Over the past decade the Burnett Mary region has been ravaged by a sequence of severe floods and prolonged droughts.
These events have created a range of erosion issues for farmers and has put pressure on farm infrastructure and fragile topsoils.
Heather Fricke manages a cattle breeding operation in the Rosedale district.
Since 2013, several gullies have developed rapidly on her farm causing an increasing loss of precious topsoil.
The soils on Heather’s property are particularly erosive, especially under the topsoil where the soil becomes sodic and causes it to break apart upon contact with water.
Once a small gully breaks through the stable topsoil, the sodic soils quickly wash away and undercut the topsoil.
The gully head consequently moves upstream at an ever-increasing rate.
To address the problem, Heather sought assistance and advice from the Burnett Mary Regional Group (BMRG) through its ‘Better Beef for the Reef' project.
BMRG’s specialist soil conservation officer worked with Heather to design a solution that was based on best practice design principles, suited to the site’s conditions and used existing infrastructure and resources where possible.
After the earthworks were completed, the site was seeded with a grass legume mix and mulched to slow the flow of overland water and reduce the erosive effect of rain falling on the bare ground.
The project also included fencing to keep out stock and improve the site’s ability to revegetate.
Heather could not be happier with the results.
All the repaired gullies have held up in recent rains and her farm’s water capacity has been greatly improved.
“From a devastating sight a few years ago to now this, I am thrilled,” she said.
Heather credits the success of the project to the collaborative approach by BMRG officers, designers and construction contractors.
She is now committed to monitoring and maintaining the rehabilitated area to ensure it continues to reap benefits for many more years.
This project was designed and constructed in accordance with principles outlined in “Gully Erosion – Options for Prevention and Rehabilitation – Experiences from the Burnett and Mary River Catchments, Queensland”.
A free copy of this comprehensive manual can be downloaded from BMRG’s website – bmrg.org.au or obtained by phoning 4181 2999.
The Better Beef for the Reef project is funded through the Queensland Government Reef Water Quality Program and delivered by the Burnett Mary Regional Group.
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