“Walking the Landscape” Helps Cairns Plan for Future

Monica Haynes
June 20, 2017

Walking the Landscape workshop in CairnsThe Cairns urban area is the latest in the "Walking the Landscape" series, designed to help to identify priorities for improving catchment and Reef health.

Terrain NRM in conjunction with the Queensland Wetlands Program (QWP) undertook the workshop to build on previous work, and continue developing a whole-of-landscape understanding about how a catchment functions. Terrain supported the Cairns Urban Walking the Landscape through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Programme. The workshop aim was to bring together the many active community groups in the Cairns area, to both learn and contribute to a greater understanding of how the catchment works.

The workshops are important for future planning, including climate resilience, as well as for identifying more immediate management intervention options. More than 25 people with intimate knowledge of the Cairns Urban region shared their insights over the 2-day workshop.

Terrain’s Rowan Shee said, “Understanding the parts of a catchment, how it works and the services and values it provides are critical to determining appropriate and integrated management activities. A whole-of-landscape approach is essential to making better decisions about how the Cairns area is managed.

“For example, we can better manage flood gates and tidal flows into mangroves and coastal creeks by listening to expert local knowledge. With that information we can identify areas might provide an opportunity to allow more salt water in for weed control and to restore mangrove environments or help with acid sulfate soils."

Attendees included representatives from regional councils, state government agencies and departments, local environment groups and research institutions.

Yvonne Nicoll from Trinity Inlet Catchment Management contributed her in-depth local knowledge and expertise about the catchment.

“I was quite impressed that Terrain find it important to talk to people on the ground, and I think it is good to be taking an audit of the things that are happening," said Ms Nicholls. "Our group covers all the way from Buchans Point though to Aloomba – that’s quite an area, and the issues we see are different to people who are dealing with rural.”

The results of these workshops will be captured in web-based “story maps” which are in interactive way of taking a walk through a catchment using maps, images and videos. "Walking the Landscape" of the Mossman/Daintree and Mulgrave catchments will occur later this year.