Daintree River erosion control

STRENGTHENING THE DAINTREE RIVER’S BANKS

6 OCTOBER 2020

The iconic Daintree River is under repair after floodwaters caused erosion in its lower reaches.

Tree-planting and earthworks have strengthened the river’s banks near the Daintree Village, where land washed away in record floods in recent years.

Terrain NRM’s Jen Mackenzie said almost 9000 young plants were now helping to stabilise the bank along two stretches of eroded land, where rockwork is the new foundations.

“There was nothing left to hold the soil in place in these sections,’’ she said. “The vegetation had been washed away and the erosion was only getting worse.”

Terrain NRM has been working with landholders and contractors on Disaster Relief Funding projects, jointly funded by the Australian and Queensland governments under the Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA).

Grazier Barry Osborne is one of a number of landholders in the Daintree region whose river frontage has been part of the project. Mr Osborne said big floods had taken their toll on riverside land in the Daintree’s lower reaches.

“With two record floods in the last four or five years, the river has cut into the land,’’ he said. “There was a 10m-high bank here years ago but there is hardly any bank at all now and the river has moved in about 30m, creating big washouts.

“This is loamy, sandy soil so floods knock the country around badly.”

About 2km of riverbank has been repaired as part of the project, on two Daintree River properties and another on nearby Douglas Creek, a tributary of the Daintree.

Ms Mackenzie said 20-30m buffer zones of trees were being planted.

“The combination of engineered rockwork and trees is the best option at these sites, with the rockwork acting as reinforcement until the trees establish themselves,’’ she said.

“There has been plenty of interest in these sites – they were even part of the commentary on Daintree river cruises while work was underway. By stabilising the creek and riverbanks, we are also helping waterway ecosystems and, ultimately, the Great Barrier Reef.”

Similar work has been completed at five other sites in the Mossman and Daintree areas as part of the ongoing Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements project. Work is also underway at two other sites.

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