through the Wet Tropics Major Integrated Project (MIP), Terrain Natural Resource Management has been working with local landholders and community members since late 2016 to reduce the amount of nutrients, sediment and pesticides running into local waterways and out to the Reef. This project seeks to integrate and evaluate 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, involves growers in decisions at all steps following the principles of:

  • grass-root design and delivery
  • tailored, locally driven integrated solutions
  • co-generation of knowledge, learning and adaptation.

The project has installed catchment repair and treatment systems, increased extension support services, provided local-scale water monitoring and trialled the innovative Reef Credits scheme. The Wet Tropics MIP has resulted in unprecedented grower participation, attracting 325 landholders, managing 39,503 hectares of sugarcane and banana land with improvements reported on 23,966 hectares.

The project has achieved several improved land management and water quality outcomes. The Wet Tropics MIP designed and constructed 16 innovative catchment repair treatment systems improving land management on an additional 540 hectares, reducing pollutant loads leaving farms. The systems are being measured to determine their effectiveness and cost efficiency across a range of settings and soil types. Another major achievement has been the development of a local-scale water quality monitoring program, focused on providing data for growers.

As a result of attending local water quality shed meetings, 93% of growers reported an increase in water quality knowledge.

Additionally, growers often talked about the social benefit of being able to meet with other growers. This finding demonstrates the importance of bringing growers together when changing practices both from a learning perspective as well as support they can provide to each other.

Highlights of the key stewardship outcomes from this project include:

Whole-of-project outcomes

  • 93% of growers increased their water quality knowledge.
  • Improved engagement and water quality knowledge influenced practice change.

Tully catchment

  • Local water quality knowledge increased from 5 out of 10 to 7.8 out of 10.
  • Benefits included reduced costs, better yield and returns, improved soil health.
  • Landholders had a positive perception of program benefits (7.1/10).

Johnstone catchment

  • Local water quality knowledge increased from 2.65 out of 10 to 7.2 out of 10 and was cited as the main project benefit.
  • 72% of shed meeting attendees changed their beliefs about water quality.
  • 63% of shed meeting attendees intended changing their farming practices.

The project continues to work with growers to identify, and in some cases test and demonstrate, changes that will deliver both water quality and productivity outcomes. This focus is key to supporting ongoing uptake of improved practices and long-term stewardship.

The Wet Tropics Major Integrated Project is funded by the Queensland Government’s Queensland Reef Water Quality Program. Further resources on the Wet Tropics Major Integrated Project can be found at Terrain NRM.