$3.2M for new projects to restore waterways

May 25, 2020

Monsoon-battered waterways in the Daintree area will be repaired as part of a $4.9 million disaster recovery package for river systems north of Cairns.

Earthworks and tree-planting will begin soon on eroded creek banks in the Douglas and Stewart Creek sub-catchments, following on from work in the Daintree and Mossman River catchments earlier this year.

Terrain NRM’s Vanessa Drysdale said a recently-announced $3.2 million funding allocation from the Commonwealth and Queensland governments for Stage 2 works would repair creekbanks on five Daintree properties that had borne the brunt of flooding rain in January last year.

“Some of the banks are 10m high and hundreds of metres long – they are steep, vertical and have sustained significant erosion,’’ Ms Drysdale said.

The project is being jointly funded by the Commonwealth and Queensland governments under the Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA).

Landholder Clint Reynolds said works were planned for the banks of the Mowbray River.

“We had 400mm of rain fast and the floodwaters blasted through,’’ he said. “We lost about 30m of riverbank and we’ll lose more if nothing’s done so we’re grateful this work is happening to save land, and sediment from washing down the creek.”

Ms Drysdale said Terrain NRM was working closely with the landholders and engineers as well as construction and revegetation contractors.

“About 20,000 trees will be planted as part of this work, which combines rock wall construction and bank re-shaping to improve the resilience of these sites for future weather events,’’ she said. “With this level of erosion, earthworks protect the creek banks while the trees establish themselves.”

Stage One works on Stewart Creek and South Mossman River have recently been completed and work will also focus on sites along Bamboo Creek, Saltwater Creek, Mossman River and Mowbray River.

Ms Drysdale said improved streambank stability would also help to reduce the amount of fine sediment flowing into waterways and out to the Great Barrier Reef lagoon, in turn improving water quality and waterway ecosystems.

Similar work is also being undertaken in the Cassowary Coast and Hinchinbrook regions of the Wet Tropics as part of the Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements.