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Erosion prevention makes progress on Tablelands

Terrain NRM’s Ruginia Duffy inspects one of the Zuni bowls built on a Tablelands property 10 months ago to stop gully erosion. Photo supplied by Terrain NRM

Special ‘Zuni Bowls’ were constructed across Tablelands farms 10 months ago by Terrain NRM to stop land erosion and progress can already been seen.

Zuni Bowls are a small-scale and cost-effective way for landholders to stop erosion and damage to their properties.

Vertical drops in gully heads are lined with rocks and are designed to stop water from disturbing the soil underneath; the rocks mimic natural forms found in creeks and help the water flow.

The work is part of Terrain NRM’s Upper Johnstone Integrated Project, funded through the Queensland Government’s Natural Resources Investment Program and focuses on erosion hotspots in the Tablelands-Innisfail region.

Five bowls were built in two gullies on the Rankine property near Lake Eacham as a demonstration site for the wet tropics, Grazier Owen Rankine says grass can be seen growing on land that was previously bare.

“We haven’t had a big wet season but the amount of flow through the bowls has been enough to see how they work and to get them established, with silt between the rocks and grass on the land below them,” he said.

“Next year you’ll barely see that they are there and the water should flow through nicely.

“If we can repair our gullies and other farmers can do the same thing, it’s another step to improving our pastures and stop run-off to the Reef.”

Terrain NRM brought Tablelands business RegenAG’s North American watershed specialist Craig Sponholtz to the region for the project where he designed the bowls, trained local earthmovers and led workshops with farmers.

Terrain NRM’s Jen Mackenzie said the Johnstone River catchment was a priority for water quality improvement.

“This project is all about reducing sediment losses to the Great Barrier Reef Lagoon while helping graziers to help themselves by addressing erosion problems and improving their pastures and livelihoods,” she said.

For more information about the Upper Johnstone Integrated Project, visit Terrain NRM’s website at www.terrain.org.au

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