Walking the Landscape

Kathryn Dryden
December 7, 2016

Walking the Landscape

Terrain's Bart Dryden, Mike Ronan (EHP), Jeff Baines (CCRC) and Sam Pagano (CCRIT) at the workshop.

People with intimate knowledge and expertise relating to catchments of the Wet Tropics region have been ‘Walking the Landscape’ together this week in order to develop a plan for investment for reef protection outcomes.

In partnership with the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection Queensland Wetlands Program, Terrain NRM have brought together scientists, technical experts, industry and community NRM groups and organisations in the Johnstone and Tully/Murray catchment areas.

Terrain’s Penny Scott said, “The ‘Walking the Landscape’ workshops aim to build a common understanding of the way the catchment works, as the basis for identifying the best opportunities for investment for reef protection outcomes.”

Almost 30 people attended the first day of the three-day Johnstone workshop alone with 16 groups and organisations represented.

Cassowary Coast Regional Council’s Damon Sydes said, “The people and organisations that are represented in this room have a long involvement and connection with each other, but today is a chance to fill in gaps and share knowledge - you can hear people jumping in with their localised knowledge and telling their landscape’s story.”

“Landscape stories are a big emphasis here,” said Ms Scott. “Using the natural geology of the catchment, along with knowledge of historical events, land uses and activities, helps to paint a picture of how a catchment functions.

“It was fantastic to zoom in on a map and have different people around the room know exactly what is going on in different areas.”

This is the last of a series of four ‘Walking the Landscape’ workshops across four priority catchments of the Wet Tropics, according to the Water Quality Improvement Plan.

The results from the Walking the Landscape workshops will be used as the basis for developing detailed “shovel-ready” investment plans in collaboration with the local community.  These plans will pave the way for strategic, cost-effective and timely investment for Reef water quality outcomes from a range of sources.

Cassowary Coast Regional Council’s Cr Jeff Baines has been down at the Tully workshops earlier this week. He said that Council is conscious that urban runoff is a contributor to water quality issues. “Everybody wants to see outcomes, and we are committed to partner with these groups and organisations, to achieve outcomes on the ground that people can see.

“There will be economic benefits for land holders and Councils as a result of these catchment investment plans. It’s been extremely enlightening and motivating to participate in these workshops.”

The results of these workshops will be captured in new web-based ‘story maps’ which are an interactive way of taking a ‘virtual walk’ through a catchment using maps, images, videos and other engaging features.

Ms Scott said, “The story maps will enable the broader community to build an understanding of the way their catchment functions, and to inform their own related projects and decisions.”

These products will increase community capacity, and support improved decision making processes around natural resource management on an ongoing basis. These ‘story maps’ will be available to the community through the online Wet Tropics Plan for People and Country.

The workshop series are funded through Queensland Government’s Queensland Regional Natural Resource Management Investment program in collaboration with the Queensland Wetlands Program, and coordinated by Terrain NRM.