Reef Champion Award winners

November 27, 2019

Two Wet Tropics cane farming families, a grazing family and a water quality extension officer have won Queensland Reef Champion Awards for their work to reduce our impact on the Great Barrier Reef.

These winners are Woodleigh Cattle Station’s Kate and Peter Waddell, cane farmer Lenny Parisi, cane partnership V Rossi and Sons, and the Wet Tropics Major Integrated Project’s Will Darveniza.

The Reef Champion Awards, run by the Reef Alliance with support from the Australian and Queensland governments, recognise outstanding achievements by individuals and organisations working to improve the quality of water entering the Great Barrier Reef.

Fishery Falls cane farmer Lenny Parisi won the Prince of Wales Environmental Leadership Reef Sustainability Award for many initiatives over the years including erosion control, reducing farm run-off and restoring creek, river and wetland ecosystems.  Lenny is working with the Mulgrave Landcare and Catchment Group and Greening Australia to restore seven hectares of marginal cane land to a wetland environment.

The Tableland’s Waddell family won the Reef Sediment Champion Award for their work with Terrain NRM on major earthworks to repair eroded gullies and old tailings dams on their cattle station, as well as other improvements from changed grazing management practices to fencing stock off streambanks.

Aloomba cane-farming family V Rossi and Sons won the Nutrient Champions Award for a wide range of initiatives including making and using compost to reduce their need for inorganic nitrogen fertiliser, sub-surface fertiliser application and a silt trap and trees in their waterway areas to improve water quality.

Extension officer Will Darveniza won the Reef Youth Champion Award for his work on the Wet Tropics Major Integrated Project – a reef water quality initiative in the Innisfail and Tully regions. Will works closely with farmers on water quality initiatives that provide local data to growers to help inform farming decisions that can reduce nutrient, pesticide and sediment loss.

The Wet Tropics also had two other finalists in the Reef Champion Awards. They were the Wet Tropics Sugar Industry Partnership (WTSIP) and Innisfail cane farmer Joe Marano who is also chair of WTSIP.